Depression

Tamara Maher, DO -  - Family Medicine Physician

Maher Family Practice

Tamara Maher, DO

Family Medicine Physician located in Los Alamitos, CA

Depression is an illness that affects around one in ten Americans and can have severe, devastating impacts on your life. If you find yourself feeling constantly low, sad, weepy, hopeless, or you’ve been thinking about suicide, Tamara Maher, DO, at Maher Family Practice in Los Alamitos, California, provides sensitive, caring medical treatment and emotional support. Don’t struggle alone with depression — call the practice today, or book an appointment online.

Depression Q & A

What is depression?

Depression is a debilitating illness that impacts people of all ages from every walk of life. Feeling low or sad at times is perfectly normal, especially if you’re experiencing problems in your life or after a major event such as a bereavement, but these feelings shouldn’t become a permanent state of mind. If you do find yourself overwhelmed by intense negative emotions, you may be experiencing depression.

How do I know whether it’s depression or if I’m just feeling down?

Doctors can’t diagnose depression with tests like blood work, but there are some common themes that most people with depression experience. When you visit Dr. Maher, she’ll talk to you about the way you feel and compare your symptoms to the criteria in place for a diagnosis of depression. These symptoms are:

  • Feeling depressed all day
  • Feeling tired and lacking energy
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Experiencing memory problems
  • Finding it hard to sleep, or wanting to sleep too much
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Loss of pleasure in the activities you normally enjoy
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

For Dr. Maher to diagnose clinical depression, you’d have experienced at least five of these symptoms daily for two weeks or longer.

What causes depression?

There’s no single, definable cause for developing depression, but there may be contributing factors such as:

  • Bereavement
  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Major life events like divorce
  • Chronic stress
  • Other health problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Social isolation
  • Some medications

If you know that other members of your family suffer from depression, you may be more likely to develop the condition too. The genetic links to depression aren’t clear cut, so there’s no identifiable gene responsible for causing depression. However, it’s likely that some people have a genetic predisposition to developing depression.

In many cases, depression sets in without any trigger that you can think of, or it can happen even when you’ve experienced a positive event such as marriage or graduation.

Can depression be treated?

Dr. Maher has a range of treatment approaches that can help you with depression. Antidepressant medications can rebalance chemicals in the brain that are linked to depression including serotonin and norepinephrine, so these may be helpful for certain patients. Talking therapies and lifestyle changes also play a key role in recovery from depression.

If you feel low and can’t shake it off, call Maher Family Practice as soon as possible so you can start on a treatment program and regain your health. Dr. Maher is an expert in treating depression and has many years of experience helping people regain their health, so call the practice today, or book an appointment online.