Counseling For Depression

Oakland | Berkeley | Alameda

San Franciso Bay Area | CA

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What is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a mental health disorder or mood disorder.  It is quite prevalent in the general population affecting about 16 million people in the USA and about 350 million people world wide.

Depression can occur in both children and adults.  The average age of onset is around 32 years of age.

Depression is one of the leading causes of employment absences.

Women are more frequently experience depression than men.


If you have someone in your family with a history of depression this increases your chances of developing depression.  Persons with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or cardiac conditions are at greater risk of developing depression.

Depression causes intense feelings of sadness and a person typically loses interest in doing things they once enjoyed or found interesting.  Depression negatively impacts the way a person feels, thinks and acts.  As a result, the person’s ability to function is reduced in several areas including eating, sleeping, working, going to school, carrying out parenting and other care giving responsibilities and being a good friend.

Counseling for Depression - How I can help you

There are two parts to depression treatment:
Part 1: Depression Symptom Reduction

 

This part of counseling for depression involves:

  1. Identification of your depressive symptoms.

  2. Learn to understand your how depression impacts your life by identifying the situations and circumstances that result in depressive episodes.

  3. I teach you specific concrete skills and techniques designed to reduce your depressive symptoms and increase your functionality.

  4. You practice and integrate these skills and techniques designed to reduce your depressive symptoms in your daily life outside of counseling sessions.


Part 2: Understand the underlying emotional processes that contribute to your depression


This part of depression counseling involves:

  1. Understanding the historical nature of your depressive disorder.

  2. Exploring your past and childhood to identify themes and events that impacted your central nervous system and contributed to the development and/or exacerbation of your depressive disorder.

  3. Engage in processes that heal and jump start your central nervous system and bring it back online and have it function as intended.

  4. Integrate your new found skill sets, knowledge and insights to have the quality of life that you truly want.

How long will depression counseling take?

It truly depends on the complication level of your depression. Depressive disorders are very treatable if you’re open and willing to do lots of hard work but some are life long endeavors.  One of the biggest challenges of treating depression disorders is that those with depression often find it extremely difficult to get going.  Many people spend time blaming themselves and have very negative self talk.  I proceed instead, through a different route of helping you to understand how depression interferes with your life and coming up with new effective ways to manage your life from a compassionate and generous perspective.

How much does a depression counseling session cost?

Click fees to find out more and what you get for your fee.

What causes depression?

Researchers and scientists at organizations such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and major universities in the USA and around the world are studying the causes of depression. Based on current research the thinking is that a combination of genes, biology, environment, and emotional factors all contribute to a person developing depression.

 

There are some medical conditions that can cause a person to appear or be depressed such as:
thyroid problems, diabetes, a brain tumor/cancer, cardiac problems/heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, vitamin deficiency, taking certain medications. 

 

It would be essential to see a medical doctor to ensure that there isn’t a medical condition causing the person to appear depressed.


Depression can make these medical conditions worse and vice versa.

Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of Depression

Physical Symptoms of Depression

  • No energy

  • Eating too much or eating too little

  • Feeling tired without doing much

  • Stomach pain

  • Body aches and pains without much explanation

  • Poor hygiene

  • Poor sleep - sleeping too much or difficult staying asleep/waking up and not being able to get back to sleep.

Behavioral Symptoms of Depression

A person who is depressed may exhibit different behaviors than their normal self. 

  • Lose interest in things going that they would normally be interested in.

  • No longer be lively and full of energy. 

  • Statements such as:

    • All I want to do is lay on the couch or stay in bed all the time.

    • I don’t really care what I look like anymore (hygiene). 

    • I am not interested in hanging out with anyone. 

    • I just want to be by myself.

Cognitive Symptoms of Depression

A depressed person’s thinking becomes distorted and impaired.

  • Statements the person may make include:

    • I am finding it really difficult to concentrate.

    • I feel like my mind has slowed down.

    • I feel like I am forgetting things.

Emotional Symptoms of Depression
A person with depression may feel:

  • Hopeless

  • Sad

  • Overwhelmed

  • Have significantly reduced interest in things they once enjoyed.


Statements may include:

  • I no longer feel cheerful or find things funny

  • I just wish I didn’t wake up this morning

  • I no longer feel like myself and am mostly sad.

Severity Levels of Depression.

Severity levels of depression are mild, moderate and severe.

Sometimes a person with severe depression can become psychotic meaning the person loses touch with reality and may have visual or auditory hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that others cannot).

Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder | Perinatal depression | Persistent Depressive Disorder | Seasonal Affective Disorder | Bipolar Depression | Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Major Depressive Disorder
This type of depression is the most common type of depression.  The person experiences sadness, hopeless, lacks focus in life almost all day for at least two weeks.

Perinatal Depression Symptoms
This type of depression is a major depressive episode that is related to pregnancy and child birth.


