Anxiety & Depression



"I came to Dr. O'Brien feeling like a very small, unintelligent, weak person after suffering 20+ years of verbal and emotional abuse from my father. I have also suffered from depression for 15+ years. Dr. O'Brien helped me see that the things that my father said to me are not true. She has shown me just how strong I am (emotionally). She has a way of drawing things out of me, in a very comforting, understanding and non-judgmental way, and helping me analyze them even when it is difficult or painful to do so. I have learned, with Dr. O'Brien’s help that I am very strong, intelligent and can be successful in my life. Thank You Dr. O'Brien" - A Patient

Causes and Symptoms of Depression

Although no single cause of depression has been identified, it appears that interaction among genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychosocial factors may play a role. The fact is, depression is not a personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away, but it can be successfully treated.

  • Genetics: The tendency for depression can be inherited.
  • Life Stresses: Interpersonal conflicts, recent loss of loved one, medical illnesses or recent surgery, family relations.
  • Chemical Imbalances: Some may have an imbalance of mood-influencing chemical in the brain. Medication in addition to therapy is suggested in such cases.

Stress & Anxiety: Events such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the end of a relationship are often negative and traumatic and cause great stress for many people. Stress can also occur as the result of a more positive event such as getting married, moving to a new city, or starting a new job. It is not uncommon for either positive or negative events to become a crisis that precedes the development of clinical depression.

Obesity: Researchers have found new evidence that people who are obese may be more likely to become depressed and vice versa. In a review of other studies, investigators found that obese people may be more likely to become depressed because they experience poor health and are dissatisfied with their appearance. Also, researcher found that depressed people may be more likely to become obese because of hormone and immune system changes that are triggered by depression.

Chronic or Terminal Illness: It is estimated that up to one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition experience symptoms of depression. People diagnosed with chronic illnesses must adjust to the demands of the illness as well as to its treatment.

Poor Health: Depression has a greater impact on overall health than arthritis, diabetes, angina, and asthma, but it all too often goes unrecognized and untreated. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests, based on interviews with almost 250,000 people in 60 countries, researchers found depression to be a greater predictor of poor health in patients with these chronic conditions than having one or more chronic medical conditions without depression.

Diabetes: The rate of depression in people with diabetes is much higher than in the general population. Previous studies have shown individuals who are insulin-resistant may have higher serotonin concentrations and may be more prone to depression and even suicide.

Recent Death: Grieving is a personal journey that each individual approaches in their own unique way. Nothing is concrete, nothing is set in stone. There are many paths one can take on this journey but all lead to the same destination; healing. However, depression is a stage within a process that each individual is most likely to encounter along the way.

Emotional Symptoms:

  • Feeling empty or sad
  • Being angry or irritable
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Loss of interest of pleasure in activities
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

Physical Symptoms:

  • Change in body mass (weight loss/weight gain)
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Lack of energy
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Being restless or slowed down




verified by Psychology Today
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