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Untreated Depression & Quality of Life

The holidays are over and winter is here.  While many people enjoyed the holidays and look forward to winter activities, for those who experience depression, this time of year can be particularly difficult.  Shorter days with less sunlight and cold temperatures can feel especially dark, dreary and hopeless for someone who is depressed.  The multiple manifestations of depression can include physical, emotional, cognitive, and motivational symptoms.  For example, some people experience sleep disruption, changes in appetite, fatigue, and loss of sexual desire.  Individuals with depression may also experience crying spells, loss of pleasure, loss of gratification, and loss of attachment to others.  Feeling sad, anxious, or irritable is often accompanied by negative self evaluation, decreased concentration, indecisiveness, and loss of motivation.  In severe states of depression, the avoidant, escapist and withdrawal wishes may include thoughts of suicide.Dr. Aaron Beck coined the phrase, “Cognitive Triad of Depression” which presents as the negative view of oneself, the world, and one’s future to describe the negative self-talk, negative expectations, and feelings of hopelessness experienced by someone with untreated depression.  If you or someone you love or care about is experiencing untreated depression, the quality of your relationship may be reduced by the inability to experience pleasurable events or interactions.  In addition, there may be adverse impacts to relationships associated with the chronic nature of someone’s dejected mood state, such as increased arguments, dependency, and social isolation.  Children and adolescents with depression may present with increased physical complaints, while aggressive and disruptive behavior in adolescent males has been associated with depression, making it difficult to recognize.

Considering the tremendous loss of quality of life, along with the life-threatening aspect of untreated depression that is accompanied by suicidal wishes, depression screening may be a necessary first step for you or your loved one.  Depression is a highly treatable disorder with positive treatment outcomes using research supported therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or, in combination with medication management, for certain individuals.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is a talk therapy which is focused on the interplay among one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  For more information concerning depression screening or to seek treatment, you may contact us at 610-873-4748 or your primary care physician to obtain a referral.

Eileen Lightner , Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lightner call 610-873-4748.

 

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