If you have found this website page because you feel depressed, know
depression is treatable. More than 20 million people in the United States
are diagnosed with depression, and every day with proper treatment, people
are helped. No one should go through life struggling with the disruptive
symptoms of depression. I hope the information provided here will be the
beginning of information and help.
On This Page . . .
- Depression is a mood disorder with common symptoms of sadness,
hopelessness, guilt, self doubt and apathy.
- Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can persist for days or years.
- There are several different kinds of depression which vary in
symptoms, severity and persistence.
- We know some types of depression run in families.
- Daily routines and normal activities may become more difficult.
- If the depressed person also suffers from periods of mania, the
disorder may be bipolar in nature.
- Depression is not grief. Grief is a normal reaction to loss such as the
death of a loved one, and has predictable stages.
The National Institute of Mental Health defines major depressive disorder
as a combination of symptoms which interfere with one's ability to work,
sleep, study, and eat. Major depression can be paralyzing, and can interfere
with a person's normal life. An episode of clinical depression may occur only
once in a person's lifetime. Often, however, it reoccurs throughout a
person's life. A major depression must include one of the symptoms of
either depressed mood or loss of interest. The symptoms are be present
daily or for most of the day or nearly daily for at least two weeks.
Depression does not usually go away by itself. Left untreated, the
symptoms can worsen, and include harmful behaviors such as over drinking,
self medication or suicide. One does not have to experience all of the
following symptoms, however these are most common to depression:
- difficulty concentrating
- fatigue and decreased energy
- excessive guilt
- hopelessness or despair
- early-morning waking
- excessive sleeping
- loss of interest in pleasure
- loss of libido
- no appetite
- persistent aches or pains
- sadness not connected to any particular even
- suicidal thoughts
- physical ailments without a medical diagnosis
Mania is a highly elevated mood that can occur with bipolar disorder.
Moods in bipolar disorder 'swing' from extreme lows of depression to
extreme highs of mania. Often mania is mis interpreted as something
positive . . ."Well, Joe is finally building the arc he always wanted!" Mania,
however, is an abnormal elevation in mood, and is serious. Mania often
leads to lack of judgement and dangerous risk taking behaviors. Mania
requires medical evaluation and treatment. The symptoms of mania include:
- abnormally elevated mood
- decreased need for sleep
- grandiose ideas
- increased talking
- racing thoughts
- increased activity
- increased sexual activity
- increased energy
- poor judgment leading to risk-taking behavior
- inappropriate social behavior
There are several different causes for depression, and depression is not the
same for all people. Some people may experience only one depressive
episode, while others may have chronic depression. Some may have mild
symptoms, some serious. Some depressions are of the kind where a person
has no control over such as a chemical imbalance, post traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) related depression, post surgery or postpartum depression.
Below are only a few examples of causes of depression:
Relationship break ups, divorce, separation, unexpected life events,
- Psychological and Situational Depression
financial problems, the loss of a job are normal circumstances which can
cause depression. However, the death of a loved one usually involves an
acute 'grief reaction' and is a normal response to losing someone we love.
Often, this grief reaction is accompanied by the same symptoms found in a
clinical depression and can feel just as painful.
During a psychological or emotionally caused depression evaluation, I look
at five main areas in my clients which can cause serious or prolonged
Even though PTSD is a separate diagnosis, PTSD often includes depression
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
or depressive symptoms, so it is important to include brief information here.
PTSD is an intense emotional response or delayed response to a traumatic
or extraordinary experience, usually involving danger, terror or fear.
Trauma can be physical, emotional, or verbal. A few examples are:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is more prevalent than ever before,
- Auto accidents
- Family abuse
- Involved in a disaster
- Witnessing others (such as siblings) being abused
- Seeing parents in abusive situations
and the medical and clinical fields now know more about how PTSD effects
people emotionally and disrupts all areas of one's life. Effective treatment
is available for PTSD, and EMDR is an excellent mode of therapy for all
levels of trauma. Information can be found on the EMDR page of this site.
