Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

Different Types of Depression

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

When a patient comes to my practice complaining of depression, it is important to distinguish the kind of depression that is presented. Depression can be situational, genetic or biological, or a combination of both.

Situational depression occurs when there is a triggering event which is distressing and creating a downward spiral. This can be a loss of a loved one, illness, rejection, abandonment, blow to one’s self esteem, a sense of failure in an important endeavor or trigger from past traumatic experience or event. All of us react to such events with deep sadness, but sometimes, it turns into feelings of depression which are associated with hopelessness, feelings of aloneness, lack of energy, sometimes guilt and shame.

Sometimes the depth of these feelings indicates a possible biological component as well. Situational depression can be treated and resolved with psychotherapy alone. Insight oriented therapy combined with a good therapeutic relationship can be enough. EMDR can also be very helpful as most causes of a situational depression have origins in past traumatic events. If the depression does not respond to therapeutic interventions, it may be a good idea to have a consultation from an experienced psychopharmacologist.

When a patient comes in with a depression that is more or less chronic with various degrees of severity and with no apparent trigger or precipitating event, there may be a biological cause. While psychotherapy is helpful, in these cases it is useful to consult a psychopharmacologist to explore options for antidepressant medication. A good psychiatrist is usually able to figure out the right medication which will alleviate the distressing feelings and lift the depression.

Am I Sad or Depressed?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Many clients come to my office wondering if what they are experiencing is depression or sadness.

Sadness is a normal and healthy human emotion, in response to variety of experiences. It often is connected to disappointment which is mild to moderate, feeling hurt by someone or something, feelings of occasional loneliness, work related stress or mishap of some kind or another. It is an opposite of feeling “happy” or joyful. This is usually a feeling that passes relatively soon, it can be days or hours and the person will return to a “normal” emotional state. Usually when one is sad there is no disturbance in sleep or appetite, no issues with functioning at the workplace or school or generally in any major area of life. Feelings of sadness usually resolve spontaneously.

Depression on the other hand is a more profound state. It is deeper than sadness, or is a sadness that does not lift over time. In fact, it usually gets worse. It is also, unless, biologically driven, connected to disappointment, failure, rejection, sense of aloneness, low self esteem and generally a profound sense of loss. Depression is characterized by low energy, lack of desire for anything, inability to experience any pleasure, social withdrawal, disruption in sleep and eating, a general sense of hopelessness and futility. It is a much deeper, darker and more profound state. Whereas a sad person can sometimes be cheered up, a depressed person, generally can not get out of their state and attention and intervention by loved ones do not help or if they do, it is not lasting. Depression can last a long time, and, over time can get worse and needs professional attention.

There is usually no treatment needed for sadness, it is part of natural ebb and flow of human emotions, and is as normal as joy. In case of depression, usually psychotherapy and often times medication as well, are in order. This combination is usually sufficient to resolve depression over time.

Depression After The Death of a Parent

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Death of a parent is a devastating event. Most of us have to at some point, face and cope with death of a parent and, eventually, both parents. This is always difficult and in some situations more difficult than for others. The pain of loss of a parent is unlike any. Additionally, the death of one parent is not the same as the death of both parents. There is a great book I recommend to many of my clients especially when the remaining parent dies. It is titled “The Orphaned Adult” by Alexander Levy. This is a beautiful, thoughtful, wise book which gives meaning to what it is being an orphan as an adult and many losses involved, including to one’s sense of identity.

Grieving a loss of a parent is normal. However, when it is extremely prolonged with not much significant ease, this can become what we call, complicated grief.  In a way what this means is that this is not only pain of a loss of a loved one, but, that there are complications in the relationship with a deceased parent that have not been worked through or resolved and it is difficult to move through the stages of grief and loss which leads to a “stuckness” of  unresolved feelings – most often guilt, anger and sometimes, shame. Sometimes, complicated grief reaction occurs when there is not sufficient separation that usually is a part of an adult relationship with a parent or if the death took place under sudden or tragic circumstances with no preparation for facing the loss.

In dealing with a loss of a parent, usually, emotional support from friends and family as well as time, can eventually provide some relief. As time passes and other things occur, there is a natural sense that “life goes on”, so to speak.

However if the loss, heartbreak and grief start turning into a feeling of depression, it may mean that the reaction to the death is “complicated” grief and it is time to seek professional help. With a help of an experienced therapist, it is important to identify the “unresolved” issues or any other elements of the relationship with a parent or other self  related feelings and issues that are in the way of integrating this major event into one’s life and continuing to experience life in its fullest capacity.

The Power Of Gratitude

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

The Power Of GratitudeNeuroscience research reveals that gratitude helps when feeling blue. The most important question to ask yourself is “What am I grateful for?” Gratitude is good because it affects your brain on a biological level. It boosts neurotransmitter dopamine which is what medication Wellbutrin does. Gratitude also increases serotonin as does Prozac. Who knew?

Another powerful effect of thinking about what you are grateful for is that it makes you focus on positive things about your life. Life can be harsh and sometimes it is hard to think of good things or things you feel grateful for. Apparently, even if you can’t think of anything, just thinking about gratitude and searching for the answer is good enough.

Expressing gratitude to people you love makes for better relationships. Better relationships and closer connections also make your brain happier.

But there are times when bad feelings are so intense that it is really hard to deal with them, let alone find something you are grateful for. Still and again, search for something or someone you feel grateful to and for.  It will take you out of the darkness and negativity may be even for a little while.

Gratitude has been one of the most spoken and taught rituals in spiritual practices. I suggest to all my clients to start the day thinking about what they are grateful for and mentally list what you are thankful at the end of your day when going to bed at night.

Let us try and practice daily gratitude.

Eight Signs Your Significant Other Is Experiencing Depression

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Sometimes in the course of a relationship one partner or another can become depressed. This is usually not an on and off switch, it can happen gradually and over time if unnoticed, can become quite severe and pronounced. Many factors can lead to depression, such as genetics, major disappointment, loss, trauma, rejection, self esteem issues among many factors. These are the signs that your loved one may be depressed.

Your significant other is often tired and does not want to engage in activities you used to enjoy together, that were a lot of fun for the two of you. A typical excuse is tiredness, “not now”, etc.

  1. There is a tendency to either sleep more then usually or not much at all. Changes in sleep patterns are a major sign of depression or that something is wrong. It is important to pay attention to this.
  2. Your partner is loosing weight and generally does not have much appetite. There is generally no interest in food, in buying it or preparing it and certainly not eating.
  3. Your partner is unusually quiet and generally withdrawn socially and even just with just you. There definitely is no desire to do things with other people.
  4. When you are engaged in some activities that were usually fun, there is no pleasure. Nothing is fun or joyful.
  5. There is definitely diminished or none-existing sex drive. There is every excuse to avoid sex or physical intimacy of any kind.
  6. Your loved one looks sad and down all the time.
  7. There is general negative and very pessimistic outlook on life. There is a feeling of doom and gloom.

It is very hard to know how to handle your loved one being depressed. There is a tendency to blame one self, which is mostly not the case. Several important things to consider is that this usually does not last for ever but does need to be attended to. Depression can not be taken lightly and if it does not get better with your love, encouragement and time, you need to seek professional help.