Depression is a very common mental disorder in the U.S. Research indicates that it is the result of a combination of factors, biological, genetic, environmental, and psychological.

 

The onset of depression may happen at any age, but most commonly in adulthood. Research has discovered, however, that it does occur in childhood and adolescence. In children and adolescents, irritability is a more common symptom than low mood or affect. Cases of high anxiety in children can mature into full scale depression in adulthood.

 

In mid-life or for older adults, depression may accompany such serious medical problems as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's Disease, and heart disease. Depression, further, is often a complicating issue, contributing adversely to the patient's condition. Some medications for medical problems may have depression as a side effect. Therefore, in seeking psychological help with problems of depression, it is necessary to inform the psychologists of the medications one is taking as that is important to the determination of treatment strategies.

 

There are generally three typical risk factors for depression:

 

1) Family history of depression

 

2) Circumstances of major life changes, such as stress or trauma

 

3) Physical illnesses and/or medications

 

Treatment and Therapies for Depression

 

Depression responds to treatment, even in severe cases. However, the earlier after the onset of signs and symptoms that treatment is initiated, the more effective the treatment is likely to be. Treatments focus on identifying the causes, ameliorating the effects of the causes, and the development of adaptive or coping strategies. However, since personalities and circumstances differ, there is no “standard” treatment, but treatment must be tailored to the specific patient and their situations and circumstances.

 

Treatment for major Depressive Disorder ranges from psychological counseling to a variety of more active psychological therapies. Individuals suffering from just a few of the symptoms, but the symptoms are particularly distressing, while not in full major Depressive Disorder, can also benefit from psychological counseling.