Disabled Female Soldier
We understand mental illness and the difficulties it creates for those who suffer from it. At our San Diego Mental Health Treatment Center we are sensitive to your challenges. Solara will find every possible solution to enable you to live the life that you are meant to live.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a deep sadness that lasts longer than two weeks and includes at least 5 depressive symptoms. Of those symptoms, diminished interest/pleasure and/or depressed mood must be present. The other additional symptoms may include weight and/or appetite changes, insomnia, fatigue, cognitive impairment, feelings of worthlessness, thoughts of death, or psychomotor hindrance.

There is typically no singular cause for MDD, but rather a multitude of risk factors that contribute to its development including genetics, chemicals and hormones in the brain, and stress from environmental factors.

High levels of cortisol from stress and depression may shrink the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus while enlarging the amygdala. Abnormalities and imbalance of these parts of the brain cause irregularities in hormones and cognitive processes, affecting memory, emotional responses, decision making, energy, and more.

Fundamentals for treating MDD include a healthy diet and physical activity, sufficient sleep, and abstinence from nonprescribed drugs and alcohol. Psychotherapy and medications may improve one’s condition. No one specific therapy or medication will work for everyone, which is why someone with MDD must discuss their treatment options with an appropriate doctor.

The timeline for MDD is different for everyone but lasts a minimum of two weeks, potentially lasting a lifetime. Symptoms may improve with time, especially with treatment, but every person responds differently. Recurring depression can happen at any time, and those with MDD should learn proper coping mechanisms to avoid relapse.

MDD can be considered a disability by law if symptoms are severe enough, debilitating one from work or other necessities to one’s livelihood. To apply for benefits from social services, one must obtain a professional diagnosis from a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

Mental Health and Wellness

Major Depression Treatment in San Diego

Major depression, also called Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is listed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Depression is a medical condition that can cause severe symptoms that interfere with daily life. Its varying severities can affect relationships, productivity, sleep, activity, and almost any other aspect of a person’s life.

Depression is caused by multiple contributors, including genetic, biological, environmental, and other factors. These factors can cause emotional, cognitive, and physical instability.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that less than 50% of people who suffer from depression receive treatment. This is partially due to the unfair stigma that has been attached to depression over the years. Another contributing factor is that people in the midst of depressive despair are often unable or unwilling to reach out to others for help.

Our Major Depression Treatment Program in San Diego

Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder can be complicated. But, through professional treatment programs, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms.

For over a decade, the experts at our San Diego Depression Treament Center have observed this condition in hundreds of people with depression who have come to us for behavior therapy. We utilize the most current research and evidence-based healing practices for the most successful outcomes.

Solara MentalHealth recognizes that depression is not experienced in the same way by everyone. There is a broad spectrum of depressive disorders. That is why we create highly personalized treatment plans and procedures to address each individual’s specific needs.

We utilize multiple comprehensive treatments:

  • Individual therapy
  • Talk therapy
  • Small group therapy
  • Holistic therapies
  • Medication management, when appropriate

The American Psychiatric Association has reported that a combination of psychotherapy and psychiatric drugs (when possible) is the most effective means of treating Major Depressive Disorder. By providing a full spectrum of therapeutic services, we can treat each individual’s unique depressive condition.

Our mental health treatment center in San Diego provides an entirely safe, supportive setting that is monitored by highly trained, experienced, and caring professionals who understand debilitating depression. The clinical team at our San Diego psychiatric facility have extensive experience and broad expertise that enable us to provide effective treatments for depression.

Healing environments at beautifully appointed, private residences and adjacent clinical offices provide a refuge from the stress and struggle of everyday life. This gives our veterans the time, space, and direction they need to focus on long-term healing. Residences like our Pacific Beach location allow us to identify and understand the complicated emotions caused by depression.

If you or a family member are suffering from depression, contact us now to start the healing process.

Major Depression Treatment for Veterans

Depression is a common mental health disorder in the general population, but even more common in veterans. Active duty can increase the risk of developing major depression. Nearly one in eight veterans struggle with major depression that requires therapy or medication for treatment.

Solara Mental Health is VA contracted as a community care provider that can help veterans with mental health services and treatments. The availability to treat individuals with VA insurance allows us to help veterans with many mental health disorders, including veteran depressive disorders.

Diagnosing Major Depression

Being sad is a regular part of life. Though, it shouldn’t be a lasting emotion. When a depressed mood has continued for two weeks or more, it may be time to see a health professional.

