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Depression Therapy in Halifax: A Psychologist for Depression

Depression is a common mental health disorder and mental health crisis that affects millions of people worldwide. In Canada alone, 8% of adults will experience depression at some point in their lives. It can have a profound impact on an individual's daily life, making it difficult to maintain relationships by creating relationship challenges and relationship issues, work, and even engage in everyday activities.

Dr. S. Gerald Hann Psychological Services provides a beacon of light, offering hope to people grappling with mental health issues like depression. Our therapy for depression in Halifax and the surrounding areas focuses on providing our patients with the tools to overcome their struggles and live a fulfilling life. We offer a safe space for individuals to express their thoughts and feelings, without fear of judgment.

What Is Depression?

Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a serious mental health concern characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and difficulty carrying out daily tasks. It can influence an individual's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors leading to both emotional issues and physical problems.

Depression is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch; it's a mental health condition that requires understanding and medical care. Left untreated, depression can be devastating for those who have it and their families.

What Causes Depression?


Depression is not caused by a single factor but rather a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological elements. Here are some of the most commonly identified causes:

  • Faulty Mood Regulation by the Brain. Studies suggest that depression could be linked to certain changes in the brain's structure or chemistry, including the dysregulation of neurotransmitters – chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells.

  • Genetic Vulnerability. Depression tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. However, not everyone with a genetic predisposition develops depression, indicating that other factors also play a role.

  • Stressful Life Events. Events such as bereavement, divorce, illness, job or money worries can trigger depression in some people. Chronic stress can also lead to changes in the brain that increase the risk of depression.

  • Childhood Experiences/Trauma. Traumatic childhood experiences, such as physical or emotional abuse, neglect or loss of a parent, can make a person more vulnerable to depression later in life.

  • Styles of Thinking. Certain thinking styles, such as a tendency to worry excessively, a focus on negatives or a harsh self-criticism, have been associated with a higher risk of developing depression.

  • Other Mental Health Problems. Conditions like anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and (particularly) post-traumatic stress disorder can increase the risk of developing depression.

  • Physical Health Problems. Some medical conditions, such as chronic pain, heart disease, or cancer, can increase the risk of developing depression. 

Key Symptoms of Depression


Depression can manifest in various ways, and experiencing any of these symptoms for at least two weeks could be an indication of this condition. It's essential to understand while these are common symptoms, depression can present differently in each individual depending on their circumstances and mental health history.

  • Persistent Feelings of Worthlessness. This involves a constant harsh self-critical view and belief that one is not valuable or good. It can significantly affect self-esteem and cause individuals to feel undervalued or useless.

  • Loss of Energy and Overwhelming Fatigue. Depression often leads to physical exhaustion and lack of energy, even with adequate sleep. This debilitating fatigue can negatively impact daily life, hindering the ability to fulfill essential personal and professional responsibilities.

  • Changes in Weight and Appetite. Depression can often lead to either a significant loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss or an increase in cravings, particularly for carbohydrate-rich foods, leading to weight gain. These changes are not intentional or a result of a diet but rather are a physical manifestation of the mental illness.

  • Overwhelming Anxiety and Emotional Reactions to Daily Challenges. Feeling intensely anxious or having extreme emotional reactions to minor stressors is commonplace in people with depression. They might respond excessively to situations due to heightened sensitivity or have intense feelings of impending doom.

  • Sleep Disorders. Many people with depression experience insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping). Sleep disorders are considered core symptoms of depression.

  • Difficulty Thinking or Concentrating. Those suffering from depression may find it challenging to concentrate, remember details or make decisions

Services

Treatment Approaches to Depression


There's a wide range of therapeutic approaches available for depression, and it's important to find the right one that works for you. Here are some of the most common types of treatments used for depression:

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps patients understand their thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. It aims to change thought patterns that lead to harmful actions or negative feelings and is commonly used to treat depression.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

IPT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on improving problems in personal relationships and other life changes that may be contributing to depressive symptoms.

 

Psychodynamic Therapy

This approach is based on the idea that our behavior and feelings are powerfully affected by unconscious motives. The goal of psychodynamic therapy is to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness, helping individuals understand their depression and manage it effectively.

Medication

Antidepressants are often used in treating depression. These medications can help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT is a procedure, done under general anesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure.

 

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression.

