Barbara E. Kaplan, MHDL

Counseling for Individuals, Couples, Partners, Marriages, Families


"At times, I feel overwhelmed and my depression leads me into darkness."

                                –  Dorothy Hamill (Olympic Gold Medalist)


“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. . . . It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope.  That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad.  Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling.  It is a necessary thing to feel.  Depression is very different.”


                                –    J.K. Rowling  (Author of the Harry Potter  series)

Depression doesn’t discriminate as to famous or not,  male or female, child or adult.  It can affect Caucasians, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Hispanics, African Americans and Latinos, whether poverty stricken or wealthy.  It is a serious, widespread illness and one of the most common mental disorders.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression affects about 1 in 10 people in the United States and according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, in general‚ about 1 in 6 adults will have depression in their lifetime.  It is also worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people having it as reported by the World Health Organization.  Although it is treatable, even in its most serious form and the response rate is good, worldwide, most people  do not obtain treatment (which usually consists of medication, professional mental health therapy or a combination of the two).  One type of mental health therapy is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy which is evidence-based in that it has been extensively researched and found to be effective in the treatment of depression (and a wide range of other psychiatric disorders).  This type of therapy recognizes that one’s feeling and behavior are largely influenced by one’s thought(s) and that unhealthy thinking may result in psychological disturbance such as depression or make it worse.  Therefore, the therapist works with the client to identify these thoughts, test and correct them to change the view of self, others, situations and environment.

For an informative podcast in which Dennis Greenberger, Ph.D. explains Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, please click on podcast (CBT: What Is It?) at the lower part of this page.  Also below, at lower part of this page, is another podcast (by this same professional) to listen to in which he talks about symptoms of depression and anxiety and treatment for both.

Clinical depression may not be recognized by the person who has it.  It does not have to consist of remaining in bed for most of the day or the inability to functioning at all.  Feelings of sadness can be a part of depression or not.  Symptoms of clinical depression (but not all) are:  fatigue, loss of energy, disinterest in usually enjoyed activities, feelings of helplessness, feelings of hopelessness, repeated thoughts of death, suicidal thinking, suicidal attempt, thinking that life is not worth living, inappropriate or excessive feelings of guilt, difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking, low self-esteem, irritability, a significant weight gain, a significant weight loss, appetite disturbance, indecisiveness, insomnia, excessive sleeping, persistent feelings of emptiness, persistent feelings of sadness, impairment in functioning at home/school/job or in other important areas of functioning, others noticing a change in the person’s movement as being slowed down or restless.  Depression symptoms can be brief, long term or chronic.  And it is not necessary to experience every one of these symptoms for a diagnosis of a depressive disorder.

Since depression is a serious illness with possible devastating consequences (e.g., death by suicide), a licensed mental health professional and physician may be contacted.  A mental health professional may diagnose the presenting symptoms and a physician may provide a physical check-up to rule out a medical condition causing the depression symptoms such as in having a thyroid disorder.  In other words, medical conditions may cause symptoms associated with depression.  In addition, according to NIMH, depression can occur at the same time as other serious medical illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease and these illnesses are often worse when depression is present.  A physician may check on medications for possible side effects that may mimic depression symptoms.  Furthermore, alcohol and drug use may be considered as to whether or not they may cause depression symptoms or exacerbate them.

There are different disorders of depression such as Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder.   The presentation of the depression and duration of symptoms can vary according with the disorder.

There are different types of medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of depression such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g., Prozac, Celexa) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (Cymbalta, Effexor XR).  A physican may be contacted to determine whether or not it is appropriate to take medication for depression.  Some people take it upon themselves to use herbs to treat depression.  One such herb is St. John’s Wort.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it is not a proven treatment for depression, there can be serious side effects, there are serious safety concerns  regarding its use and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved its use as a medicine for depression.  If St. John’s Wort is being taken or the intention is to take this herb, it is important to discuss this with a physician. For more information on St. John’s Wort, please see pages 17 and 18 of the pamphlet titled Depression: What You Need To Know at:


Depression can feel as if a person in in a deep dark hole, unable to climb out.  However, today, there is more than just hope. There is effective treatment and what looks dark and impossible to get out of, may fade.

For an informative podcast in which Dennis Greenberger, Ph.D. explains Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, please listen to this podcast (CBT: What is it?):

What is CBT? (Dennis Greenberger, Ph.D. explains Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

Permission granted from Anxiety and Depression Association Of America for the above to be included on this Website.  ADAA's persmission is greatly appreviated.


Treating Coexisting Depression and Anxiety    (Anxiety and Depression may co-exist.  Dennis Greenberger, Ph.D. talks about the symptoms of anxiety and depression and addresses treatment for both.)

Permission granted from Anxiety and Depression Association Of America for the above to be included on this Website.  ADAA's persmission is greatly appreciated.

This video is included with permission from Woody Schuldt, MA.   His permission is greatly appreciated.


For more information on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, please check out these websites:

For additional information about the treatment of depression or counseling in general, please call 704 333-1510.

This article is solely for information purposes.  It is not advice.  It is not intended for minors, and minors are instructed to leave the site.  It is not intended and it does not constitute professional or clinical advice.  The user of this page should not take any steps, or refrain from taking any steps, based on the information in this page, but should instead consult a qualified mental health professional.


This article was written some time between January 1, 2016 and January 22, 2019.