What is depression therapy?
How is depression different than sadness?
How do I know if I have depression?
Depression is one of the common mental health conditions treated by the therapists at Brittani Persha Counseling. Depression is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. It goes beyond the usual ups and downs that people experience in their daily lives. Depression affects thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and can have a significant impact on one’s ability to function in various aspects of life.
According to the DSM-5, depression may include:
- Persistent Sadness: Individuals with depression often experience a pervasive and prolonged sense of sadness or emptiness. This emotional state may persist for weeks, months, or even longer.
- Loss of Interest or Pleasure: Anhedonia, or the loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable, is a common symptom of depression. Hobbies, social interactions, and other activities may no longer bring the same satisfaction.
- Changes in Sleep Patterns: Depression can lead to disturbances in sleep, with individuals experiencing either insomnia or excessive sleepiness. Disrupted sleep patterns can exacerbate feelings of fatigue and lethargy.
- Changes in Appetite or Weight: Significant changes in appetite, leading to weight loss or gain, are common in depression. Some individuals may lose interest in food, while others may turn to emotional eating.
- Fatigue and Lack of Energy: Individuals with depression often report feelings of persistent fatigue, even after a full night’s sleep. Simple tasks may feel overwhelming, and energy levels can be significantly reduced.
- Difficulty Concentrating: Depression can impair cognitive function, making it challenging to concentrate, make decisions, or remember details. This can impact work, school, and daily responsibilities.
- Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt: People with depression may experience overwhelming feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, even when there is no rational basis for such emotions.
- Physical Symptoms: Depression can manifest with various physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained aches and pains.
- Isolation and Withdrawal: Individuals with depression may withdraw from social activities, isolating themselves from friends and family. This withdrawal can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and contribute to the overall impact of the condition.
A Depression therapist’s top 10 tips for combatting depression
tip #1: Establish a Routine
Establishing and maintaining a routine can be a powerful tool in combating depression, providing stability, structure, and a sense of purpose in daily life. Depression often comes with a sense of hopelessness and overwhelming fatigue, making even simple tasks seem impossible. However, a well-structured routine can serve as a lifeline, offering a predictable framework that fosters a sense of control and accomplishment in your daily life. It doesn’t need to be something big; you can start with something as small as taking your dog on a 10 minute walk each morning!
Tip #2: Explore Hobbies and Interests
Engaging in activities that bring joy, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment can have very positive effects on your mental health and decrease your depressive feelings. Beyond being a source of joy and distraction, hobbies contribute to a sense of achievement, foster social connections, and create structure in daily life. To get started, think about things you enjoyed previously, things you did when you were a child, things you’ve always wanted to try, etc. Some potential ideas include: reading, running, learning to play an instrument, making a craft, decorating your home, hiking, and more!
Tip #3: Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Integrating mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your daily routine (You can combine this with tip #1!) can be transformative in fighting against depression. Mindfulness and relaxation offer a profound way to connect with the present moment, quiet the mind, and cultivate a sense of inner peace. There are SO many ways you can incorporate these practices into your life, whether it be a 5 minute meditation on Youtube, a quick mindful walk (no phones or distractions), or a breathing exercise. I encourage you to pick ONE to try out this week!
Tip #4: Set Realistic Goals
Consider starting with short-term goals that align with your immediate priorities. These could be as simple as getting out of bed at a specific time, engaging in a brief daily exercise routine, or reaching out to a friend or family member! As you achieve these smaller milestones, you build momentum and confidence, laying the foundation for tackling more ambitious goals.
>> To enhance the effectiveness of goal-setting in overcoming depression, consider the SMART criteria – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This framework ensures that your goals are well-defined, realistic, and grounded in a clear timeframe. For example, instead of setting a vague goal like “exercise more,” a SMART goal would be “walk for 15 minutes every day this week.”
Tip #5: Get out of Your House
This one is simple – change your environment! Whether it’s a local park, a quiet neighborhood street, or a nearby trail, the simple act of being in a different environment can have a positive impact on your mental state.
Tip #6: Get Enough Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, helps regulate your body’s internal clock. Lack of sleep triggers the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, into the bloodstream. Elevated cortisol levels can contribute to increased stress and anxiety, exacerbating symptoms of depression. Additionally, quality sleep has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, helping to reduce inflammation associated with mood disorders.
Tip #7: Foster Positive Relationships
Having positive, fulfilling relationships is a protective factor against depression and many other mental health conditions! Having a network of people who support you including family, friends, coworkers, and mental health professionals increases connection, confidence, and resiliency. Reach out to a friend or family member and spend some time doing activities together that you enjoy. If you need a list of ideas, here is a list of things to do in Houston!
Tip #8: Limit Social Media and Screen Time
Excessive screen time, particularly on social media, can contribute to feelings of isolation and negatively impact mental health. Setting boundaries for screen time and allocating moments for face-to-face interactions is crucial. Set alarms or time restrictions in your screen time settings on your phone!
Accumulating positive experiences, a fundamental skill in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), involves consciously seeking and embracing moments of joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment in daily life. By actively engaging in activities that bring happiness and a sense of accomplishment, you can counterbalance the emotional challenges associated with conditions like depression. Whether it’s savoring a delicious meal, appreciating nature, or pursuing a hobby, the aim is to intentionally accumulate positive moments, creating a reservoir of uplifting experiences. This skill not only enhances one’s overall well-being but also serves as a valuable tool in building resilience and navigating the complexities of emotional struggles.
Tip #10: reach out to A Therapist for Support
You don’t have to battle depression alone! Having a qualified mental health therapist on your team who is trained in working with depression, can be a HUGE step in your healing journey. A therapist can support you in identifying triggers, processing past traumas, learning new coping skills, and improving your daily functioning. If you’re interested in beginning depression therapy, reach out to the therapists at Brittani Persha Counseling in Houston, TX using the link below!
How Depression Therapy at Brittani Persha Counseling Can help
At Brittani Persha Counseling in Houston, TX we believe that all individuals are capable of living a joyful, fulfilling life. Our expert therapists utilize evidence-based therapeutic techniques, allowing clients to gain valuable insights, develop coping strategies, and set realistic goals for overcoming depression. Seeking depression therapy at Brittani Persha Counseling in Houston is a courageous step towards healing, and our professional team of therapists is dedicated to providing compassionate guidance on your path to improved mental health.