Depression #1

Depression #2

Depression #3

Depression has multiple symptoms and can run from being mild to severe and be short lived or more long-term and chronic. Although depression can feel different for each person, there are symptoms; which can be common and present for many people. These include sadness, tearfulness, less interest in usual, daily, and other activities, sleep and appetite disruption, anxiety, irritability, fear, or withdrawal. Anger, disagreeability, and acting-out can also be present. It is most important to understand that depression has both biochemical and emotional/external causes. That is, "things that happen to us," the relationships that affect our lives, and the chemical processes in the brain are all equally important to consider when understanding and treating depression. Research has repeatedly shown that when treated with both medication and psychotherapy, alone or together, depression has a high possibility of being diminished, managed, and/or ended. Additionally, changes in the ways we think about things, respond and behave, attend to nutrition, physical activity/exercise and social interactions are also very important to understanding and treating depression.
-Karen Johnson, Ph.D.

The word depression is used commonly and in multiple ways that make its specific use in psychiatry unclear to many people. It is frequently used as an economic term. It may mean a shallow spot on the ground. It is commonly used in ordinary conversation to report sadness, even sadness that is ordinary, lasting for a brief time, and caused by ordinary events. In psychiatric usage, depression means a persistent state of sadness, misery lasting at least weeks and interfering with normal functioning. Additional symptoms of decreased energy, disturbed sleep patterns, difficulty thinking and concentrating are often present.

An episode of significant and memorable depression is not rare. Between 5-7% of people will suffer through at least a single episode of depression. A smaller group will suffer repeated bouts of depression.

Modern treatment of depression should include proper evaluation and then use of an antidepressant medication. Psychotherapy is of proven effectiveness in the treatment of mild depression. The goal of treatment is complete relief of symptoms and full recovery of functioning and well being.
-Garry Grayson, M.D.

Everyone goes through ups and downs in their life. Depression is different from normal sadness and is considered a mood condition. Symptoms of depression may include; feelings of hopelessness, appetite changes, lack of motivation/concentration, loss of pleasure in things that were once pleasurable, irritability, thoughts of suicide as well as other symptoms. It's important to recognize that not all people experiencing depression experience feeling down or all of the symptoms listed above. Depression is thought to have a genetic component although people may experience situational depression due to a loss of a loved one, trauma or any other negative life altering events.

Depression & The Mood Disease: A Guide for Patients and Family by F.M.
Mondimore The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Commonly suggested books for Depression:

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns.
A strong, readable introduction to cognitive therapy, a scientifically-validated approach to dealing with depression. Burns teaches readers how to identify thinking that is making them feel bad and find more powerful thoughts that make them feel good. Includes chapters on self-esteem, guilt, anger, perfectionism, overcoming addictions to love and approval, etc. Many people have nipped depression in the bud by reading this book and doing the exercises it recommends. Recently seen on the shelves at CVS Drug Store, it is one of the best-selling self-help books of all time.

Listening to Prozac by Peter Kramer MD.
While this book requires some effort and study, it is a most valuable and detailed examination of the nature of persistent depression and how it shapes psychological development. Written by a superb psychiatrist, it has been influential in promoting more effective treatment of depression.

Undercurrents by Martha Manning PhD.
A memoir of bouts of serious depression. The descriptions of depression are realistic, characteristic, easily read and memorable. The author was a practicing clinical psychologist during the periods covered in her memoir.

Where Roots Reach for Water. A Personal and Naural History of Melancholia. By Jeffery Smith. This is a lengthy memoir, very well written. It has many digressions into the history of depression, alternative perspectives on depression. It is in no way narrowly medical or even narrowly psychological in nature. Intellectually stimulating and challenging. Not a self help book.

Darkness Visible. A Memoir of Madness. By William Styron.
Another memoir by a great American novelist. Not a self help book, not an easy read, but a memorable account by a great writer of what the suffering is about. Could be valuable to family members trying to understand what their loved one is contending with.


Depression and Anxiety

Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns
Burns teaches readers a clear, systematic approach to identifying thoughts that are making them feel depressed and/or anxious and finding more powerful thoughts that make them feel better. Includes chapters on thought patterns in depression and anxiety, procrastination, and intimate communication.

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