Bummed, down, depressed, fatigued, upset, bored, low energy. Are these ways you have described yourself? All of these are words that can relate to the experience of depression. Our down moods lie along a continuum from mildly down to severely depressed.
Every year 11 million people become depressed (about 1 in 20) to the degree that we would give them a “medical diagnosis.” Most people’s down moods are not diagnosable because it is normal to have ups and downs through life.
With the many different experiences of down moods, there isn’t one way to look at them. Some of the ways people interpret these moods are: as a physical, medical, or biochemical problem; as a character weakness; as a normal part of life; as an opportunity for growth and insight.
All changes in life, whether positive or negative, cause stress to our system and depending on our coping skills and the amount of stress, this may cause or exacerbate depression. These changes or stresses can be external events or internal events, whether chemical or psychological.
External events include moving, job loss, earthquakes, deaths, injuries, marriages, and births.
Internal events include menstrual cycles, heart attacks, illness and our perception of events as negative or positive and whether we feel helpless, hopeless or some sense of control.
change in sleep
loss of interest/pleasure
decreased sex drive
loss/gain of weight
How we think affects the way that we feel and so by identifying the harmful thoughts we can change our thinking and feel better. References: David Burns – Feeling Good
How we identify what we are feeling/experiencing and communicate it has an influence on how we feel.
Increased isolation is related to depression. Research shows that men die sooner than females after a spouse dies due to isolation. This death risk of social isolation is equal to that of smoking and high cholesterol.
What we ingest has effects on our body and ultimately on our moods. Since each of us is unique, it pays to be aware of your own body and the effects you feel from what you ingest. There are some obvious substances that can play a role in depression.
Alcohol – Use of alcohol exacerbates depression by disturbing sleep and limiting one’s ability to change. It can also lead to physical and emotional withdrawal which enhances isolation and has other family members complaining about you.
Food – Moods are affected by our eating habits; the better balanced the eating, the more mood swings can be minimized. Simple sugars can cause more swings in our energy levels.
Drugs- Prescription, over the counter and illicit drugs all have side effects. Some of these side effects can promote or exacerbate depression.
Nicotine – Nicotine is a stimulant that in the short run may give you a quick lift, but you will soon lose the effect and drift your mood downward. There is some research that supports the idea that people who use nicotine to deal with depression have a harder time becoming smoke-free.
Exercise has some research to support it as stand-alone treatment for depression. It alters and benefits us through internal releases of biochemicals (serotonin, epinephrine) and it increases our sense of control and well-being.
Relaxation helps to modify the physical symptoms of tension, heart rate and blood pressure.
Medication addresses biochemistry of the body through direct chemical means.
If you recognize any of the symptoms of depression, you may need to seek professional help. For depression treatment in Denver, Front Range Counseling Center offers superior care to help you discover the basis for your depression and options for care. We offer depression support groups in Denver as well as individual counseling.
We’d like you to know that you are not alone. Our Denver, Colorado depression therapists are here to help you cope with the everyday ups and downs, as well as the more significant down moods. If you are one of the many individuals who suffer from depression in Denver, Colorado, please call us for a consultation today. We will get you on the right track for treatment for depression.