Can a Depression Therapist Help Me?

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According to the American Psychiatric Association (AMA), depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults in any given year. This debilitating illness can affect people from all walks of life. In this article, we’ll go over what depression is and how a depression therapist can help.

What Is Depression?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a serious mood disorder which impacts the way a person feels and how well they are able to function in society.

This is very different from regular sadness – it’s not something that someone can simply shake off or get over. Individuals who experience depression suffer low self-esteem, quality of life, and are less capable of caring for themselves.

Symptoms of depression can be both emotional and physical.

Emotional Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Restlessness
  • Withdrawal from social circles
  • Concentration issues
  • Low self-esteem
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Physical Symptoms of depression include:

  • Fatigue
  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight fluctuations (either gain or loss)
  • Chronic pain
  • Physical illness possibly preceding depressive symptoms

People with clinical depression often need to seek the help of a depression therapist in order to gain control over their condition.

Depression can strike at any age and affect people of any race or socioeconomic status. However, according to research, it’s most prevalent among Hispanics (10.8%), followed by African Americans (8.9%), and then Whites (7.8%).

Here are some other statistics on the demographics of people with depression:

  • The median age of depression onset is 32.5 years old.
  • Adults between the ages of 18 and 25 have the highest prevalence of a major depressive episode.
  • Over eleven percent of adults who report being of mixed race have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.
  • Almost nine percent of women have depression.
  • Just over five percent of men have depression.

Depression is highly correlated with substance abuse. According to a national survey, 16.9% of the 20.3 million people who suffer from depression also reported having a substance use disorder. The coincidence of depression and a substance use disorder is known as a dual diagnosis.

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, a professional therapist can help. Read on to learn more.

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How Is Depression Treated?

Clinical depression is a serious mental health issue, but by working with a depression therapist, the condition is very treatable.

Treating depression is a multifaceted process that typically begins with a comprehensive assessment and involves various treatment modalities tailored to an individual’s specific needs and circumstances.

There are two broad approaches to treating depression that a depression therapist may try:

  • Medications — Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors(SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and others might be prescribed to manage symptoms.
  • Therapy — This may include therapy modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy. Some facilities may even have online therapy options. 

These two approaches are often used together to great effect. A depression therapist may also advise you to make lifestyle changes such as eating a nutritious diet, keeping a regular sleep pattern, and getting lots of exercise.

Strong evidence shows that at least 30 minutes of exercise can help alleviate depressive symptoms. Likewise, the research support behind the relevance of diet to mental health is very strong.

Depression does not mean the end of an individual’s story. Indeed, many people have suffered from depression, received the proper treatment, and returned stronger than before. There is always hope and room for rehabilitation and improvement.

What Is a Depression Therapist?

Although we’ve used the term “depression therapist” a few times in this article, it’s not a formal title or specific specialization within the therapy profession.

Generally, the term informally describes a therapist who is trained and licensed to treat mental health disorders, including depression.

All therapists are trained to treat a range of mental illnesses. However, some therapists might have undergone specialized training or have more experience in treating depressive disorders.

Therapists may pursue additional certifications or training in specific therapeutic approaches proven effective in treating depression, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Finding a Depression Counselor

When looking for a therapist with expertise in treating depression, it’s advisable to research and perhaps look for someone with good reviews, publications, or recommendations in this area.

Potential clients can schedule consultations with therapists to discuss their experiences and approaches to treating depression before deciding to work with them.

During the initial consultation, a depression counselor may also ask you about your therapy goals. This is what you want out of therapy, as well as out of life. You can consider the, personal development goals.

When making therapy goals, it’s a good idea to follow the acronym SMART — this means making goals that are “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.”

One example might be deciding to exercise for ninety minutes a week for the next month:

  • Specific — This is a specific action intended to tackle the underlying cause of the depression.
  • Measurable — You commit to doing some form of exercise in 30-minute intervals for three out of the seven days in your week over the next month.
  • Achievable — This is a very doable goal. It’s not overwhelming.
  • Relevant — Exercise is relevant to the goal of improving your mental health.
  • Time-bound — It takes place over a specific period, with a beginning and end date.

Remember, therapy goals can be individualized based on your needs and preferences. The key is to set goals that are realistic and aligned with your desired outcomes.

What Does a Mental Health Therapist Do?

A depression therapist plays a crucial role in helping individuals manage and overcome mental health issues through various therapeutic techniques and strategies.

They talk to patients about their symptoms and discuss possible treatments. In some states, licensed professional counselors are authorized to diagnose mental health conditions. Other states require a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist to do this.

Typically, a therapist treating depression cannot prescribe medication. In some U.S. states, therapists with advanced training can be granted prescription privileges. However, this is relatively uncommon and is generally the domain of a psychiatrist or trained medical doctor.

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Depression Treatment at South Coast Behavioral Health

South Coast Behavioral Health is committed to providing inpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment in the state of California. Whether you’re interested in inpatient care, outpatient rehab, or online therapy, we have options for you. Depression therapy is something that can help. We focus on instilling coping skills and management techniques for when you feel sad. 

We have inpatient mental health treatment facilities across Southern California, with Residential Treatment in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Huntington Beach. We also offer Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach and Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach.

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse, call us at 866-881-1184 today. Our staff will resolve any doubts or questions you may have. If you see the signs of depression in yourself or someone you love during daily life, call us today and get started with depression therapy when you feel sad. 

Pierce Willans
Kelly McIntyre
Medically Reviewed by Kelly McIntyre, MS, LMFT
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