Depression Counseling in Broken Arrow
Disclaimer: The article below is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as direct advice, a personal diagnosis, or as an individual treatment plan. Always consult with a mental health professional or medical doctor if you have concerns.
Introduction and Overview
Depression is one of the most common and recurrent disorders that affects people today. It affects a person’s physical, emotional, social and psychological well-being. People that suffer from depression experience a low mood, profound and persisting feelings of sadness or despair, decreased self-esteem and confidence, loss of interest in things that were pleasurable in the past, as well as appetite and sleep disturbance.
Unhappy feelings, sadness, and low spirit can be occasionally experienced by everybody without interfering with normal life. However, those feelings become signs of a depressive disorder when they dominate the person’s everyday life and cause physical and mental deterioration.
Depression can affect people of all ages, both men and women with an average onset age in the mid-20s.
Statistics show that among the general population, depression affects 10 to 20 percent of women and 5 to 12 percent of men. Among the adult population, depression affects 5 to 9 percent of women, and 2 to 3 percent of men. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 2.5 percent of children and 8.3 percent adolescents also suffer from depression. Unfortunately, a large portion of the population affected by depression remains undiagnosed and untreated.
The World Health Organization has ranked depression as one of the most disabling disorders in the world since depression can have a negative impact on one or both aspects of a person’s life: the intrapersonal level and the interpersonal level (family life, social life, work setting).
It is estimated that more than 340 million people worldwide and more than 18 million people in USA suffer from depression at any particular time. In addition to its prevalence, depression also has a high rate of recurrence. The recurrence rate may be associated with
- genetic vulnerability (depression disorders are more common among first-degree biological relatives of a person suffering of depression),
- early symptoms onset,
- poor diagnosis and treatment (there is a greater risk to develop additional episodes of depression and to continue the pattern of partial interepisode recovery in individuals with partial remission) and
- inadequate prevention.
Causes of Depression and Risk Factors
In the past, doctors believed depression was triggered by thoughts and emotions that trouble the person. However, recent studies have proven that the mechanisms that lead to depression are more complex. Even if today’s technology and knowledge allows us a better understanding, scientists are still unable to establish the exact causes that trigger depression. However, they are sure that a combination of several factors contributes to depression onset and evolution.
The Causes of Depression can be connected to a number of different factors which include:
Genetic Vulnerability: Clinical experience and trials have proven that depression runs in the family. However, genetic studies were recently able to establish that a person inherits a vulnerability to depression, but not the disorder. This means that a history of depressive disorders in the family increases the risk of developing depression. People with a family member suffering from depression are one-and-a-half to three times more likely to suffer from depression themselves than a member of the general population.
Chemical Changes in the Brain: Additional research indicates that depression can be caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters . Neurotransmitters are chemical substances used by the brain cells to communicate with one another. The two neurotransmitters with a major role in depression are: serotonin and norepinephrine.
A serotonin deficit can cause sleep problems, irritability, anxiety (associated with depression), while a norepinephrine deficit can cause fatigue and a low mood. However, the neurotransmitter deficit is not the only cause of the chemical imbalance.
One of the following situations can also play a major role in causing depression
- There are not enough receptor sites in the brain to receive neurotransmitters.
- The neurotransmitters boomerang back to their starting point before reaching the receptors.
- There is a deficit of chemicals that help in manufacturing neurotransmitters.
- The number of molecules that facilitate the neurotransmitter production is too small.
Medical studies also suggest that an important role in causing depression is played by a hormone called cortisol that is normally produced by the body in response to stress, fear, and anger. Usually, the level of cortisol varies during the day, being high in the morning and decreases during the day. In depressed people, this hormone is present in high amounts all day long. Researchers have also proven that the amount of cortisol increases in people that experience long-term stress.
Environmental Situations: Certain life situations can cause depression, such as:
- The loss of someone loved by physical separation or death.
- The loss of possessions, belongings and positions (divorce, retirement, or job loss).
- The loss of personal goals and dreams.
- Lack of social support.
Substance Abuse: People that drink alcohol, use illegal drugs or have a substance abuse problem can develop depression.
Lack of Exercise: There is a significant relationship between an inactive life style and depression. Physical activity changes the brain chemistry causing improvements in mild to moderate depression patients. Research has proven that regular physical exercise influences the level of serotonin (the neurotransmitter that plays an important role in depression) leading to improved moods and feelings of well-being.
