Board certified in psychiatry

Depression

Do you feel consistently down, depressed, or hopeless? Have you lost interest or pleasure in activities that you once enjoyed?

The feelings of low motivation and low energy that characterize depression make it especially hard to take care of yourself and pull yourself out of your slump. The good news is that even small but consistent efforts toward recovery can yield a significant improvement in your symptoms faster than you might expect.

Key points

Effective therapy for depression

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Overview

Depression is the most prevalent mood disorder, impacting approximately 5-10% of adults in the United States. It diminishes the pleasure derived from life and hampers your capacity to perform optimally at work and maintain healthy relationships. Fortunately, depression tends to respond well to treatment, often without needing medication.

Depression: More than “low mood”

​Everybody experiences transient states of low mood from time to time. Depression is different. People who suffer from depression experience a sustained change in perception, physiological changes, persistent low mood, and for some, changes in brain chemistry.

You should be assessed for depression if you experience consistent feelings of sadness, have lost interest in favorite hobbies or activities, have difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, low energy, anxiety, or feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness 

Untreated depression will tend to interfere with your ability to function professionally and maintain healthy relationships.

Symptoms of depression

  • Feeling down or depressed for at least two weeks without a clear reason
  • Low motivation and difficulty completing even basic tasks
  • Feeling tired or lethargic even when you get enough sleep
  • Difficulty getting adequate nutrition and gaining/ losing weight from not eating enough, or making poor food choices
  • Decreased enjoyment of activities you normally like
  • Withdrawal from social activities

Causes

It is impossible to determine why one individual experiences depression while another with similar circumstances does not. However, depression is more likely to occur after going through a traumatic life event, such as a divorce or a death in the family, losing a job, or experiencing a major life transition. Starting or ending a career, getting married or divorced, becoming parents or empty nesters are all times when you’re forced to re-evaluate your identity and self-worth. If you don’t have the right resources to help you through the transition, this might quickly turn into depression.

Risk factors for depression

Risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing depression include genetics (having at least one family member with depression), environmental factors (a history of abuse or trauma, undeveloped life skills, and lack of a suitable support system), and biological factors (certain medical conditions, brain chemistry or certain medications that you might take to treat other conditions).

Evaluation and diagnosis

Diagnosis requires a full assessment in order to determine if you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or other challenges.

An accurate diagnosis is a prerequisite to effective treatment. A qualified healthcare provider will do a thorough evaluation of your symptoms, health status, family history, and any other factors that might have contributed to your depression and will make recommendations accordingly.

Effective treatment for depression

Fortunately, depression often responds well to treatment. The appropriate treatment for your depression will be determined to a large extent by what’s causing your depression and how severe are your symptoms.

For many people, psychotherapy is effective in helping them recover from depression. Talk therapy is often a good option for people who want to avoid medication and is often a good point for starting treatment.  

Working together, we may also consider other treatment approaches for depression, including medication and other forms of therapy.

Depression and other mental health challenges

Depression very often occurs together with other mental health disorders, such as anxiety and OCD. Sometimes depression is caused by trauma, or triggered by bereavement or a breakup. People with depression are prone to alcohol abuse or other unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

Working with your mental health professional, you can disentangle the complex web of cause and effect that can grow up around depression. You can work through your issues.

Reach out today

Dr. Dhrymes offers psychotherapy and medication management services to treat depression, trauma, ADHD, anxiety, and more. Please complete the contact form with any questions or click here to schedule your free consultation. 

In-person appointments are available in Manhattan or online for all residents of New York.

References and further reading

Cuijpers, P., Karyotaki, E., Wit, L., & Ebert, D. (2020). The effects of fifteen evidence-supported therapies for adult depression: A meta-analytic review. Psychotherapy Research.

Cuijpers, P., Oud, M., Karyotaki, E., Noma, H., Quero, S., Cipriani, A., Arroll, B., & Furukawa, T. (2021). Psychologic Treatment of Depression Compared With Pharmacotherapy and Combined Treatment in Primary Care: A Network Meta-Analysis. The Annals of Family Medicine.

Pablo, G., Solmi, M., Vaquerizo-Serrano, J., Raduà, J., Passina, A., Morsillo, P., Correll, C., Borgwardt, S., Galderisi, S., Bechdolf, A., Pfennig, A., Bauer, M., Kessing, L., Amelsvoort, T., Nieman, D., Domschke, K., Krebs, M., Sand, M., Vieta, E., McGuire, P., Arango, C., Shin, J., & Fusar-Poli, P. (2021). Primary prevention of depression: An umbrella review of controlled interventions. Journal of affective disorders.

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