As a depression counselor, I have treated many patients whose depression symptoms ranged from mild to severe and debilitating. For those patients, and for those who love them, dealing with the symptoms of depression is an ongoing struggle; and, because the human brain is still one of the great unknowns of biology and psychology, part of the struggle of living with depression is not being able to get the answers they need about their condition. If you are living with some type of depression, here are few answers to some of the questions you may have:
1 – Is Depression Caused By A Chemical Imbalance?
The biology of depression is too complex to be attributed to one cause. To be sure, brain chemicals are involved in patients who are depressed; however, chemicals are involved in every type of human emotion. According to Harvard Medical School, depression doesn’t happen simply because there is too much or too little of one type of brain chemical; depression is the result of multiple possible causes that can include genetic vulnerability, stress, health problems, medications and faulty mood regulation by the brain.
2 – Is Depression Hereditary?
A recent study has found that there may possibly be a genetic link between family members who have some form of depression. Even with this biological link, though, there must still be other factors involved in the development of depression, which is where the environmental influence of living with or knowing about someone in your family who suffers from depression comes in. As with all life attitudes and behavioral habits we learn from those around us, depression, as a way of seeing and behaving, can be passed on.
3 – Are Antidepressants A Replacement For Therapy?
No two patients are alike. For some, seeing a depression counselor regularly for treatment can make a significant difference. For others who either can’t or don’t want to seek counseling, antidepressant medications may be the answer. There are also patients who want to pursue a two-pronged approach to treatment that includes both therapy and medication.
4 – Are There Physical Changes That Go Along With Depression?
Though depression isn’t wholly caused by a chemical imbalance, it can actually trigger a chemical imbalance. Depressed people usually have increased levels of two stress hormones – cortisol and noradrenaline. These hormones cause anxiety and agitation that can lead eventually to exhaustion and chronic fatigue. In addition, appetite and sleep changes can occur that can lead to a variety of other physical maladies like dizziness, obesity and headaches.
5 – How Long Does Depression Last?
The average bout of depression, if left untreated, lasts on average about 8 months. During this time that a patient is dealing with depression, it will likely feel as if the depression will never end; but this is a classic feature of the way depression makes us think. Though 8 months is the average, depending on the severity of the depression, bouts can last days, weeks, months or even years. The right treatment that includes counseling by a qualified professional can significantly shorten the length of time that a patient suffers with depressive symptoms.
Learn more about depression and treatment by making an appointment with a depression counselor. Call me, Jody VanDrimmelen, at Insight Child & Family Counseling at (972) 426-9500 for a consultation. You can also find out more about my services by visiting me online at www.ldscounselordfw.com.