- Have you lost interest in activities that you once enjoyed?
- Do you feel “blue,” sad, or unhappy more days than not?
- Has your appetite significantly changed recently?
- Do you feel hopeless about feeling better?
- Is it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get up in the morning?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be like millions of people who struggle with depression.
Most people feel anxious or depressed at times. Losing a loved one, getting fired from a job, going through a divorce, and other difficult situations can lead a person to feel sad, lonely, scared, nervous, or anxious. These feelings are normal reactions to life’s stressors. However, some people experience these feelings more days than not for no apparent reason, making it difficult to carry on with normal, everyday functioning. These people may come to accept that depression is their way of life and their daily activities will depend on whether “it’s a good day” or not.
Depression is a treatable illness (National Institute of Mental Health). Dr. Leavell will encourage you to first seek a physical exam from your physician to rule out other causes for your symptoms. Therapy is a key part of depression treatment for many people. For those with mild to moderate depression, it may work as well as an antidepressant. Research shows that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for depression is as effective as medication at treating depressive symptoms, with longer-term results. Some people may need medication to help with their symptoms, and Dr. Leavell is committed to working with your psychiatrist or physician to improve your symptoms and develop long-term skills.
Humans are hard-wired to be in relationship and emotional connection with others. When these relationships are unsatisfying, unhealthy, or otherwise absent, symptoms of depression can develop. Interpersonal Therapy is another common approach to treating depression, which helps people understand and work through troubled relationships that may cause their depression or make it worse. Early in therapy, Dr. Leavell will explore the important and meaningful relationships in your life to better understand your background and current life experience. Regaining and maintaining valuable and healthy connections with others can be both a part of therapy and a part of prevention.
If you have not tried therapy for your depression, consider contacting Dr. Leavell to get information about her treatment and approach to improving the lives of people with depression.