Clinical Depression

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“Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul…”
-Emily Dickinson

Clinical Depression or “The Blues”?

Many of us experience down moments in our lives for various reasons and the vast majority of us bounce back on our own with a slight adjustment in thinking, a good workout or a little encouragement from a spouse, partner or friend. However, 16-35 percent of women and 10-20 percent of men will suffer from some form of clinical depression in their lifetime. Folks who suffer from various forms of clinical depression have much more difficulty bouncing back, are vulnerable to relapse and may need help in making changes that can alter brain chemistry and unproductive patterns.

Clinical Depression

Clinical depression can be categorized from mild to severe, episodic to chronic, but anyone who has experienced prolonged or even shorter episodes knows how painful and restrictive it can be. Life becomes difficult and overwhelming. It may be hard to force oneself out of bed. Activities that were previously fun no longer hold interest. Lack of energy is reported, insomnia or difficult sleep may occur, loss of appetite or unbounded desire for comfort food may develop, and a pervasive sense of guilt or hopelessness may color one’s world. Symptoms may be experienced as physical aches and pains or extreme fatigue, and in some severe cases, a person might have recurrent suicidal thoughts and plans. Depending upon the severity, a person may not be able to adequately function at work or in the family which often increases the individual’s sense of worthlessness.


Depressive patterns can run in families and can have biological, hormonal and learned aspects. They can also occur along with substance abuse or result from prescription drug interactions or a medical condition. Additionally, severe stress or change in circumstances, including prolonged unemployment, loss of a spouse or loved one and divorce, can trigger or magnify periods of depression. It is also important to evaluate for bipolar depression and to distinguish clinical depression from the grieving process. Therapists also need to rule out medication glitches and the complications of chemical dependency as culprits in the mood changes.

Treatment Approaches: The Good News

With the development of some newer therapies, it is unnecessary to continue suffering. EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) and other strength based therapies such as AEDP that focus on reclaiming resilience and undoing isolation are very valuable. Dissolving barriers to effective relationship connection help to decrease a person’s sense of hopeless, and increase agency and self-acceptance.

In mild to moderate depression, the use of cognitive behavioral techniques(CBT) that focuses on rooting out unhelpful and negative beliefs about oneself, others and the world and substituting more realistic and useful strategies can be effective in altering conditioned beliefs, improving outlook and modifying long established self-defeating patterns.When both both of these approaches are supplemented with life style changes including a targeted increase in physical activity as well as support system improvement, the combination can better self-esteem, increase a person’s natural resilience and alter brain chemistry in positive directions.

In the case of severe depression, medication is likely merited and can be used in conjunction with these techniques.

Basic Depression Screening Test (CES-D)

If you would like to take a basic depression screening test, (CES-D), the tool is available in the Forms Section of this website.

This test is meant as a preliminary screening device and cannot provide a definitive diagnosis of your condition. It is important to have a thorough assessment with a trained professional in order to arrive at an appropriate treatment plan.

Basic Depression Screening Test (CES-D)