Michael Lara, MD

Our Services / Depression

Depression image

Depression services offered in Belmont, CA

Depression affects nearly 1 in 12 adults in the United States and feels debilitating in many cases. At his practice in Belmont, California, board-certified psychiatrist Michael Lara, MD, diagnoses and treats depression to give you a happier life. Call his office to schedule an appointment or book a consultation online today.

Depression Q & A

What is depression?

Depression, also called major depressive disorder, is a common mental health condition where you feel ongoing or extreme sadness. While depression happens to nearly everyone from time to time because of life’s circumstances, see Dr. Lara for treatment if it doesn’t go away or negatively affects your quality of life.

Postpartum depression occurs after pregnancy, often due to hormone fluctuations, stress, or lifestyle changes, and may go away over time. However, treatment is often the best way to reduce unpleasant symptoms of postpartum depression. 

What are the symptoms of depression?

Common symptoms associated with depression include:

  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Feeling sad, tearful, or empty
  • Hopelessness
  • Ongoing sadness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Irritability
  • Angry outbursts 
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling guilty
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Drug or alcohol misuse

Your symptoms could be mild or severe. They may appear temporarily after a death in the family, job loss, divorce, or other stressful life events. You might experience social isolation or relationship problems because of depression. See Dr. Lara at the first sign of a problem. 

What are the risk factors for depression?

Depression can happen to anyone, but risk factors for developing it include:

  • Traumatic life events
  • Ongoing stress
  • Low self-esteem
  • Certain personality traits
  • Family history of depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Chronic diseases or illnesses
  • Some medications

You can’t always avoid depression, but keeping stress levels low, getting treated early, and having a strong social support network can reduce your risk of crippling symptoms associated with depression. 

How does my doctor diagnose depression?

Dr. Lara can diagnose depression after discussing your symptoms and medical history with you. During in-person or virtual visits, he asks questions about your lifestyle habits, thoughts, emotions, mood, and family history of diseases; you might also need lab tests. He then personalizes a treatment plan based on your needs. 

What are the treatments for depression?

Your depression treatment plan could include:

Lifestyle changes

Maintaining an ideal weight, getting regular exercise, eating nutritious foods, managing stress, and getting plenty of sleep can reduce symptoms of depression. In addition, avoid smoking, using drugs, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and cultivate a strong social support network. 

Medication management

Taking medications, especially when combined with lifestyle changes and psychotherapy, can improve your mood and quality of life. Dr. Lara develops a personalized medication regimen that’s best for you. 

To get relief from depression and live your best life, call Michael Lara, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.