A feeling of sadness or the "blues" is an emotion that everyone feels and processes. Difficult life experiences—death of a loved one, major illness, or drastic life changes—are common events that result in a common sense of grief. However, these strong emotions of helplessness and sorrow dissipate as time moves on after trying life events.
A longer period of sadness that also results in repeated interference with daily activities and social behavior may be a sign of something more severe. Someone that is suffering from depression will often feel hopeless about any sort of recovery or change in mood. Feeling overly tired and unwilling to continue normal activities that were enjoyed in the past are common symptoms.
There are a multitude of causes that have been identified. Changes in body chemistry from biological factors or medication can modify mood and behavior. High levels of substance abuse in combination with mental ill-health may also result in depression. Life events, social factors or extreme transitions are also common causes.
A psychotherapist may utilize various approaches—cognitive-behavioral, for instance—to help the individual recover. Psychotherapy sessions give the person a chance to express their feelings and start to identify any psychological, behavioral, or situational causes.
It is very common for unrealistic thought patterns to arise in a person suffering from depression. Often the feelings of helplessness come from a narrow viewpoint that focuses on the negative. Psychotherapy can help someone see that they do in fact have more choices and options than they may realize.
Also, repeated behaviors may contribute to or exacerbate depression. A psychotherapist can help an individual form a more positive outlook on life and can help the person identify actions or interactions that are only making the depression worse. The therapist will help slowly reintegrate previous or new activities that are more rewarding and help the sufferer regain their sense of worth.
An episode of depression greatly increases the likelihood of repeat bouts with depression in the future. As a registered and experienced psychotherapist in Denver, I can help someone identify depression and regain a sense of worth. Please contact me to discuss your unique situation and to arrange a first appointment.