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Christian Counseling - The Faces of Depression

Why is addressing depression important beyond the obvious--to help sufferers feel better, improve relationships and enjoy life? The answer is that relieving depression helps prevent coronary heart disease. The research is clear, those who suffer from this malady are far more likely to later also suffer serious physical problems that lead to earlier impairment in health and affect longevity.

We are all at least somewhat familiar with some of the common symptoms of depression--depressed mood (sad or empty feelings), loss of interest or pleasure, fatigue, sleep disturbance, changes in appetite, suicide ideology and decreased concentration. Most are also aware that depression can originate from a biological problem, (i.e., hypothyroidism), or a significant loss of someone or something, or the lack of meaning and purpose in life. Yet, what may be less familiar are the different faces of depression, which are physical complaints (seen in the elderly), irritability (observed in children) or feelings of worthlessness. Some less known causes of depression are: anger turned in on the self (anaclytic), excessive guilt (symptom or cause), children or teens having moved several times from one residence to another, teasing and rejection by family or peers, and social fears that lead to great loneliness, to name a few.

More than a few clients who begin counseling are surprised to discover they are depressed. Why don't they see it? Because they may have false preconceived ideas about what depression is and is not, or have limited self-awareness. Also, they may have experienced some recovery, feeling the best they ever have in their lives, and falsely believe they are out of depression. Yet, from a clinical viewpoint, their point of recovery may still leave them in the range of mild to moderate depression.

If you contact your primary care physician for an evaluation and he or she gives you a diagnosis of depression and prescribes medication, you should know they tend to under medicate. General practice physicians are most often conservative when it comes to psychotropic and pain meds. Seeing a psychiatrist who is trained in these specialized medications is most often a better choice. Understand that medication does not heal depression, but helps relieve symptoms. Medication, when used, is only one spoke in the wheel of recovery, talk therapy is another. Together, they are most often the treatment of choice. Therefore, an important person to be added to your treatment team is a seasoned counselor or therapist who is trained in diagnosing and treating depression.

If you have experienced some depressive feelings for a period of at least two weeks or for a few days, three or more times a year, or experienced depression in childhood, it is important to your future health that you have an evaluation.

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