Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Depression - The Many Faces and Causes

This week’s blog is about depression and the many ways into a depressive state.  Depression has many faces and causes. There is a situational depression, i.e. “My girlfriend just left me for another guy”.  There is a long time, at least 2 years,  depressive state that is called a Dysthymic Disorder according to the DSM IV. This is a state of low energy, fatigue, low self-esteem, difficulty making decisions, poor appetite or over eating that continues to plague an individual for several years and has become more of a life style.  There is a  major depressive disorder where an individual will think seriously about dying, feels hopeless, helpless and has no energy for days on end. Every day is a burden and every night is a burden of sleeplessness or the need to sleep all of the time to avoid life. Weight loss or weight gain, diminished interest or feeling no pleasure in any or all activities all are signs of a major depressive disorder. This depression is brought on by being hit with multiple stressful events, i.e. “ my wife left me, my house is going into foreclosure, my child fell and hurt themself at school, etc.”.  Another form of depression is the kind brought on by a traumatic event often  having occurred earlier in our life and now resurfaces. These events are often serious in nature, i.e. a rape, seeing the ravages of war or as a participant in war or any serious abuse be it sexual, physical or emotional.  These are some of the ways depression sneaks up on us.  The blog next week will be about ways to fight depression and to keep ourselves depression free throughout our life.

Richard Moody, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
TurningLeaf Wellness Center