According to the World Health Organization, depression affects more than 264 million people around the world. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability and can impair the ability of those inflicted to function in all aspects of life, such as work, education and relationships. Early identification and treatment of depression is important to prevent the long-term and potentially devastating consequences. Therefore, it is important to determine if you or someone you love struggles with depression and receive treatment as soon as possible. The following list outlines some common depressive symptoms:

  • Down or depressed mood
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, or helplessness
  • Low or no energy or the opposite – agitated or restless energy
  • Low motivation
  • Inability to enjoy previously enjoyed activities or loss of pleasure in most things
  • Problems with sleep – either too much or too little
  • Problems with appetite – either too much or too little
  • Body aches and pains
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Poor concentration, distractibility, and inability to make simple decisions

Now when someone says, “I am depressed,” that person could mean many different things. Depression can be a major biological illness. It can also be a temporary mood state or a symptom of other stressful life events such as grief, loss of job, move to a new home or failing out of college. A key to understanding and treating depression comes from a thorough evaluation of:

  • past and current depressive symptoms
  • medical issues
  • family history of mental health issues
  • substance abuse issues
  • personality traits
  • life history of major psychosocial stressors.

In addition, dysfunctional sleep, poor diet, lack of physical activity, high levels of stress and social isolation are also factors I consider important contributors to depression. In my practice, I assess for the presence of depressive symptoms in concert with biological, psychological and social factors, in addition to diet, sleep and activity levels. This information helps me to fully understand the whole person -mind, body and soul and aids in assessing what treatments would be most effective based on the root cause and severity of symptoms. I formulate individualized integrative treatment approaches treating depressive symptoms ranging from biological treatments such as medications, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and supplements to more complementary approaches such as meditation, exercise and nutrition.

Each person struggling with depression is different; therefore their treatment plan should be a reflection of that. I believe our bodies have a built-in capacity to heal, but we need to show it how. This is why I teach tools for total mind-body wellness in my practice so that individuals are armed with tools to combat depression and build up resiliency to ward off future depressive episodes and improve overall mental health.

If you notice that you, your family member or friend have suicidal thoughts, have 3 or more symptoms or if any of the listed symptoms are impairing your ability to function in life in any way, then consider getting help from a mental health professional or your primary care physician.

Have questions? Please reach out to me. Depression is serious and if left untreated it can rob you of joy, self-esteem, relationships, employment and your life. Help really IS a phone call away.

#Depression, #Mood disorder, #dysthymia, #anxiety


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