Depression is the most common reason that people seek psychological counseling. Left untreated, depression is the disorder most likely to result in death, so it is critically important to recognize the symptoms and seek treatment for yourself or a loved one.
Depression can be a short-term response to a specific event, such as death, divorce or career setback. It can also be a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment. This second type, where the source seems to be within the person, is believed to be due to chemical imbalances in the brain. It is not unusual for there to be a family history of this type of depression.
The symptoms of depression vary with the individual, but almost everyone with the disorder reports feeling exhausted with little hope for the future and no ability to see a way forward. If you are depressed, you may sleep or eat either much more or much less than normal. You may find yourself crying often and for no reason. You may find it difficult to concentrate. You may lash out with anger and irritation, driving friends and family away. Depression can seem to overshadow everything in your life with a veil of negativity and despair.
Fortunately, depression can be treated successfully. If external causes are identified, you can be taught how to cope with those life events in a way that is hopeful and empowering. If you have chronic depression, there are techniques to help you change your perceptions and thought patterns to begin to see through the dark veil.
Group therapy can be particularly useful as a treatment for depression. Since many sufferers isolate themselves socially, having the social support of a group and being given a place to belong and be accepted is very powerful.