Self-help and Coping

There are several things people can do to help reduce the symptoms of depression. For many people, regular exercise helps create positive feelings and improves mood. Getting enough quality sleep regularly, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol (a depressant) can also help reduce symptoms of depression.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

VNS is a type of therapy used mainly for serious or treatment-resistant depression. It involves sending regular, mild pulses of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve, which is a large nerve in the neck.

What Can You Expect From Our Depression Treatment Halifax Team

At our clinic, we have a dedicated team of professionals with expertise in treating depression. We understand that every person is unique and needs an individualized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs.

Here's what you can expect from the depression therapy process:

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Step 1: Assessment

One of our therapists will conduct a thorough assessment to gather information about your medical history, mental health symptoms and current lifestyle.

 

This helps us understand your specific needs and determine the best treatment approach for you.

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Step 2: Treatment Planning

Based on the assessment, we will develop a personalized treatment plan that may include therapy, medication or a combination of both.

 

We will also discuss the treatment goals and expectations with you.

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Step 3: Therapy Sessions

Our therapists use evidence-based techniques to help clients manage their depression, such as CBT, IPT or psychodynamic therapy. We provide a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to express themselves and work through their difficult emotions. The number of sessions we require for treating depression can vary significantly based on the type of therapy, the severity of the depression, and individual patient factors. For instance, in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a typical course may range from 12 to 20 sessions. However, these are just general guidelines, and the actual number of sessions may vary based on individual therap needs.

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Step 6: Support Beyond Therapy

We understand that managing depression can be a long-term process, and our support doesn't end with therapy sessions. Our team provides resources and tools for clients to use outside of therapy, such as self-help techniques and coping strategies.

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Step 5: Collaborative Approach

Our team works closely together, regularly communicating and collaborating to ensure that our clients receive comprehensive and effective treatment for their depression. We also encourage open communication with our clients, involving them in every step of their treatment journey.

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Step 6: Support Beyond Therapy

 

We understand that managing depression can be a long-term process, and our support doesn't end with therapy sessions. Our team provides resources and tools for clients to use outside of therapy, such as self-help techniques and coping strategies.

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How Can Depression Be Prevented?

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We work with our clients to create lasting change.
  • There is no sure way to prevent depression, but the following may help:

  • Regular Exercise. Regular physical activity can increase the production of endorphins, known as "feel-good" hormones, which can help in managing depression. Regular exercise can also improve self-confidence encourage social interaction and reduce social anxiety.

  • Healthy Diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can contribute to better mental health. Some studies suggest that certain dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, may help prevent depression.

  • Adequate Sleep. Poor sleep or lack of sleep can contribute to depression. It's essential to establish regular sleep patterns and ensure you get enough rest.

  • Stress Management. Chronic stress is a significant risk factor for depression. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help manage stress levels.

  • Avoid Alcohol and Drugs. Both substances can increase the risk of depression and make it harder for the body to respond to treatment.

  • Regular Check-Ups. Routine medical check-ups can help identify underlying health problems that might contribute to clinical depression.

  • Social Connection. Maintaining strong relationships with family and friends and being part of a community can provide emotional support and reduce feelings of isolation, a key risk factor for depression.

  • Mental Health Education. Understanding depression and depressed mood, its symptoms, and risk factors can help individuals seek help early and implement preventive strategies. Educating others about depression can help reduce stigma and encourage those affected to seek support.

Change Your Story: Call Us Now for Depression Therapy in Halifax

As a trusted depression therapist Halifax patients can rely on, the primary focus of Dr. S. Gerald Hann Psychological Services is to help clients regain a sense of control of their lives, improve their coping skills, and achieve better mental health. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, we are here to support you on your journey toward recovery.

We understand the toll that depression can take on a person's life and the importance of finding effective treatment for depression. Effective treatment strategies and treatment options, a comforting environment, experienced professionals and flexible therapeutic options form the core of the depression therapy we offer. —Our mission is to help you navigate through life's challenges and mental health challenges with improved mental resilience.

Transform your journey from despair and feelings of hopelessness to hope with positive life transition, from disease to wellness, and from feelings of worthlessness to a celebration of self-worth. Reach out today and take a firm step towards better mental health and improved quality of life.

Call us today to schedule an appointment!

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dr.han

Contact

Dr. S. Gerald Hann

Halifax Professional Centre

5991 Spring Garden Road, Suite 585

Halifax, Nova Scotia

B3H 1Y6

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