Depression Q & A
by Dr. Brady, Psy.D
What is depression?
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by overwhelming feelings of sadness that persist no matter what you do. Often referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, this condition leads to a loss of interest in life with both psychological and physical problems. Even day-to-day activities get too hard to manage as the feeling of hopelessness takes over your life.
What causes depression?
There is no real answer to this question because there are many different factors at play. For some, depression is simply chemistry. The neurotransmitters in the brain that stabilize mood don’t work correctly. For others, it’s triggered by hormones or a life event that they can’t seem to come to terms with because it’s too traumatic. Certain patients may have a genetic predisposition to depression, as well, because it does tend to run in families.
There are specific risk factors for this mood disorder, including:
- Traumatic events
- Chronic anxiety
- Being in an unsupported group
- History of eating disorders
- Serious physical illness
- Childhood trauma
Any 1 of these life problems can trigger depression.
How is depression treated?
There are a number of approaches to treating clinical depression. Dr. Brady creates plans based on the patient, lifestyle, and other significant factors. The goal is to find ways to replace negative feelings and unproductive thought patterns with more useful, positive considerations. This is often accomplished with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
What is cognitive-behavioral therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psychotherapeutic treatment that shows patients how thoughts and feelings affect actions. With therapy, you learn how to change destructive thoughts and make them more realistic and even positive. Thoughts play a strong role in behavior. A person who is bombarded with negative notions acts on them, sometimes turning those feelings inward to remove hope and any chance at joy. Therapy teaches that destructive thoughts really have no place in a productive life. You learn ways to move past that negativity in real-world situations, even when you can’t control the outcome. Dr. Brady combines cognitive therapy with interpersonal and problem-solving approaches to put his depressed patients on the road to recovery and back towards hope and joy.