What is depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that has many potential root causes and can impact every aspect of your life—from your relationships and social life to your job and interest in activities.
At its core, depression is a cyclical pattern of negative thinking that prevents you from seeing the opportunity or possibility in things—it focuses your thoughts on the potential barriers and negative outcomes. Depression depletes you of hope, which leads to disordered mental and physical health.
What causes depression?
There are nearly as many risk factors and causes of depression as there are suffers of the disorder, so it’s important to recognize that depression is an individual disease. There is rarely only one cause of a person’s depression—it’s often the combination of genetic, social and environmental factors. Because depression affects everyone differently, it must be treated on an individual case-by-case basis.
Potential causes and risk factors of depression:
- Stressful or traumatic events
- Unresolved personal history
- Family history of depression, especially within the same household
- Low self-esteem and patterns of negative thinking
- Other mental health disorders such as anxiety or PTSD
- Gender and/or sexual orientation
- Substance abuse
- Chronic illness or other physical health issue
- Side effects of some prescription medications
- Poor nutrition or disordered eating
What’s the difference between depressed and non-depressed people?
When you think about people who aren’t depressed, you may wonder how they stay happy all the time. It’s not that they are somehow shielded from depressing situations and it’s not that bad things don’t happen to them (they do). Non-depressed people either naturally possess or have learned skills and techniques to help them navigate difficult situations—they can come out the other side of difficult times without having lost their positive sense of possibility for the future.
The primary difference between depressed and non-depressed people is that non-depressed people are able to pull out their toolkit of coping skills when they face challenging, negative or adverse situations. They battle the situation as it happens, put away their tools and return to their base-level way of thinking—equipped with their toolkit for the next negative situation or thought to present itself.
How can I cure my depression
Although there is no cure for depression, there are methods to help you regulate your moods through medication, therapy or a combination of the two:
Antidepressant medications are designed to balance the chemicals in your brain to help stabilize your mood and boost it out of its negative state. Antidepressants are effective if your primary cause is biological. However, it’s important to recognize that the medication only treats the symptoms of depression and not the root cause. In addition, a treatment of only antidepressants won’t give you the coping skills and techniques you need to be able to manage your depression on a daily basis.
Therapy is an essential component of treating depression because it helps you learn how to cope with the trauma of your past while giving you skills to navigate the present and future. In Australia, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is commonly used to treat depression because it equips people with the tools they need to cope with difficult situations and decisions. Therapy can help depressed people break free from their repetitive pattern of negative thinking and set realistic, achievable goals for treatment and practical use of those skills in everyday life.
Therapy and medication
Used together, therapy and medication is a good option for people who have a combination of different roots causes for their depression. Medication can help balance the biological side of things while therapy can help you develop skills such as how to manage stress, how to think carefully about a situation before making a decision, how to reflect in a constructive and positive way when decisions don’t work out as planned, and also how to build a support network around you of friends, family and doctors.
The best approach for YOU
The best approach in treating your depression is to work with your doctors to find a solution that works for you. Everyone is different and every treatment for depression will be individual. Everyone has their own path into depression and each person has their own path out
If you need to talk about how you are feeling and what you can do, please have no hesitation to book an appointment with DIPAC and Associates.