- Medical & Physical Depression. Our bodies and our brains have
the potential for creating depression in the form of chemical
imbalances in our system. Our bodies need sufficient rest, sleep, food,
water, exercise and nutrients to function properly. Medical problems
such as cancer, heart attack, strokes, and hormonal disorders can
cause depression. Below are a few example of when the body can
- Post Surgery Depression. After a major surgery, depression is
common. Unfortunately, many physicians do not address this with their
patients. During surgery, the body is essentially traumatized.
Extremely potent medications have been used before, during and after
major surgeries. Not to mention strong pain medications which may be
needed post surgery for several weeks.
- During or after a bout with the flu, a brief depression is common.
Your body and emotions are healing. Remember when you said to
yourself "will I ever feel normal again?"
- Brain chemical imbalance. Biological systems and changes in the
body's chemistry will usually affect one's mood and thoughts, often
leading to depression. We know antidepressant medications work well
to repair the imbalances in the brain.
- Chemical addictions are often connected with depression. It is not
uncommon for an individual to begin to use or abuse chemicals in an
attempt to numb a painful event.
Seasonal depression, often called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is
- SAD . . Seasonal Affective Disorder
depression that occurs each year at the same time. It usually starts in the
fall or winter and ends in spring or early summer. It is more than just "the
winter blues" or "cabin fever." A rare form of SAD, known as "summer
depression," begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall.
The holidays can bring out the best in us and the worst. For some people,
the holidays are filled with negative childhood memories of hurt, sadness, or
unresolved family issues.
Holiday depression is characterized by a feeling of "the blues", sadness and
loss. Some describe it as an 'empty' feeling. When everyone else around
them is anticipating the holiday season, enjoying the fun and celebration,
the depressed person only wants it 'all over with.' As soon as the holidays
pass, the depression lifts and a regular routine and stable emotions resume.
This oftentimes 'brief' depression is experienced when a person feels the
signs and symptoms of a psychological depression, but it is due to a previous
loss or event in one's life. It usually begins before the anniversary date of
the actual loss and can extend for a few weeks after. In all, it may last a
month or two. Clinically, this is considered a 'grief reaction' to a past loss,
but feels similar to depression and can have the same symptoms.
Often when we lose a loved one, we think we are supposed to do our
grieving and get on with life. However, significant and unexpected losses
such as the death of a child may cause prolonged emotional disturbances.
Anniversary depression begins with the time of year of the loss, the intense
memories, recalling the emotional pain of the loss and a mild to severe
period of grief, once again going through the stages. You may think to
yourself "I thought I was over this," and not understand what is happening.
Anniversary depression does pass.
Gone untreated, thyroid disease can cause depression. Hormonal
imbalances are also found at times when a woman's cycle or body is
interrupted. Times such as pregnancy, post childbirth, post hysterectomy,
post tubaligation, premenstrual, post miscarriage, and after stopping the
birth control pill, are times when hormones are not stable and can cause
depression in women.
As many as 75% of new moms get the "baby blues." But about 1 in 10
moms develop a more serious condition called postpartum depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, postpartum
depression is diagnosed when a new mother develops a major depressive
episode within one month after delivery.
Symptoms of postpartum depression are feeling restless, anxious, fatigued
and worthless. Some new moms worry they will hurt themselves or their
babies. Unlike the "baby blues," postpartum depression does not go away
quickly. Researchers think that changes in a woman's hormone levels
during and after pregnancy may lead to postpartum depression.
The most important step is accurate diagnosis from a licensed clinician.
Since depression involves the body, emotions, thoughts, and behavior, a
thorough assessment and evaluation is necessary. The right diagnosis is
crucial, as depression can be a symptom of a more serious medical or
Common treatments are medication and psychotherapy, usually combined.
Medication is an effective treatment to reduce symptoms, psychotherapy
will help you begin to resolve your emotional and psychological issues which
may have added to the depression. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization
Reprocessing) can be an effective treatment for dealing with the
psychological causes for depression. EMDR info is on this website.
If you have reluctance to taking medications, ask your psychiatrist or
therapist to explain exactly how they work. Remember, knowledge is
power. The more you understand about medication prescribed to you, the
more active you are in your treatment. If you were diagnosed with diabetes,
heart problems or thyroid illness, you probably wouldn't hesitate.
Medication, in combination with therapy, is often a successful course of
treatment for depression.
