Depression Education and Awareness Month

Did you know that October is Depression Education and Awareness Month? Depression can be caused by numerous types of factors, including genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological, although not all factors need to be there in order to cause it. There is also evidence that shows that depression not only occurs in adults, but in children and adolescents as well.

There is plenty of information out there that is helpful when it comes to depression. For example, the UCLA Neuropsychiatric and Behavioral Services has a helpful checklist to understand if depression is what you might be experiencing. Read the checklist below. If you answer yes to seven out of the nine descriptions below then it might be time to seek a counselor and/or psychiatrist.

  • Depressive mood. Do you suffer from feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or pessimism for days at a time?
  • Sleep disturbance. Do you have trouble falling asleep at night or trouble staying asleep—waking up in the middle of the night or too early in the morning? Are you sleeping too much?
  • Chronically fatigued. Do you frequently feel tired or lack energy?
  • Isolation. Have you stopped meeting with family or friends? Increasing isolation and diminished interest or pleasure in activities are major signs of depression.
  • Appetite disturbance. Are you eating far less than usual—or far more? Severe and continuing appetite disturbance is often an indication of depression.
  • Inability to concentrate. If you can’t seem to focus on even routine tasks, it’s probably time to get some help.
  • Dependence on mood-altering substances. If you depend on alcohol or other drugs to make it through the day, you may be suffering from depression. Often, the substance abuse causes symptoms that mimic the appearance of clinical depression, but are, in fact, due wholly to the drug use.
  • Feeling a sense of inappropriate guilt
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide or a suicide attempt

Source: UCLA Neuropsychiatric and Behavioral Services

Depression can be an insidious experience that you don’t even realize is there until it’s there! Here are some helpful ways to begin taking care of your depression, in addition of course to seeing your primary physician, psychiatrist, and other tools of therapy.

Eat healthy

  • Get sufficient sleep – A good amount is 7 to 8 hours a night.
  • Have a routine – Sounds easy but it can be a challenge when you feel depressed.
  • Stay in touch – Reach out to a friend or a loved one. Those who love and care about you want to help. 
  • Decrease your alcohol intake – Although drinking is associated with “partying,” it is actually a depressant. Cutting back on drinking can help fight the blues.
  • Exercise – Whether it’s going for a bike ride or taking a yoga class, your body will appreciate the natural high you get just by moving.
  • Eat healthy – Look for colorful, natural foods like carrots, spinach, a nice salad, and other things that you know are helpful to your body.
  • Look for the joy and goodness in your day Find a joke online, watch a silly YouTube video, listen to a fun podcast, or play with your pet.
  • Take a deep breath – Just know you’ll get through this and it’s gonna be OK!

If you think you have depression, JFS counselors are here to help. Call 407-644-7593 to schedule an appointment today. Our Clinical Supervisor will personally place you with the counselor that is the best fit for you. Specializing in depression, stress, divorce, grief and more, our licensed clinical therapists can help you cope with major life problems, guide you through difficult life transitions or simply help you with day-to-day troubles. Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurances accepted.

Author: Carla Fischer, MA, LMHC, LMT

Carla Fischer has been a Mental Health Counselor for over 15 years. She received her training for Mental Health Counseling at Webster University in Central Florida. Carla has traveled extensively; through that experience she developed an understanding of culture and discovered that background shapes who we are and how we experience the world. Carla is bilingual, fluent in English and Spanish she also has a good control of the German Language. Carla approaches Mental Health Counseling therapy with an open heart and mind.  She is aware that the willingness to start opening up and dealing with emotions is the first step in finding solutions to whatever concerns the client. The use of body centering or emotional centered therapy has been an integral part of helping her clients find balance in their lives and work through some of the difficulties that they might face.