Depression Therapy in Charlotte: Tips from Local Therapists
It’s normal to experience feelings of depression after the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. However, depression is more than just feeling sad for a while. Individuals with depression might experience a flat mood that continues over several days—or keeps returning. While depression might begin with a vague sense of sadness, anger, or emptiness, it can encroach on every aspect of life. Sometimes, depression can lead to emotional and physical problems, affecting your ability to function in daily life.
As one of the most common mental illnesses, depression affects approximately one in 15 adults in the United States each year, while one in six U.S. adults will experience a major depressive episode at some point in their life. Depression can be triggered by a traumatic event, childhood experiences, other mental or physical problems—or, sometimes, none of these. Fortunately, depression is highly treatable with a combination of talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Types of Depressive Disorders
There are several mood disorders, each with unique diagnostic criteria under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Each form of depression is slightly different, and some depressive disorders may develop under specific circumstances. Some common types of depression include:
- Bipolar depression
- Major depressive disorder (also known as major depression or clinical depression)
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
- Postpartum depression
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, many individuals who experience depressive episodes also experience co-occurring mental illnesses. Approximately half of those with major depression also have a diagnosable anxiety disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Although the symptoms of depression may vary from person to person, most depressive disorders share similar depression symptoms. Some signs and symptoms that you may have a diagnosable depressive disorder include:
- Feelings of sadness or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
- Changes in appetite, such as weight gain or weight loss
- Sleeping problems, such as insomnia
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Negative thoughts
- Increased irritability
- Avoidance of social activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Difficulty focusing or making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts
Depression symptoms must be present for at least two weeks and must represent a change in your baseline level of functioning for a diagnosis of depression. In addition, it’s essential to rule out medical conditions (e.g., vitamin deficiency or thyroid problems) that may mimic the symptoms of depression.
Treatment Options for Depression
Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is typically used as a first-line treatment for moderate depression. Meanwhile, for more severe depression, psychotherapy is often supplemented with antidepressant medications. Some types of therapy used in the treatment of depression include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT can help you identify and change negative thought and behavior patterns associated with depression. CBT is also an effective treatment for related mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, psychosis, and bipolar disorder.
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on resolving issues in personal relationships that may be contributing to depressive disorder. During an IPT treatment session, you’ll work with your therapist to evaluate your interactions and improve your communication skills.
- Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic therapy can help you understand how negative behavior patterns are rooted in past experiences and work to resolve them.
In addition to psychotherapy, medication, brain stimulation therapies, and healthy lifestyle changes are effective treatments for many forms of depression. Some other forms of treatment include:
- Medication: Because brain chemistry may contribute to depression symptoms, your psychiatrist may recommend antidepressant medication to treat depression. Depending on your specific symptoms, your psychiatrist may prescribe tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any side effects from antidepressants.
- Brain stimulation therapies: Brain stimulation therapies, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (RTMS), are effective for individuals with treatment-resistant depression, who are psychotic, or who are suicidal or dangerous to themselves. Light therapy, which involves exposure to artificial light, can also help treat SAD.
- Social support: Opening up to close friends and family members can help you navigate your mental health concerns and increase your resilience to stress. Support groups are also available for young adults and adolescents.
- Regular check-ups: Scheduling regular appointments with your health care provider can help rule out any underlying medical conditions contributing to your symptoms. Some possible causes of depression symptoms include vitamin deficiencies, birth control pills, and thyroid problems.
- Lifestyle changes: Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine can play a vital role in your depression treatment. Before incorporating any herbal supplements (such as St. John’s Wort) into your treatment plan, be sure to talk to your psychiatrist about potential adverse medication interactions.
Therapy for Depression Symptoms in Charlotte
Whether you’re experiencing moderate depression or feeling overwhelmed with mood swings, psychotherapy can help you understand your symptoms and manage your mental health. Above all else, it’s essential to find a therapist you feel comfortable opening up to about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
To start feeling better, reach out to a mental health professional through The Therapy Group of Charlotte. We know that reaching out for professional help can feel intimidating—that’s why our therapists offer compassionate, personalized depression therapy every step of the way. One of our experienced mental health providers will help you navigate your mental health, develop new ways to cope with depression symptoms, and live a fulfilling life.