Prenatal Depression Symptoms - during pregnancy

  • Crying

  • Sleep problems (not due to frequent urination)

  • Fatigue

  • Appetite changes

  • Loss of enjoyment of activities

  • Poor attachment to the baby


“Baby blues” Symptoms
This occurs around child birth and can last up to two weeks after giving birth.  It is estimated 80% of mothers experience “baby blues.”  Researchers believe that rapidly changing hormonal levels immediately following birth contributes to “baby blues.”

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Exhaustion

  • Frustration

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Mood swings

  • Crying a lot

  • Difficulty with sleep


Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Depressive symptoms that continue beyond 14 days for up to one year after giving birth.  It is estimated that this affects 10% to 20% of new mothers. Frequent episodes of crying or weepiness.

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Fatigue

  • Constant sadness

  • Little interest in the baby, family, friends or other activities

  • Difficulty making decisions, remembering and concentrating

  • Feeling guilty

  • Feeling inadequate or worthless

  • Mood changes

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty with sleep

  • Changes in appetite

  • Extreme intense worries about the baby

  • Feeling sick with headaches, numbness, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations


Anxiety can be quite noticeable in women with postpartum depression and shows up as fears, bizarre thoughts such as having thoughts of hurting the baby.

 

Postpartum Psychosis

Can occur anytime within the first year of giving birth but typically occurs within a month of giving birth.  This is an emergency situation that requires immediate hospitalization.
 

Symptoms include:

  • auditory hallucinations 

  • visual hallucinations (less common)

  • delusions - beliefs that are not true or not based in reality

  • suicidal thoughts

  • thoughts about harming the baby

Persistent Depressive Disorder (formerly known as dysthymia)
Depression symptoms that last for a minimum of 2 years.   The person may experience periods of time of major depression and other times when the depressive symptoms are less severe.  However, periods of no or very few depressive symptoms lasts no more than 2 months.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD)

Depressive symptoms that come and go with the seasons each year.  Typically a person experiences depressive symptoms starting in the fall which last through winter and go away in the spring or early summer.  Many people tend to ignore SAD and deal with by saying I just have to tough it out.  However, it is helpful to take steps to manage your SAD symptoms.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
This is a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).  Premenstrual syndrome is a set of physical and psychological symptoms that start about 7 to 10 days before a woman gets her monthly period (menstruation). Many women experience breast tenderness and abdominal pain. Other symptoms include headachesback pain and joint or muscle ache. They may also have water retention (bloating) and sleep problems or digestive problems.  When these symptoms are so severe that they impact a woman’s functionality and mental health it is referred to as PMDD.

 

Bipolar Depression - Part of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar depression was once included as a type of major depression.  However, newer research suggests that there are substantial differences between bipolar depression and other types of clinical depression.  One of the biggest differences is medication treatment. Most people with bipolar depression are not helped by antidepressants.  Antidepressants used to treat major depression can make bipolar disorder worse by triggering mania or hypomania, causing rapid cycling between mood states, or interfering with other mood stabilizing drugs.

Despite many similarities, certain symptoms are more common in bipolar depression than in regular depression. For example, bipolar depression is more likely to involve irritability, guilt, unpredictable mood swings, and feelings of restlessness. With bipolar depression, the person may move and speak slowly, sleep a lot, and gain weight. In addition, the person is at greater risk to develop psychotic depression—a condition in which the person loses contact with reality—and experiences major problems in work and social functioning.

What is the difference among grief, loss, sadness and depression?

A person who experiences grief or loss develops their symptoms as a result of the loss of a loved one or beloved pet or something really meaning fun such as job. Many people may describe themselves as depressed however grieving and sadness is not the same as depression.  Although a person who is grieving can develop depression.

How to tell the difference between depression and grief

Symptoms of Grief:

  • Triggered by a loss of someone important such as divorce, death of a loved one or pet.

  • Is a natural part of life and the human experience.

  • Feelings of sadness are interspersed with positive feelings and memories.

  • The person can still enjoy things.

  • Although sad, the person typically does not have feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of suicide.


Symptoms of depression present for at least two weeks:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities

  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

  • Appetite and/or weight changes

  • Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts

  • Restlessness or irritability

  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.

Does depression effect everyone in the same ways?

No. Depression affects different people in different ways.

For example:
It is believed that women have depression more often than men. Biological, lifecycle, and hormonal factors that are unique to women plus the way women are treated in society may be linked to their higher depression rates. Women with depression typically have symptoms of sadness, worthlessness, and guilt.

Older adults with depression may have less obvious symptoms, or they may be less likely to admit to feelings of sadness or grief. They are also more likely to have medical conditions, such as heart disease, which may cause or contribute to depression.

 

Younger children with depression may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.

 

Older children and teens with depression may get into trouble at school, sulk, and be irritable. Teens with depression may have symptoms of other disorders, such as anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse.

PHOTO DISCLAIMER: This site makes use of licensed stock photography. All photography and photos are for illustrative purposes only.  All persons depicted are models and does not imply a mental health diagnosis.

 © 2019 by John Edwards.