When life gets you down, know if it’s depression

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It seems that our world today bombards us with the notion of depression, especially through the media and entertainment.
You do not have to look far to see or hear of depression. Images and ideas come in all forms from your child’s favorite cartoon character lamenting that he is depressed about losing his favorite toy to the stream of anti-depressant drug commercials that cleverly animate the idea of depression.
So, we must know what depression looks like, right? Depression is depression. Or is it?
When a new client is exhibiting symptoms of depression, diagnosis involves an in-depth assessment to determine type and severity.
Depression may be chronic, intermittent or a single episode. It may be triggered by life events such as a serious illness, loss of a job, complicated grief or a failed relationship.
Clinical Depression (CD) involves symptoms such as restlessness, feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, change in appetite, persistent sadness and even thoughts of suicide, but without an external reason for these feelings. Situational Depression (SD) may involve similar symptoms though is triggered by an identifiable event or situation in one’s life.
The old adage says that “life is full of ups and downs,” but those downs can sometimes lead to one of the most treatable forms of depression.
Treatment for SD includes examination of the correlation between the external stressors and the onset of symptoms, as well as the client’s mental and physical health history. A medical examination may be indicated.
If there is no history of clinical depression and these symptoms appeared around the time of the major stressor, short term solution focused therapy is very effective treatment.
The client will explore thoughts and feelings about the situation, put it in perspective and develop a tangible solution for moving forward.
Situational Depression is common and occurs in about 10 percent of adults with men and women equally affected. SD occurs in up to 30 percent of adolescents who often exhibit more behavioral symptoms, such as truancy in school or fighting.
More than half of adults diagnosed with a serious illness experience depression symptoms related to the medical condition.
Sometimes life simply gets us down, but the depression symptoms that may accompany those downturns can be resolved and that treatment is available in our community at Polk Wellness Center.
This article was submitted by Laura Ellington, LCSW, LISW-CP, at Polk Wellness Center. For more information about Polk Wellness Center, visit www.polkwellness.org or call 828-894-2222.

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