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    Addressing the Depression Epidemic

    Addressing the Depression Epidemic

    We live in a society where the opportunities for a vibrant, fulfilling life have never been greater. We have more, we understand more, and we control more than ever before. Our choices are staggering. It would seem our reasons for optimism are vast. Yet research indicates that almost 20 percent of Americans—two people out of every ten—suffer from depression, many without realizing it. The World Health Organization estimates that by the year 2020, depression will become the number-two debilitating disease worldwide, second only to heart disease. Traditional approaches obviously are not working for many people.

    Depression is as individual as the person suffering from it, but it does have some familiar faces. Depression shows itself through a prolonged period of sadness or anxiety. It leaches interest or pleasure out of activities that would normally be enjoyable. Depression alters appetite and sleep patterns. It promotes feelings of guilt, shame, and hopelessness. Depression interferes with the ability to make decisions, concentrate, remember things, and focus. It steadily strangles the will to act, producing either a frantic, anxious state or an apathetic lethargy. Depression may lead to recurrent thoughts of suicide and death.

    Years ago, depression was considered a weakness, suffered by weak people. This chauvinistic, repressive attitude toward depression and its sufferers has been changing, allowing the depressed to come out from under the cloak of shame and seek help for their illness. At our counseling center, we have found that about 90 percent of our clients experience long-term recovery through the whole-person approach. Over the past twenty years of working with depression recovery, we have developed the keys to unlock the secrets of why people get depressed.

    Clients come to our clinic with concerns about anxiety, hopelessness, and feelings of being overwhelmed or increasingly isolated. They do not use the term depression to explain their concerns. Either they are fearful of any lingering stigma, or they simply have been unable to place a label on their nameless dread. Some are at the point of suicide, without knowing why they feel that’s the only way to end the pain.

    Others come to our clinic with difficulties in relationships—they have become moody, irritable, isolated from loved ones, and sometimes even abusive. Clients are concerned about their inability to concentrate at work or a lack of productivity that threatens their employment. Sometimes it is not the depressed person who makes contact with us; it is a loved one who is concerned about that person’s behavior. They are concerned about the withdrawal they see or the risky, thrill-seeking behaviors some depressed people will use to try to jolt themselves out of their depression. People have been willing to give up established relationships, jobs, and physical locations as a way to separate themselves from their depression, not realizing that the depression will follow them wherever they go.

    For some, our clinic is not their first stop. They’ve gone to their family physician with complaints of vague, chronic physical ailments. They hurt here or there. They may be unable to sleep, or they sleep too much. Some are losing too much weight or gaining too much weight. Blood scans, lab work, and physical exams provide no definitive answers. Many times, they leave their doctor’s office with a prescription for an antidepressant. Some are given a recommendation from their doctor to see a therapist. Occasionally, people will come to our clinic after failed attempts to self-medicate through alcohol or drug use.

    However people come to us, often they have already tried several methods that failed to rid them of depression. Their families have little empathy for their behavior and the apparent lack of results. Those who attempt self-medication through substance abuse often have fractured relationships, which have left them even more isolated than before. These people are demoralized, confused, and held captive by the debilitating effects of depression, caught in a vicious cycle. They want help. They want answers.

    At The Center • A Place of HOPE, we look at each individual’s emotional, environmental, relational, physical, and spiritual history and health. Together, these elements provide keys to understanding why a person is depressed and open a doorway to his or her recovery. Whole-person care is the foundation of our practice. If you or a loved one are suffering from depression and are ready to find true recovery and joy, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today.



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