Depression is one of the most common problems that lead people to seek psychological help. Symptoms of depression can be both immobilizing and painful. Intermittent feelings of sadness are common experiences. We are usually able to identify clearly the cause of such feelings and we usually recover from normal feeling of sadness within a reasonable length of time without requiring professional help.
Clinical depression is a severe and prolonged feeling of sadness which seriously interferes with our psychological, emotional and social functioning. Sometimes there is an obvious cause, such as the failure of a marriage or relationship, job loss, financial problems or health problems. Sometimes there is no readily identifiable cause.
Common symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, loneliness, abandonment, pessimism, despair and even suicidal thoughts. Low motivation, a loss of interest in most activities, a lack of sexual desire, and social withdrawal, are other symptoms.
Depression sometimes causes disturbances of appetite and sleep patterns. For some people appetite loss and insomnia may accompany depression. Others may overeat and sleep excessively. People who are depressed may be unable to motivate themselves to complete even the simplest task.
Seasonal affective disorder
is a form of depression that is related to lack of exposure to sunlight. We are learning that the effects of sunlight and darkness cycles has psychological effects that go beyond the obvious sleep/wakefulness cycle. Sunlight also has more profound effects about the quality and nature of our psychological functioning. Some people are particularly sensitive to the effects of diminished exposure to sunlight both due to seasonal changes and due to a work environment that does not provide exposure to sunlight. Simply increasing the exposure to sunlight can help to alleviate depression in these cases. There are also special light sources that simulate natural light that have been very helpful in alleviating depression and improving sleep patterns for many people.
There are many different possible forms of treatment for depression.
These include various forms of psychotherapy and the use of anti-depressant medications. The determination of the proper form of treatment depends upon the nature and extent of the depressive feelings. If you consult an experienced and knowledgeable psychologist, he or she can recommend a treatment approach that best fits your needs. Most people who seek professional help from a well-qualified psychologist respond favorably to treatment.
How can you decide who is the right professional person to help you with this kind of problem? You may get information about me at Marvin S. Beitner, Ph.D. You may get information about how to evaluate the credentials of any psychologist at Check Qualifications.