Recognizing and Responding to Toxic People and Behaviors | 2023 Update

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Qualified Clinical Supervisor. She received her PhD in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Florida in 2002. In addition to being a practicing clinician, she has provided training to counselors, social workers, nurses and case managers internationally since 2006 through .com

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Depression – Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Depression is a serious mood disorder that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms may last for weeks or months, sometimes years. Early treatment is important for preventing relapses and promoting recovery.

Having depression is not a weakness or a character flaw, but a brain chemical imbalance that needs to be treated.

It affects how you feel and think, and can impact your everyday life and relationships. It can also be a warning sign of other health conditions or disorders.

Most people who have depression recover after receiving treatment. The risk of relapse is higher for those who have had depression for several years or who have other medical conditions that make it harder to take antidepressants.

About 5% of people who receive medication for depression do not respond well to the drug. If you have been taking an antidepressant for a while and don’t see improvement, ask your doctor to refer you to a psychiatrist.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Depression is diagnosed by a mental health professional who looks at a patient’s medical history, physical symptoms, and emotional problems. In some cases, a test is done to rule out other conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but they generally include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness that interfere with daily life. They can lead to poor appetite, loss of sleep, and difficulty concentrating. Often, they occur for more than two weeks and are worse at certain times of the day.

Depressed children and teens can be more irritable, have less school performance, and act out in negative ways. They may have thoughts of suicide or self-harm and avoid social contact.

Lifestyle changes and counseling can also help with depression. These include getting quality sleep, avoiding alcohol or drugs that can make you feel depressed, and doing things that make you happy.

Exercise, meditation, and stress reduction practices can also be helpful. Try to do some of these every day.

Psychotherapy (talk therapy) can be a very helpful way to work through feelings of depression and get back to your normal self. These sessions can be one-to-one or group, depending on your preferences and the therapist’s qualifications.

In addition, some therapists are trained to work with patients who have substance use disorder or anxiety. These therapists have training and experience in helping people manage their medications, and may use behavioral techniques to address problems with self-esteem or relationship issues.

If you are a teen or young adult with depression, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. You can call your local crisis hotline to talk with a trained counselor 24 hours a day.

Treatment for depression can involve medication, a combination of medication and psychotherapy, or another type of treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy. The combination of treatment options can have the most success.

Medication is the most common form of treatment for depression, with the most popular classes being selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants.

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