Physical exercise burns the stress related chemicals (such as adrenaline) which helps the body to relax, increases the amount of endorphins, and boosts the body temperature which seems to help the body by influencing the brain chemicals. Exercising not only influences the brain chemistry, but also improves the person’s self-esteem, confidence, and can break down the pessimism because they are playing an active role in their recovery through positive and pleasant experiences.
Nutritional Deficiencies: Depression can be aggravated by nutritional deficiencies. The nutritional deficiencies include:
- Excessive consumption of sucrose (sugar): Excessive amounts of sugar or sweet foods can aggravate depression.
- Excessive amount of magnesium or vanadium.
- Amino acids imbalance: Certain amino acids have similar
properties with neurotransmitters, and play an important
role in treating depression. A deficiency of these amino
acids may lead to depression. They include:
(1) Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a natural anti-anxiety chemical, is present in low amounts in depressed people.
(2) L-tryptophan is a precursor to the serotonin synthesis that needs to be kept to a normal level in order to treat/prevent depression and maintain emotional balance.
(3) Tyrosine is a precursor of two neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and dopamine, both playing an important role in controlling the mood.
(4) DL-phenylalanine (DLPA or phenylalanine) is a precursor to the norepinephrine synthesis (neurotransmitters with an important role in depression). Norepinephrine controls the mood.
A study conducted on depressed patients showed rapid improvement in those who received a supplement of phenylalanine and vitamin B6.
Excessive consumption of caffeine: A high intake of caffeine has being strongly linked to depression. A study conducted on healthy college students showed that moderate to high coffee drinkers obtained higher scores on a depression scale than those with a low coffee intake. Other studies have showed that depressed patients tend to drink higher amounts of coffee (more than 700mg per day).
Deficiencies of folic acid, vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, or biotin.
Medical Disorders: People that suffer from medical disorders (such as diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease, hormonal disorders, lung disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, temporal lope epilepsy, systemic lupus erythematosus, AIDS, influenza, mononucleosis, syphilis -late stage, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, viral pneumonia, Candida, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, fibromyalgia, hypoglycemia) and psychological disorders (such as anxiety disorders, phobias) also experience depression.
1). Diabetes and Depression
- People that suffer from adult onset diabetes have a 25 percent higher risk for depression.
- Seventy percent of the patients that suffer diabetic complications suffer from depression.
2). Heart Diseases and Depression
- Forty to 65 percent of the patients that have experienced a heart attack suffer from depression.
- Clinically depressed patients that have suffered a heart attack have a three to four times greater risk to die within the next six months.
- Eighteen to 20 percent of the patients that suffer from coronary heart diseases, but did not experience a heart attack, suffer from depression.
3). Stroke and Depression
- Ten to 27 percent of patients that have experienced a stroke suffer from depression for at least one year after.
- Fifteen to 40 percent of stroke survivors experience depression symptoms within the next two months that follows the stroke.
4). Cancer and Depression
- One in four patients that suffer from cancer experience clinical depression (depression is not a side effect of the cancer treatment and it is not caused by the disease itself).
General Symptoms of Depression
The most common symptoms of depression include:
1. Depressed Moods:
- Hopelessness and sadness feelings.
- Feeling discouraged or empty.
2. Loss of Interest:
- Inability to feel or experience pleasure.
- The person loses interest in things that were pleasurable in the past such as social activities or interaction, sex, hobbies.
3. Appetite or Weight Changes:
- Significant weight gain or loss.
- Lack or excessive appetite.
4. Sleep Changes:
- Hypersomnia (the person sleeps excessively).
5. Fatigue or Lack of Energy:
6. Psychomotor Retardation or Agitation:
- Unable to sit still.
- Slow speech.
- Slow body movement.
- Lack of responsiveness.
7. Concentration Problems:
- Inability to focus.
- Difficulties making decisions.
- Memory problems.
- Frustration over small, insignificant things.
- Easily annoyed.
- Angry outbursts.
- Worthless and guilt feelings.
- Critical attitude toward previous falls and mistakes.
10. Aches and Pains:
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- Abdominal pain.
- Joint pain.
Are you suffering from depression? Contact Tulsa Therapist Alina Morrow, LPC-S, CAMS, GC, CCTP, today to make an appointment and get the help and relief you deserve. You can reach me by texting or calling 918-403-8873 or by Email.
Page Last Updated: June 6, 2021