What Is Depression?
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a person has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her. Depression is a serious condition that affects the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way one eats and sleeps as well as how one thinks about things, and one's self perception. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition one can will or wish away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better. If left untreated, depression can lead to personal, family, and financial difficulties. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, however, most people recover. The darkness disappears, hope for the future returns, and energy and interest in life becomes stronger than ever.
If you have struggled with five or more of the abovementioned symptoms for more than two weeks, you may very well be suffering from depression.**
Women and Depression
Depression is more common among women than among men. Biological, life cycle, hormonal and psychosocial factors unique to women may be linked to women's higher depression rate. Researchers have shown that hormones directly affect brain chemistry that controls emotions and mood. For example, women are particularly vulnerable to depression after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes, along with the new responsibility of caring for a newborn, can be overwhelming. Many new mothers will experience a brief episode of the "baby blues" but some will develop postpartum depression, a much more serious condition that requires active treatment and emotional support for the new mother.
Stressful life events such as trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship or any stressful situation-whether welcome or unwelcome-often occur before a depressive episode. Additional work and home responsibilities, caring for children and aging parents, abuse, and poverty also may trigger a depressive episode. Evidence suggests that women respond differently than men to these events, making them more prone to depression. In fact, research indicates that women respond in such a way that prolongs their feelings of stress more so than men, increasing the risk for depression. However, it is unclear why some women faced with enormous challenges develop depression, and some with similar challenges do not.*
Unfortunately, many women do not seek treatment when they are struggling with symptoms of depression, often thinking they can "work through" it on their own or believing that because they are intelligent people a therapist would be of no use to them. These common mistaken beliefs often prevent women from seeking treatment that may be extremely beneficial for them. Vast amounts of research have shown that treatment, including psychotherapy, is effective in relieving depression.
The therapists at Psychological Services of Naperville are experienced in working with women struggling with depression and are especially sensitive to and aware of the unique issues many women in today's society face. We believe in the importance of understanding how individual differences, including gender, race, ethnicity, religion and age may impact a person.
If you think you may be suffering from symptoms of depression, please call us at (630) 428-3908 to make an appointment today. There is hope for a brighter, happier tomorrow.
Men and Depression
In America alone, more than 6 million men have depression each year.
Whether you're a company executive, a construction worker, a writer, a police officer, or a student; whether you are rich or poor; surrounded by loved ones or alone; you are not immune to depression. Some factors, however, such as family history, undue stress, the loss of a loved one, or serious illnesses can make you more vulnerable.
Research and clinical evidence reveal that while both women and men can develop the standard symptoms of depression, they often experience depression differently and may have different ways of coping with the symptoms. Men may be more willing to acknowledge fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in work or hobbies, and sleep disturbances rather than feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and excessive guilt. In fact, some researchers question whether the standard definition of depression and the diagnostic tests based upon it adequately capture the condition as it occurs in men.
A man can experience depression in many different ways. He may be grumpy or irritable, or have lost his sense of humor. He might drink too much or abuse drugs. It may be that he physically or verbally abuses his wife and his kids. He might work all the time, or compulsively seek thrills in high risk behavior. Or, he may seem isolated, withdrawn, and no longer interested in the people or activities he used to enjoy.
For most men with depression, life doesn’t have to be so dark and hopeless. Life is hard enough as it is; and treating depression can free up vital resources to cope with life’s challenges effectively. When a man is depressed, he’s not the only one who suffers. His depression also darkens the lives of his family, his friends, virtually everyone close to him. Getting him into treatment can send ripples of healing and hope into all of those lives.
The therapists at Psychological Services of Naperville are experienced in working with both men and women struggling with depression and understand the importance of recognizing how individual differences such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion and age may impact a person.
Depression is a real illness; it is treatable; and men can have it. It takes courage to ask for help, but help can make all the difference.*
*Information published by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). http://www.nimh.nih.gov
As many as 80% of people experiencing depression never seek treatment or even know that they have it. But the vast majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment.*
**This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment or psychotherapy. Always seek the advice of a qualified mental health provider or your physician with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on this website.
Call us at 630.428.3908 to make an appointment.