Mental Health Problems
Many people may get the ‘blues” when dealing with life’s normal challenges and stresses. If you have the blues, you may feel sad and have less energy for awhile, but you can manage the situation and recover without treatment. In contrast, clinical depression lasts more than 2 weeks and affects your ability to function normally, work and have satisfying personal relationships.
When you are depressed, you may feel sad, anxious, guilty, helpless or hopeless, and experience mood swings. You may be worried, pessimistic, have impaired memory or concentration, and have thoughts of death or suicide. You may have crying spells, withdraw from others, and lose interest in your appearance. You may also have changes in your eating and sleeping habits.
Children can also experience depression but often have different symptoms than adults. They may be angry, aggressive or demonstrate other behavior problems at home or at school. They may also experience thoughts of hurting themselves or others. They may have significant changes in their social functioning or have changes in their school performance and grades.
Depression is believed to result from a biochemical imbalance and is not a sign of a character weakness.
Do You Have Depression Symptoms?
Signs You Need Help
If you are clinically depressed (have major depression) you would experience at least five or more of the following symptoms during the same two-week period. If you can answer "yes" to five or more symptoms, you are urged to seek professional help.
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day (In children or adolescents, this can be an irritable mood.)
- Reduced interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, or weight gain (change of more than 5 percent of body weight in a month, OR decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day (In children, this can be failure to make expected weight gains.)
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (too little or too much sleep) nearly every day
- Physical agitation or lack of physical activity nearly every day ( observable by others)
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive inappropriate guilt nearly every day ( this is more than self-reproach or guilt about being sick)
- Reduced ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others.)
- Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying); thinking about suicide (link here to suicide prevention section...) without a specific plan; a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
----From Diagnostic Criteria, DSM-IV, American Psychiatric Association
For more information on C4 services, or to set up an appointment, call 773.769.0205.
If you are feeling actively suicidal or homicidal, please go to your nearest Emergency Room for an evaluation.
C4 counselors offer therapy and support, and can help you develop new skills to manage your depression. They will listen in an emotionally supportive and non-judgmental way, respect your confidentiality, and assist you in making the changes that you want. Counseling sessions help you sort out and prioritize your problems, resolve conflict with others, deal with grief, trauma or changes in your relationships, and improve communication in relationships. When you have experienced trauma, assault or violence, group-counseling ─ talking with others who have had a similar experience ─ may be helpful.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), based on the concept that our thoughts affect the way we feel, and that some thought patterns we have are not always helpful, may be useful. Art or expressive therapy may also be helpful.
When appropriate, a psychiatrist will provide further evaluation and determine if medication might be beneficial and will prescribe and monitor its use.
For more information on C4 services or to set up an appointment, call 773.769.0205.