Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"What Is the Impact of Depression?"

Another typical question going through the mind of depressive patients, as well as their families and friends, is  "What exactly is the impact of depression? How exactly can it affect my life?". In case you also wonder about this, refer to the following graphic for a quick and succinct overview. 

As you can see, we're talking about short term as well as long term repercussions, each progressively worst than the last. In the early stages of depression, people will start having trouble coping with their social responsibilities, and their tendency for lethargy and inaction will increase the likelihood of obesity; losing their appetite for life, the patient will start indulging risky behaviors, such as binge drinking or experimenting with recreational drugs. Moreover, it's very common for depression to co-occur with other conditions, both physical and mental... which left un-diagnosed and untreated are likely to only get worse.

On the long run, all of these problems tend to get worse, in fact. Obesity problems will lead to chronic health problems, risky behaviors could evolve into substance abuse issues, suicidal tendencies, and so on. You may presume the point of this post is to scare you: and you're right! You shouldn't think of your depression as a mere nuisance  because it has real potential to interfere with your life in many ways, and even to disrupt your   normal functioning. There really is no point in letting things escalate to such extremes, you know? Especially since depression can very much be treated, no matter how severe it feels. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

5 Common Causes Behind Clinical Depression

There is not a single cause for clinical depression; usually this condition surfaces as the result of several negative influences working together over time. Not of all these influences are easily avoided (since some have to do with your upbringing and personal background), but learning about them is an important step towards finding a cure for depression.

If you have a better understanding of what is causing your problems, you will stand a better chance of dealing with it, right? In that spirit, the present article will discuss the most common causes which are usually found in cases of clinical depression.

Biological factors

Factors at play here include chemical imbalances in the brain, which are not yet fully understood. Research has demonstrated how the brain activity of clinically depressed individuals seems to be impaired in comparison the the brain activity of healthy individuals, indicating there are biological imbalances that will induce depressive states, and eventually lead to the development of clinical depression.

Genetic factors

Some people have a genetic predisposition towards depression, and that's just about it. This factor surely ties in with the biological factor, meaning that some individuals are just more likely to succumb to depression, when all other factors are similar. If you have a history of depression in your family, it doesn't mean you will have the same problem... but you should see it as a sign that you should take proactive measures to reduce your chances of stumbling into the same problem.

Personal issues

Very often, lingering personal issues can lead to the development of depressive disorders. Whether it's unfulfilled dreams and aspirations, unsatisfactory relationships or difficulties in communication and social interaction -- such issues can be the root of subsequent depression. If you meditate intently in this possibility, you may realize there could be some issues from your past creeping up into your present and robbing your vitality. The help of a therapist can be most valuable in helping you understand these unapparent causes.

Stress and trauma

Likewise to hidden personal issues, so can persistent stress and unattended trauma lead to the development of further complications related to depression. If you feel you've lived through a specific trauma in the past that may have crippled you emotionally, you will be wise to seek professional help to help you overcome such problems. If you feel that your line of work is more stress than you can handle, maybe you should consider either finding a new line of work or learning to better cope with the stressful scenarios you're currently facing. 

Substance abuse

Substance abuse problems usually go hand in hand with depression, each reinforcing and perpetuating the other. If you're trying to break free the negative cycles of depression, you should also look for ways to break free of any substance abuse issues you may be subject to: whether it's illegal or recreational drugs, tobacco, alcohol  food or any other substances. Consuming your "poison of choice" may appear to improve your depression on the short term, but as soon as the effects wane you'll feel worse than before, and you'll want to keep using more and more. Until you mange this vicious cycle, it will be quite hard to find a permanent cure for depression!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Depressed People Tend to be (Overly) Realistic

Here's a concept that may strike you as quite interesting and even refreshing: as it turns out, maybe depressed people are actually more realistic and unbiased than so-called normal people. In fact, it could just be that patients struggling with depression are just too realistic for their own good... contrasting with mentally balanced folks who have a knack for flourishing reality in order to better cope with it, as well as their own short comings.

The happy delusions of a positive self-esteem

In was roughly 25 years ago that two renowned psychologists (Taylor and Brown) published an article whose implications were too disturbing to be readily accepted by the scientific community. However, in recent years this theory has been increasingly accepted as plausible and even quite likely. The gist of it is that average and apparently balanced people actually hold a cognitive bias that helps them through the day. This manifests in three key aspects:

1) "normal" people usually believe they're better (more competent, better-looking, more intelligent) than they really are

2) "normal" people hold a slightly deluded belief of the extend to which they control their environment and reality

3) "normal" people tend to be considerably more optimistic towards their future outlooks than what is suggested by evidence.

In short,the so-called "normal" and "adjusted" people actually enact a set of fantasies and delusions which actually helps upkeep their self-esteem and normal lifestyle. When for some reason or another people start questioning those surreal assumptions  it could lead to the development of depression. Which means that in a totally bizarre and slightly confusing manner, depressed people actually tend to me more realistic than average people, which unfortunately works much to their disadvantage... mostly because they are not taught how to effectively turn those insights into a driving force for positive change.

Depressive realism, and how it can be good for you.

In light of the reasoning brought forth by Tailor's and Brown's groundbreaking study, some researchers currently suggest that depressive patients may actually have a superior insight of their own skills and limitations, which could become the driving force behind their depression.

This reasoning of a "depressive realism" could lead to a radical new paradigm in the treatment of depression, where patients would be encouraged to learn from their depressive insights and channel them towards self-improvement -- rather than just learning to dismiss their negative impressions and put on the same rosy goggles as everyone else apparently does. How is that for a radical new way of thinking? Maybe depression is not your worst enemy... it could actually become your greatest master, if only you learn to deal with it appropriately.