Understanding Depression

Depressive disorders affect nearly 19 million Americans yearly and are the leading cause of disability among people 15 to 44. They do not discriminate by age, race, religion, or socioeconomic background.

Major depressive disorder is the most common type of mental-health disorder among American adults. Other common types of depression include include dysthymia, a chronic, less severe form of major depression, and bipolar disorder, also called manic-depression.

A number of factors can contribute to the development of depression, including:

  • genetics,
  • biological changes in brain structure or function,
  • side effects of medications,
  • certain physical ailments,
  • overwhelming stress,
  • financial difficulties, and
  • serious loss.

Gender may also play a role in the development of depression. “Depressive disorders are diagnosed twice as frequently in women as in men, primarily due to hormonal changes accompanying menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause,” says Barbara Lankelis, LCSW, Christian Health Care Counseling Center (CHCCC) therapist. “Interestingly, however, more men are now seeking treatment for depression, primarily because of the struggles of life in our current economic climate.”

Symptoms of depressive disorders include:

  • a persistently sad and irritable mood,
  • diminished interest in activities which were once enjoyed,
  • significant weight loss without dieting,
  • insomnia,
  • fatigue,
  • lack of concentration,
  • indecisiveness, and
  • recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

Fortunately, depressive disorders are highly treatable. Treatment generally focuses on therapy and/or medication. Therapy may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to change negative thinking and behaviors; interpersonal therapy, which focuses on improving personal relationships; and family therapy, if issues exist with a person’s spouse or children. In the Ramapo Ridge Partial Program, group therapy is provided by an interdisciplinary team.

For more information about depression and treatment options at Christian Health Care Center, visit the Mental Health section of this website or call (201) 848-4463. 

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