Modern medicine has evolved to enhance the quality of your life beyond
what we could ever dream of several years ago. Lives are saved every day
due to the right diagnosis and the right treatment.
We can't forget the things you can do for yourself to help with mild
depression: eating right, good sleep, exercise.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), is a powerful and
often rapid therapeutic technique, and can be used by a trained EMDR
therapist to help you effectively deal with the underlying emotional causes
of depression. If you suffer from a psychological depression, which is often
connected with unresolved guilt, anger, loss or past disturbing memories,
EMDR can be extremely effective. EMDR is a breakthrough therapy for
dealing with many emotional issues. Information is on the EMDR page.
Children and teens do get depressed. Symptoms are often overlooked and
looked on as a 'stage' or hormonal changes. Depression is more common in
boys under the age of ten, and girls over the age of 16. Not all children will
display all symptoms, however, here are a few which may be present:
do not respond to medical treatment.
- Appetite and sleep changes
- Low energy and fatigue
- Lack of interest in friends and school
- Thoughts about suicide and death
- Trouble concentrating
- Increased crying spells
- Angry and frequent outbursts
- Sensitive to rejection
- Mood changes
- Physical symptoms (stomach aches and headaches) which
The Most Common Symptoms in Children Are:
- Change in social behaviors
- Loss of interest in friends and school
- Easily upset
If you think your child or teen shows signs of depression, do not hesitate to
have him/her assessed and evaluated. We have no specific medical or
psychological tests for depression, but questionnaires, a thorough
assessment and evaluation regarding both the child and parents is useful in
The treatment for children with depression are similar to those for adults.
Medications are effective along with having a 'safe' place for a child or
teen to talk about their problems is helpful.
Suicide is the eleventh most common cause of death in the United States.
People may consider suicide when they are hopeless and can't see any other
solution to their problems.
In 2004, more than 32,000 people in the United States committed suicide.
More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable
mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse
Suicide is the second cause of death in ages 25 - 34
Suicide is the third cause of death in ages 15 -25
Suicide is the fourth cause of death in ages 18 - 65
The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are found in white men, though women
and teens report more suicide attempts. Four times as many men as women
die by suicide.
Helping Someone Who is Depressed
Children and teens DO think about death and suicide. And depressed
individuals, no matter what the age, often are not able to communicate
exactly what they are thinking or feeling. 75 % of suicide victims show
some warning signs or symptoms. For this reason, it is important to take the
signs of depression seriously.
Depressed individuals almost always lack the focus and energy to make an
appointment and drive themselves. Because of shame or embarrassment,
the person might attempt to 'cover up' and tell you they 'feel better.' Do
not hesitate to contact Dr. Lynne for a personal phone counseling session to
discuss your concerns for yourself or that of someone you love.
If someone talks about suicide, take them seriously. Contact 9ll or contact
800-SUICIDE (784-2433). For further help with suicidal thoughts, see
Mental Health Resource Links.
OFFICE Appointments Available in
Pittsburgh, Monroeville & Upper St.Clair
Toll Free: 877-CALL-197
Phone Counseling Available with Dr. Lynne
Phone Counseling Fees:
Topics on this Website:
This page has summarized only brief descriptions and types of a few
common depressions, symptoms and treatments for educational purposes
only, and is not intended for clinical diagnosis or treatment. Please talk with
your physician or therapist if you think you may be depressed. If you have
suicidal thoughts, you can call 911, or go to Mental Health Resource Links.
You Held on
|I Had a
When I Saw
In the Dark.
|I'm In A Storm
Tears of Rain.
I'm Sure the
Sun Comes Out.
But I Don't
But I See
the North Star.
When it Seems
We Will Never
Who You Are,
Cling to Hope.
Depression . . .
The Dark Side of the Soul
Depression . . .
The Dark Side of the Soul
Lynne Logan Ph.D., M.F.T.
Phone Counseling Now--Toll Free
Important Message About Depression
There is a
|As Long As I
As Long As I
I Had Hope
|Never Give Up. . .
for that is
Just the Place
Tide Will Turn.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
|You Did Then
What You Knew
How to Do.
You Did Better.
Deep Within Me
Hope of Spring.