"In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer."
- Albert Camus
Depression Counseling in Greater Los Angeles Area
Occasionally feeling sad or down is a natural part of life, and something we all experience from time to time. However, if you feel overwhelmed by these emotions or experience them daily, you may be depressed and benefit from the help of a depression counselor.
Depression is a common mood disorder that can have a devastating impact on your life and ability to function. Left untreated, it can lead to relationship problems, job loss, struggles in school, health issues, and in extreme cases, suicide.
If you are feeling depressed, you are not alone. Yet you do not need to continue suffering. Through depression counseling, I will help you develop a better understanding of the causes and triggers of your depression. As a depression specialist, I will provide you the tools and teach you the skills to manage your emotions to mitigate the negative impact they have on your life.
Symptoms of Depression
No two people experience depression precisely the same way or to the same degree. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, particularly if they are affecting your ability to function, you may be depressed and benefit from working with a depression counselor.
- Frequent depressed mood
- Loss of pleasure or interest in activities
- Significant weight gain or loss or change in appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns, sleeping either too much or too little
- Slowed thought and movement
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Fatigue or energy loss
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Crying spells
- Feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, or despair
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Other symptoms of depression you might experience include irritability, excessive worry or anxiety, obsessive thoughts, and even physical symptoms such as headaches or body pain.
As a depression specialist, I can help you to discover troubling aspects of your current life, or from your past, that may be manifesting into depression. Through depression counseling, you can develop the skills to conquer your depression and reclaim your life.
Causes of Depression
Depression is caused by a combination of psychological, biological, and social factors. Having any combination of risk factors increases your likelihood of experiencing depression.
Biological and chemical factors play a significant role in the development of depressive symptoms. Studies have found physical differences in the brains of people with depression. These differences include a smaller hippocampus, higher activity in the amygdala, and problems with neuron growth, connection, and functions.
An imbalance in neurotransmitters can also lead to problems with mood regulation. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are responsible for processing emotion.
Evidence also suggests there may be a genetic connection to depression. Studies have found a higher incidence of depression within families and in twin studies. This may be connected to the passing on of genes with biological factors causing higher susceptibility to depression.
Yet, lifestyle choices, relationships, and coping skills contribute equally to the development of depression, if not more so than genetics. If you have a genetic or biological predisposition to depression, stressful life events or hormonal changes may be more likely to trigger symptoms. For that reason, depression counseling is shown to be a very effective therapy for depression.
Some of the psychological and social factors that increase your vulnerability to depression include:
- lack of social support
- isolation, loneliness
- recent stressors
- living with someone who is depressed
- relationship problems
- early childhood trauma or abuse
- slowed thought and movement
- financial difficulties
- being a victim of physical or emotional abuse
- alcohol or drug abuse
- job loss or underemployment
- loss or death of a loved one
- health problems
Depression counseling can help to support long term changes. If you are experiencing any of these difficulties or may be suffering from the long-term effects of past experiences, a depression counselor can help you overcome the emotional impact.
Types of Depression
There are also different types of depression. Among the more common types are:
- persistent depressive disorder
- major depressive disorder
- postpartum depression
- seasonal affective disorder
- premenstrual dysphoric disorder
When we meet for your therapy for depression, we will determine the type of depression you are experiencing and its causes by examining your personal history. We will also work together to determine the best therapeutic methods for your treatment.
Therapy for Depression
If you are experiencing depression, you may feel there is no hope or chance for your life to improve. That is because hopelessness is a common symptom of depression. Yet, depression is very treatable. By working with a depression specialist, you can learn to change negative thought patterns and perceptions and manage your symptoms better. In turn, you will experience improvements in your mood and daily functioning.
As a depression counselor, I use psychotherapy, or talk therapy, to work with you on the problems you are experiencing to come up with long-term solutions. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an evidence-based approach, is one of the treatment modalities I use. It is particularly helpful in addressing depression and helping clients to learn techniques for managing symptoms on their own.
Depression can feel very lonely and isolating, but you do not have to go through it without support. As a depression counselor in greater Los Angeles, I can help you to manage your symptoms and bring balance back to your life. So give me a call today and take your first step toward healing and happiness.