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Depression And Its Real Cause

Apr 9, 2008
Unfortunately the World Health Organization has stated that depression is now going to be the 21st centuries second most growth illness just below heart disease linked to obesity. Most people these days know someone who has suffered or is till suffering from depression.

It is now one of the most common mental illnesses in society. However there remains many myths surrounding depression and as a psychotherapist in private practice and as an ex-psychiatric nurse I have come across this illness quite regularly.during my career and so I decided to put pen to paper so to speak and address a few of these misconceptions in the hope that it might assist some sufferers.

Firstly I would like to point out that depression is not a chemical imbalance in the brain as is widely reported in the media. If this was true then nnti-depressant medications would cure depression but they don't so that means there is much more to the picture. All the money that has been spent on genetic research and gene mapping has never found a gene responsible for depression.

Being told that your illness is does not have a biological basis is actually empowering because it means that you can have power over the depression and change it. Ultimately the vast majority of depressions lift if treated by effective psychological therapies. People assisted by therapy relapse far less than people treated with medication
alone.

It is clear that the reduced serotonin levels found in the brains of depressed people are a consequence of depression and not he cause of it.

Why is it that depression is increasing in the world? There are many reasons for this, firstly we are being kept more and more physically apart

from each other because of increasing technologies like the internet, telephones and email. With these seemingly miraculous uses of technology comes decreased contact and loss of community. A rise in materialism and consumerism means that more and more people try to seek happiness by obtaining more possessions. Also today divorce and family breakups are all too common and this can have a serious emotional effect on many people. We also live in an age of time poverty where friends and family have reduced time to meet because of work demands and the demands of everyday life. Sadly, this has seriously eroded social connections even more. Living in an gae of increasing uncertainty for many

people has led to spiraling fear in the lives of ordinary people, if renewed terrorism isn't enough then rising crime rates and anti-social behavior is a constant reminder of an insecure world for many.

Also if a persons individual thinking style leans towards the pessimistic then this will also compound an already negatively loaded individual further.

However, after mentioning all of the above, a main criterion for the development of serious depression in people is whether or not they are getting certain emotional needs met. Depression is always secondary to another problem. What are these needs and how important are they?. Lets examine these needs.

Every organism has needs which have to be fulfilled if it is to thrive. To live successful and fulfilled lives we all need to have certain psychological needs met.

These include:

Security- the sense of being in or having safe territory around us so we can lead lives without undue fear.

Volition - a sense of autonomy or control over our lives

Attention - receiving it from others, but also giving it.

Emotional connection - allowing for friendship and intimacy

Connection to a wider community - being part of something larger than we are

A sense of status - knowing that we have a valued place in our social group

A sense of competence and achievement which ensures we don't suffer from low self-esteem

A sense of meaning and purpose which may come from a career or service to others.

All of the above are biological emotional needs and. without them or if some of these are unmet for extended time periods. many people will fail to thrive. We yearn for connection to others and to have purpose but if these opportunities are continually eroded.then we will spiral down into depression. It is not that difficult and it has happened to stronger people than you and I.

The answer is to recognize the signs if they ever begin to happen to you and at the earliest opportunity seek a good therapist who will assist you in moving towards getting these needs met again in your life. Avoid therapist who want to discuss the depression or go back into your childhood as this can actually reinforce the illness. Solution-focused counseling has shown good results with depression as its name suggests it focuses on where things are going well and points you away from the lows of the depression to a more fulfilling future which is what is needed with this illness.

More introspection is not required so please do try a solution-focused approach if you are a depressed person and it will direct you away from the depression.to a place where you have more choice. A search on google will reveal therapists in your area who use this effective approach to treatment
About the Author
Lee Heather is a counselor and the webmaster of http://www.growthjunction.com - a large and ever expanding repository of personal development information ranging from public speaking skills to meditation and work/career information.
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