Counseling for Depression
Being depressed is difficult to deal with, and sometimes it can be hard to imagine that there is any way out of sadness. However, there is hope. There are many factors that can contribute to depression, and learning to recognize the symptoms also enables you to learn how to treat depression.
Symptoms of Depression
If you’re wondering, “How to know if I’m depressed,” it’s helpful to know that there are signs that you can look for. There are many signs that a person is depressed. Not everyone who has depression exhibits every single symptom, but it is also possible to experience one or more of these symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, it could be a sign of depression:
- Sadness, numbness, or emptiness
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Anger or general irritability
- Inability to concentrate
- Decrease in energy
- Loss of interest in favorite or general activities
- Chronic pain without any clear cause
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- No longer wishing to see family or friends
- Persistent thoughts of suicide or death
It’s normal to occasionally experience some of these symptoms, but when they last for lengthy periods of time, it’s an indication of an underlying problem. The good news is that by taking the first step in identifying your depression symptoms, you have already begun the process of treating it.
Risk Factors of Depression
There are many factors that can cause depression. These factors can be due to the environment, genetics, or biology. However, some factors make individuals more prone to depression than other people. These risk factors include:
- History of depression (personal or in the family)
- Life-changing events, trauma, or stress
- Physical illness
Types of Depression
There are multiple types of depression, some of which can be caused by situations or events in your life, and others that might be the result of a chemical or hormonal imbalance. It’s natural to experience sadness at times, but when those feelings last for weeks at a time, or when they become too frequent, it could be a sign of one of these types of depression:
- General Depression (Major Depressive Disorder): General depression can last for weeks at a time, or as much as months. Major depressive disorder affects 7% of US adults, which is more than 16.1 million people every year.
- Perinatal Depression/Post-Partum: More than the normal “baby blues” that women experience after giving birth, perinatal depression can affect pregnant women or women who have just given birth in severe and debilitating ways.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder: When seasonal changes affect your mood, it’s a sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some people experience this when there is cloudy or unpleasant weather.
How to Treat Depression
While there are medications available to treat depression, they are not always the best solution. Medications don’t always get to the root cause of your depression, and for some individuals, the side effects of these medications are just as negative as the depression itself. Fortunately, there are natural ways to help with depression including the following:
- Exercise: One of the most effective natural treatments is regular exercise. Routine, physical exercise releases endorphins, resets serotonin levels, and promotes the growth of new brain cells and neural pathways. These positive effects are what medications try to achieve, which is why exercise is one of the best natural solutions.
- Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can help restore the natural harmony of your body, and the opposite is true as well. A poor diet can lead to irritability, anger, lethargy, and depression. It’s important to eat a healthy diet to give your body all the resources it needs to fight off the depression.
- Sleep: Regular sleep is especially important because it’s during sleep that your body restores your energy levels and repairs itself. Just like an imbalanced diet, irregular sleep can lead to depression.
- Reducing Stress: Stress is one of the most debilitating factors that can lead to depression. While it may not always be possible to change one’s stress, especially if it is caused by something outside your control, stress-reducing activities like meditation or speaking to a counselor can lift you out of your depression.
- Social Support: Speaking to your family and friends can be beneficial for many reasons. There’s a good chance that someone you know also has struggled with depression in the past, and they may be able to give you advice about strategies that helped them. People who are close to you might also be able to help identify if you are depressed or the causes contributing to your depression.
- Counseling: The best therapist for depression will try natural ways to help you before recommending you for medication. Counseling in private or group sessions can help guide you to ways of coping with depression and managing the factors in your life that might be contributing to your struggle.
Finding the Right Depression Counseling
Dealing with depression is not something you have to do alone. To find a depression counselor in Richmond, Virginia, call us today and schedule an appointment. We’ll get you through this to get you back to living a healthy and happy life.