Open Accessibility Menu

Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression

Depressive disorders affect nearly 19 million Americans yearly and are the leading cause of disability among people 15 to 44. Major depressive disorder is the most common type of mental-health disorder among American adults. Just hearing these statistics is depressing!

A number of factors can contribute to the development of depression, including:

  • genetics
  • biological changes in brain structure or function
  • side effects of medications
  • certain physical ailments
  • overwhelming stress
  • financial difficulties
  • serious loss

Gender may also play a role in the development of depression. “Depressive disorders are diagnosed twice as frequently in women as in men, primarily due to hormonal changes accompanying menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause,” says Barbara Lankelis, LCSW, LiveWell Counseling (CHCCC) therapist. “Interestingly, however, more men are now seeking treatment for depression, primarily because of the struggles of life in our current economic climate.”

Symptoms of depressive disorders include:

  • a persistently sad and irritable mood
  • diminished interest in activities which were once enjoyed
  • significant weight loss without dieting
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • lack of concentration
  • indecisiveness
  • recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Fortunately, depressive disorders are highly treatable. Treatment generally focuses on therapy and/or medication. Therapy may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to change negative thinking and behaviors; interpersonal therapy, which focuses on improving personal relationships; and family therapy, if issues exist with a person’s spouse or children. CHCC’s Ramapo Ridge Gracepoint provides group therapy with an interdisciplinary team.