TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION
It is has been estimated that 25% of Americans will experience depression at some point in their lives. Depression hurts and is more than just the occasional blues. Depression can impact many areas of our lives. Signs and symptoms may include: having a low mood often, difficulty getting a good night sleep; loss of energy and fatigue; less motivation and interest in the things you once enjoyed; loss of confidence and self-esteem. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.
What causes depression is still not completely understood, but there are many ideas and theories. It is commonly understood that depression is caused by a combination of biochemical, genetic, social, and psychological factors. Which factors play the strongest role depends on who you talk to. So you should consider your source when reviewing information.
Do you find yourself withdrawing from family and friends?
Do you have persistent feelings of sadness, anger or regret?
Do you feel like sometimes life is just not worth living?
In this country there is a strong tendency to view depression as a biochemical imbalance in the brain that primarily needs to be corrected with antidepressant medications. While there is evidence that this is the case, this view is grossly over-simplified. We have known for years that social, environmental, and psychological factors also play a major role. We also know that social, environmental, and psychological factors have a strong influence on brain health.
Many of us know intuitively that lifestyle can have a major impact on how we feel. Being physically active, eating well, getting good sleep, being outdoors, having strong social connections, and staying active with worthwhile activities can make us feel better. In his book, The Depression Cure, Kansas University Psychologist Stephen IIardi, proposes that a program that addresses these lifestyle issues can significantly relieve or overcome depressive symptoms. I would agree. Unfortunately, many people who are depressed are too depressed to engage in such activities. So helping people break out of the negative vicious cycle, so common in depression, is key.
We also know that psychological and environmental factors play a strong role in depression. We know that people who have early life traumatic experiences or have experienced verbal or emotional abuse are much more likely to experience depression as adults.
These early life experiences put us on a path of ways of thinking, behaving, and dealing with our emotions that do not serve us well. People who consistently engage in negative self-talk will over time become depressed. When we consistently avoid or push are feelings away we can become depressed over time. From my experience, the idea that depression is anger directed inward has strong merit. Fortunately, overwhelming evidence shows that brain is not static and is amenable to change throughout life.
When you have depression, you may believe that things won’t change. You may be questioning or judging yourself critically for not being to figure out what’s wrong. The self-doubt and helplessness that set in may only add to your despair, which can become a part of a vicious cycle.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Depression can be overcome but it takes work.
Through psychotherapy you can begin to address the psychological and environmental factors that play a role in your depression and begin to reverse ways of behaving, thinking, and dealing with your emotions that no longer serve you well.