Depression Relationship Therapy
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Depression or Sadness

by Karen A. Solomon, LCSW, BCD, CGP, CHt

The word depression is used so frequently today, that many wonder what it is, who suffers from it and when is treatment advisable? Depression is an illness indicated by a number of symptoms including depressed mood, disturbed sleep, (too much or too little), poor or excessive appetite, low self esteem, feeling of guilt, inability to concentrate, inability to enjoy activities. At least five of these must be present and persist for at least two weeks to constitute depression.

Sadness is an emotional reaction to some external event, such as a death, significant loss or disappointment. Sadness, as opposed to depression, does not manifest in emotional attacks against the self, such as self loathing, but more as a state of sorrowfulness.

Our moods have a dramatic effect on our perception of problems and on our physical well being. When we are depressed, our immune systems are compromised, resulting in lowered resistance to illness as well as slower rebounding from stress. When those who are pessimistic and self critical by nature experience sadness, they are more likely to become depressed.

Depression often goes untreated because patients report physical symptoms, but fail to report their emotional state. Although it appears that women are more prone to depression, many believe men are less likely to acknowledge their suffering or to seek help. This is particularly dangerous since the link between emotional distress and illness has been established. Although family physicians are familiar with depression, some are quick to offer medication without fully exploring the patients= symptoms and or referring them to a mental health specialist. Medication is frequently part of treatment, however it may be insufficient. The most effective form of treatment is usually a combination of therapy and medication. Psychotherapy helps patients resolve emotional conflicts, explore perceptions and beliefs as well as providing understanding, compassion and education about the illness. Therapists may not prescribe medication; however, they are able to determine if medication is necessary make appropriate referrals.

Research shows that the better the working alliance between patient and therapist, the better the outcome. This refers to the compatibility between the two, which is evidenced by mutual respect, trust and agreement about goals and treatment methods. Within the first few sessions, patients can tell if they feel comfortable. A good fit is crucial to successful treatment.

Karen A. Solomon
Office : 631 - 543 - 2050

Commack, New York 11725

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