Everyday life guides all of us through a wide range of different emotions.  Sad, angry, scared, lonely, guilty or blah feelings are not automatically unusual or unhealthy.  Even when we experience especially difficult life experiences most of us will soon begin our healing and manage to continue living lives still able to find hope, joy and purpose.

Depression is an emotional problem that finds a person stuck living a life where for weeks or months at a time they feel persistently unhappy and they experience much less or no enjoyment in their usually enjoyable relationships and activities.   People with depression often find themselves unmotivated to get out of bed and face their day.  Pursuing their usual interests and responsibilities feels like a burden.  Other frequent symptoms of depression include noticeably less energy, poor concentration, tearfulness and changes in that person’s usual appetite and sleep patterns.

Depressive episodes are not necessarily caused by life situations and stresses.  Depressed people (or those who care for them) will often say that there is no reason for them to be depressed or will unsuccessfully try to talk themselves into being un-depressed.  This often causes confusion and guilt which compounds the depression.  The causes of depression are not fully understood but certainly genetic and biologic factors as well as developmental and life circumstance factors can all play roles in the development of depression.  The relationship between many medical problems and the development of depression is also becoming increasingly clear to doctors.  Heart disease, chronic pain, diabetes, hormone problems, arthritis, neurological and muscular problems can all worsen or be worsened by depression.

Depression can occur at any time in a person’s life, neither children nor the aged are immune. For most people who suffer from depression just experiencing one episode of depression during their lifetime is not the norm, depression is most often a reoccurring disease.  Standing in the face of all this bad news is the fact that depression can be treated!  Treatments for depression are many and include psychiatric medications, counseling, life changes (changes in relationships, employment, nutrition and exercise, to name a few) and treatment or better management of medical conditions.  The treatments for depression can be used alone or in a variety of combinations.

Dr. Harden is uniquely qualified to guide patients through the process of diagnosing depression, recognizing other possible psychiatric problems, searching for additional medical problems and offering and managing the possible treatments for depression which would be best for you.  Don’t stand by while depression robs you or someone you love of their life.  Scheduling a psychiatric evaluation with Dr. Harden could open the door for new joy and new hope.

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