Tag: Depression

The Six Most Common Types of Depression

By Jackie O’Brien, CADC III

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), depression affects more than 264 million people worldwide. There are six major types of depression and learning about each may lead to better personal mental health habits.


One of the most common types that is more acute (has occurred within the last 2 weeks to six months), symptoms associated with Major Depression are an increase or decrease in sleep, poor eating habits, an increase or decrease in libido and a deep sense of anhedonia, which means loss of pleasure-seeking feelings and activities. In severe cases, suicidal ideations can occur. Treatment varies depending on the severity of symptoms. Outpatient group therapy, individual therapy, and medication are often recommended.


This type of depression is chronic and has lasted for at least two years. People suffering from this have a low mood, but it is usually not as severe as Major Depression. People experience many of the same symptoms of MDD including, concentration issues and feelings of hopelessness. PDD is best treated with a combination of therapy and medication.


This mental health disorder is a little different from the aforementioned types of depression. Bi-polar disorder has two major components. The first being, Mania. Manic episodes are defined as periods of time in which one’s mood is extremely elevated and there is a major increase in energy and motivation levels. Also present are racing thoughts, hyper-verbosity and in severe cases, psychosis or hallucinations. Subsequent to mania, depression occurs and is highly debilitating. Bipolar Disorder, left untreated, can endanger one’s life. Medication combined with intensive outpatient treatment is most effective.


SAD, as it’s known, occurs in most people during the winter months, when the days get shorter and the evenings longer. There is a plethora of research out there and most of it indicates that there is a link between sunlight and the levels of serotonin and melatonin released in the brain. The most effective treatment is light therapy which involves sitting in front of a specific light box for short bursts during the day.


While primarily known to affect women during or after pregnancy, research suggests that 1 in 10 men may also experience symptoms after the birth of a child. Due to the importance of early childhood connections between caregiver and child, this type of depression can be particularly devastating for all parties involved. The symptoms found in Major Depressive Disorder can be found in Postpartum Depression as well as psychotic symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations. Medication and intensive therapy are usually the most effective treatment for caregivers.


PMDD occurs in people biologically assigned female at birth. It is directly connected to the female menstrual cycle and most symptoms occur in the weeks prior to the start of menses. These symptoms include extreme irritability and agitation as well as drastic mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, and changes in sleeping and eating patterns. Often the symptoms go away after the start of a period, but they are severe enough when present to disrupt the quality of life. Usually, oral contraceptives are most often prescribed to combat these disruptive symptoms.

Depression is a soul-sucking and life altering disease. When left untreated the results are disastrous and, in some cases, life-ending. However, a common thread between the various types is the effectiveness of therapy as treatment. In fact, Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy has shown to be most effective across the board. If you start experiencing any symptoms of depression, please reach out to someone and give yourself the help you deserve.

What is CBT?

By Michael Arndt, Alumni Coordinator, CAST Centers
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CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) was first put into practice by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960’s and has in the ensuing years become an industry standard for evidenced-based care in mental health and addiction treatment. It traces its philosophical roots to a marriage of Greek Stoicism and Eastern mindfulness practices. Stoicism teaches us to essentially challenge our negative, maladaptive or unrealistic thoughts and perceptions of the world around us as a way of living. It is about finding objective truths.  Mindfulness practices teach us to be able to examine our own thoughts and to take them with a grain of salt. The idea behind CBT is that when you are able to reframe these problematic thoughts, you can then move into changing behavior that is not serving you.

CAST Centers recently hosted an in-service for our staff with Dr. Joel Becker, Ph.D who studied with Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1970’s in Boston after completing his training at Harvard. He now heads the Cognitive Behavior Associates practice here in Beverly Hills. He has been a leader in CBT since just after its inception. He now spends time working with SGM (sexual and gender minority) clients, in addition to teaching at UCLA in the Department of Psychology and the Geffen School of Medicine, precepting and seeing clients at Cognitive Behavior Associates.

CBT was originally developed with the hope of treating major depression. Over the years it has evolved to include many variations that treat everything from substance use disorders to OCD and anxiety. Offshoots of CBT include the very popular DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) which is primarily used in the treatment of personality disorders like borderline personality disorder. There is also mindfulness CBT, compassion-based CBT among many others, all sharing the same goal but aim to achieve it with slightly different approaches.

Mindfulness is seen across the board in all of the various offshoots of CBT. Mindfulness training teaches us to sort of detach ourselves from our thoughts (or cognitions, hence the word cognitive in CBT) instead of immediately reacting to them or even accepting them as necessarily true. In the recovery world, this is called “the pause.” It is a practice that lessens our reactivity to our thoughts and beliefs. For example, just because I have a negative thought towards my partner does not mean that it is true, or that I am a jerk for thinking it. It is just a thought, and I do not need to act on it. I can pause and ask myself if this thought is true, helpful, or in alignment with how I truly feel when I am coming from a more authentic and relaxed place. Or just because I think of using drugs, or engaging in self-harm does not mean I have to do it.

At its core, CBT is about examining root causes of negative thoughts and then building up towards taking contrary actions and setting goals as a team with the therapist. Over time, and with enough practice, we literally rewire our brains to act more in alignment with what we really want, and to make it second nature to do so. CBT is not the traditional open-ended talk therapy model that most of us think of when we think of therapy. Sitting in a room rehashing our childhoods over and over again with vague insights. It is about action, and implementing new tools into our daily lives. One of the things that sets CAST apart from most treatment centers is that we are very action-oriented. While we believe it is important to address underlying issues, we encourage and support our clients as they decide what kind of life they want for themselves. That is what our programs are all about: helping our clients dig deep and figure out exactly what they want out of life at their core so that they can begin building a life that is theirs and worth fighting for.

CAST Centers recently hosted an in-service for our staff with CBT pioneer, Dr. Joel Becker, Ph.D.

Exercise For Anxiety And Depression

Are you aware that your breathing can affect your anxiety? CAST Centers Clinical Therapist, Robert Oppenheimer explains.

“Shallow breathing sends a message to your brain to be alert, whereas when you do deep belly breathing, it changes that message towards a less anxious state.”

—Robert Oppenheimer, LCSW

Read more on Healthyway about the mental health benefits of exercise for depression and anxiety.

Reframing Negative Thoughts

40 Things to Stop Believing About Yourself After 40. CAST Centers Dr. Mylett gives us one tip to frame negative thoughts:

“Thoughts like this one are a feeling, not a fact, says Cecelia Mylett, Psy.D, LCSW, Clinical Director at CAST Centers. Acknowledging the feeling behind it—loneliness, depression, frustration—can help you recognize what your brain is really saying and not get bogged down in self-doubt.”

To read the full article, go to Reader’s Digest.

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