Depression
"I just don't enjoy anything anymore."
Prevalence
Symptoms
Treatment Outcome
Treatment Description
Bipolar Disorder
FAQs
Prevalence
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects approximately 1 in 5 Americans at some point in their lives.  It has been called the "common cold" of emotional difficulties because it touches so many lives.  In addition to the 20% of Americans who will experience major depression, millions more struggle with less intense depressive symptoms on an on-going basis, but do not qualify for MDD.
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Symptoms
Depression is marked by feeling depressed, down, or “blah” most of the day, every day for 14 consecutive days;  and/or feeling a lack of interest and pleasure in normal activities most of the day, every day for 14 consecutive days; plus four or more of the following symptoms- weight loss or gain, sleeping too much or too little, feeling either very restless and agitated or slowed down, fatigue, diminished ability to think or concentrate, feelings of guilt, self-criticism, feelings of failure, and thoughts that life isn’t worth living or even thoughts of death.  

In MDD these symptoms are severe enough to cause significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning.  Millions of other Americans experience these symptoms with less severity than in full-blown major depressive disorder, yet in a manner that has a profound negative impact on their lives.  These individuals can also be helped tremendously through cognitive behavioral therapy.

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Treatment Outcome
Dr. Edwards’ work with individuals with recurrent major depression is effective about 70% of the time without medication.  About 30% of the time a combination of cognitive therapy and medication is required in order to treat depression.  Thus, with a skilled cognitive behavioral therapist like Dr. Edwards, the odds are very good that one can improve significantly without medication. 
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Treatment Description
CBT can effectively treat depression in about 20 sessions.  Dr. Edwards and clients work together to eliminate the symptoms of depression and to understand the cause of depression.  As a result, the client acquires skills to address the symptoms of depression and the insight to prevent relapse.  CBT empowers the individual to take charge of their mood and their life.  (For a description of CBT, see the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy page.)

It is estimated that depression costs employers in the United States $31 billion dollars ($31,000,000,000) a year in lost productivity.  If you have experienced depression personally, this statistic will not surprise you.  When depressed, an individual is far less productive and effective.  The cost of 20 sessions of therapy can be quickly recovered in better job performance and increased life satisfaction.

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Bipolar Disorder

Another type of depression is called bipolar disorder or manic-depression.  Bipolar refers to the fact that people with this type of depression experience the lows of depression and the highs of mania.  The ups and the downs represent the two (bi) poles of this mood disorder. 

A manic episode is defined (DSM-IV) as a distinct period of abnormally elevated and expansive mood lasting at least one week.  During the period of elevated mood at least three of the following symptoms must be present to a significant degree:


» Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
» Decreased need for sleep (feeling rested after 3 hours)
» More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
» A continuous flow of ideas with abrupt changes from topic to topic
» Distractibility
» Increase in goal-oriented activity (related to work, school, social or sexual activities)
» Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, foolish business investments)

Bipolar disorder is sometimes very difficult to diagnose.  A person might experience a single manic episode and no major depressive episodes.  Or, a person with a major depressive episode may actually qualify for bipolar disorder because he had a manic episode in the past. 

An accurate diagnosis is important because bipolar disorder is different from Major Depressive Disorder.  Bipolar disorder is much more heritable than regular depression.  If one identical twin has bipolar disorder, there is a 72% chance the other twin has it also. Bipolar disorder is responsive to the drug lithium carbonate.  In more than 80% of the cases of bipolar disorder, lithium will relieve the mania to a significant degree and the depression to a lesser degree.  Additionally, there are other medications that are effective in treating bipolar disorder.  CBT can help a person with bipolar disorder manage their moods.

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