Depression is a condition that is fueled by several factors. More often than not, laypersons think that depression is a result of a chemical imbalance based on discussion and rumor in layperson circles. Actually, it is not technically known what causes depression but we have a few solid leads on that issue. Depression can be fueled or caused by physical changes in the body or brain, by thoughts and experiences, and also by environments or settings. For example, individuals that suffer an injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, can have drastic changes in mood and emotional regulation. Chemicals and body balance following the birth of a child can induce postpartum depression in women. Likewise, thoughts that are gloomy, negative, and disparaging can fuel the body and mind into a slump of gloom and depression. Lastly, depression can be onset by trauma and conditions that are abusive to ones body or spirit, such as living in an abusive home or being emotionally abused by a spouse or family member.
Therapy and medication helps to manage depression when it begins to fuel relational and internal problems with individuals. In fact cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT has shown remarkable outcomes in patients not on medication. Patients on medication report with newer SSRIs such as Lexapro much fewer symptoms and greater gains in mood stabilization. In recent years, outcome research on the impact of endorphins and exercise and it’s mellowing effect on the mind/body connection clearly indicate that an active regular exercise program does combat depression as effectively in many cases as medication. Alternatively, you could take a Beck Depression Inventory assessment and have your levels of depression measured, counselors offer these assessments to gauge ones depression levels. I’d also recommend visiting with a therapist, as they are expert at ferreting through and helping persons manage irrational and self-defeating thoughts, the primary fuel for depression. I recommend medication as an alternative and supplement in certain situations. At times some individuals may need medication long-term to help manage their moods based on their own genetic makeup. Therapy is clearly the first step then possibly medication. Medication without counseling is merely a band-aid over the problem and is simply lingers beneath the surface. I’ve worked with many clients that struggle with depression that has lingered for years, and with some working through in session are able to find meaning, understanding, and ultimately healing from the depression. When doing CBT I measure the depression levels at each session and chart the treatment in ways that assure progress and depression abatement can occur. Healing is possible, leave your depression behind by gaining the tools and skills to conquer it.
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