Many varieties of symptoms tend to accompany depression. People who are depressed tend to have changes in their sleep habits maybe they’re sleeping longer than they would like to or maybe there are not able to sleep much at all. Maybe they have changes in their appetite; they’re gaining or losing weight. Maybe they’re irritable. Maybe they’re struggling to focus – to concentrate. There’s any number of symptoms that go along with depression. I say that going through life depressed is like going through life with the flu only imagine that you’ve had the flu for so long that you forgot what it is to not have the flu. Sometimes individuals have been depressed since childhood and this is all they know. This tends to negatively color their beliefs about themselves, about life, about other people.
Depression definitely tends to run in families. It’s actually kind of a double whammy in the sense that at one layer there’s a biological or genetic component to depression. So if one or both of your parents suffered from depression they’re likely to pass along that biological tendency for you to be susceptible to depression. Now at the same time if your raised by one or both of your parents who are depressed they’re unlikely to have a certain amount of energy to parent you that let you stay optimistic or hopeful about encountering new changes in life. So without intending to, depressed parents are modeling for the child what it is to be an adult which naturally goes along with being depressed.
When someone is suffering from moderate to severe depression, medication can often help them move to that process more quickly. So our therapists are trained to work closely with the primary care doctor with OBGYNs and with the psychiatrist to make sure you get a high quality medication evaluation which can be an important part of the process.
To understand how depression relates to your body and brain chemistry consider this – the body naturally produces a chemical called serotonin. This chemical is deficient in individuals that are suffering from clinical depression. Serotonin does a lot of things for you but one of the most essential thing serotonin does is it let you feel a bond, it lets you feel love for other people. So sometimes when individuals are suffering from depression and are lacking this chemical they feel that their relationships are strained. I’ve seen many a marriage saved, when one or both the individuals were properly medicated so they could feel that natural bond with one another that had been lacking beforehand.