Depression is a common illness worldwide, and affects abouts 20 million people in the U.S. alone. Symptoms of major depression can include:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping less or more than usual)
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness

Although people often think of depression as a singular thing, there are a number of types of depression, including, but not limited to:

Major Depressive Disorder is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, connect with others, or enjoy the things that used to bring pleasure to them.

Dysthymia is characterized by less severe but more persistent symptoms that occur continuously for two or more years. People with dysthymia may also experience major depression during their lifetime.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is characterized by a new mother developing major depression within one month of delivery. PPD occurs in as many as 10 -15 percent of women after giving birth.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is characterized by depression that is seasonal, occurring in the winter months when there is less natural sunlight. The depression usually lifts during spring and summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half benefit from additional types of therapy.

Bipolar Disorder is characterized by intense mood swings from overly “high” and/or irritable (lasting for several days at a time) to sad and hopeless, often with periods of normal mood in between. These changes in mood are often accompanied by sharp changes in energy level, decision-making, and behavior.

Therapy for depression

Extensive research has shown that CBT is an effective treatment for depression. At the heart of CBT is the idea that your feelings and mood are directly related to your patterns of thought and behavior. All human beings tend to think through certain lenses, filtering out a good deal of information and attending to only a fraction of their experience. This tendency becomes particularly heightened when we’re feeling down or depressed. For example, we may blame ourselves for all negative outcomes, and yet not take any credit for positive outcomes. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to help you learn to recognize unhelpful patterns of thought, evaluate their validity, and engage in alternative and healthier ways of thinking about things. When patterns of thought and behavior are changed, so does mood.

If you are interested in finding out more about Dr. Jocelyn Sze’s therapy services for depression in San Francisco, please click here to schedule an appointment or free phone consultation.