Be mindful and tell your doctor if you have experienced any of these depressive symptoms:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness
  • Reduction or complete loss of interest in relationships, interests, activities and so on, which were formally enjoyable
  • Significant increase or decrease in sleep
  • Fatigue, listlessness and general loss of energy
  • Irritability or anger
  • Memory problems and general slowness in cognitive function
  • Unwarranted feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Changes in appetite, including both overeating or under eating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Not every symptom will be experienced by different individuals with depression. Frequency and severity of symptoms will vary depending on the stage of their illness, the type of depression, and its cause, among other issues.

Certain risk factors may add to or be the cause for major depression:

  • Other illnesses and their prescribed medications
  • Substance abuse
  • A family or personal history of depression
  • Stress or Trauma
  • Major life changes

Medical professionals evaluate the severity of common mental health disorders using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). DSM-5 for depression in adults is scored through an eight-item measuring system. The system questions patients on the frequency of certain feelings (from never to always) during the past week:

  • I felt worthless.
  • I felt that I had nothing to look forward to.
  • I felt hopeless.
  • I felt sad.
  • I felt like a failure.
  • I felt depressed.
  • I felt unhappy.
  • I felt hopeless.

Types of Depression

Everyone experiences depression differently. Similarly, the symptoms of clinical depression can vary on a case by case basis. There are various subcategories of depression that are distinguished by specific characteristics:

Anxious Distress — Depression coupled with anxiety, usually causing worry about things beyond a person’s control.

Mixed Features — Similar to manic episodes of bipolar disorder, a person may have bouts of elevated self-esteem and energy.

Melancholic Features — A damaging form of major depressive disorder that is usually treated with antidepressant medications. It typically results in a lack of interest in activities and suicidal thoughts.

Atypical Features — Affecting appetite, sleep, energy, and sensitivity to rejection.

Psychotic Features — typically results in a disconnect from reality and caused by lament over shortcomings and persistent negative thoughts.

Catatonia — causes speechlessness, motionlessness, or purposeless movements for extended periods.

Peripartum Onset — affects women before or after giving birth.

Seasonal Pattern — A sensitivity to sunlight, commonly seen in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where a person becomes depressed in winter and fall.

Proudly Serving Veterans
with TriWest Insurance

TriWest Healthcare

What Our Clients Say


The Solara program is truly amazing. I’ve never had more clarity or more good energy in my entire life. The attention the physicians and the therapists gave me was outstanding. I feel like they truly understood and addressed my issues, which had consumed my life for years. Thank you all.


Solara was truly a life-changing experience for me and for our children, because of what you did for my wife! The treatment team was phenomenally supportive and perfect for helping her with her anxiety and depression. We are all now moving forward to put our lives back together and it started with you all in Pacific Beach. Thank you for what you do.

Watson Family

Solara’s program was such a positive experience for our mom (and for us)! She had become almost impossible to deal with. Your entire staff was phenomenally supportive and kind and patient with her. We feel like we’ve got our mom back, now.


I have never felt better than I do now, since completing your program. The truly caring and supportive staff and the intensive program changed my life. What a neat place to stay for treatment - I love Pacific Beach! I have learned skills and behavior to move forward with my life thanks to you.

R.M. – Father

If not for Solara Mental Health, I am almost positive that our daughter would not be as advanced in her treatment, and would not have the almost miraculous confident and positive outlook that she has.


Even though I’m not religious, I realized when I got sober that for the first time in my life I wanted to explore my spiritual side. I benefited hugely from the individual spiritual sessions that I had with Chris. I’m really grateful for that aspect of the whole treatment experience.


We are so grateful to you for the treatment and care you provided our daughter. She is doing unbelievably well now thanks to your program. We will gladly tell anyone we encounter that needs treatment about the wonderful work you do at Solara.


The Solara Treatment Program was a life-changing experience for me. To be able to heal in such a beautiful, peaceful environment, with such a terrific treatment team, was so amazingly positive. I have found my true self, again. I thank you and my family thanks you for helping me become the person I was meant to be.

M.P. – Father

Your program provided our daughter with the most masterful therapist we have ever encountered (and we have used many).  She has had an unbelievable ability to see the long-term trajectory of our daughter’s treatment and to approach her treatment in stages that fit where my daughter’s development was.  We can’t say enough positive about her.

Michelle Family

I want to thank you and the entire staff and support system at Solara for taking such good care of my sister. On behalf of my entire family, we want you all to understand that your patience and kindness stretches further than you can see… Thank you, again and again, from the bottom of my heart.


The therapists and counselors and really whole team were extremely beneficial to me and my understanding of my issues. The treatment plan they developed was exactly what I needed


The program has given me the tools I needed to really gain stability. For the first time in years - maybe for as long as I can remember, actually, I’m learning how to cope and manage my stressors and triggers. I now believe that I can find some relief and happiness.