According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2015, approximately 16.1 million adults 18 years or older in the United States struggled from at least one major depressive episode.
Many individuals believe depression to be mainly characterized by sadness; however, persistent emptiness, helplessness, anxiety, hopelessness, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, anger, and irritability can also be present. Depression can impact memory, disrupt focus and concentration, cause an increase or decrease in appetite or sleep, and diminish interest in activities that were once pleasurable. For some individuals depression can be so painful that it leads to suicidal ideation or attempts. Depression can be caused by environmental, psychological and biological (i.e., genetic predisposition) factors and can vary in intensity and duration. For a depressive episode to be diagnosed, an individual must present with symptoms that are prevalent most of the day for at least two weeks and impact family, social, and/or professional life. There are other types of depression that can affect individuals as well including seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, and persistent depressive disorder (i.e., a form of depression that is less severe, but lasts for longer periods of time). Fortunately, there are evidence-based treatments available for individuals coping with depression, several including cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness-based stress reduction. Our clinicians have expertise in helping individuals implement these effective coping strategies to combat the debilitating effects of depression.