Thoughts on depression and treatment…
As our culture becomes more acquainted with the concept of mental illness and fear it less, depressive episodes are increasingly better understood and validated as legitimate, debilitating experiences as opposed to symbols of personal weakness or frailty of character. This progression in thought is critical, for the shame and fear endured by those suffering with depression have contributed to further deepen these episodes and only undermine the person’s capacity to stand against it.
Much like anxiety, causes of depression are multifaceted and complex, with subjective experience often varying greatly from one to another person. Increasingly, depression has come to be known as a “neurochemical disorder” whereby chemicals (“neurotransmitters”) in the brain are functioning ineffectively or inefficiently. Given that particular neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine) are considered responsible for moderating mood, to many this theory explains both depressive episodes themselves, and a common treatment intervention for the ailment that allegedly rights these chemicals by means of antidepressant medication.
However, while it may be that symptoms of depression themselves are directly linked to the functioning of neurotransmitters, it would be short-sighted to assume that depression is caused by “faulty” neurochemistry alone. Also common to theory of depression is a view that this ailment is at minimum equally a psychological issue as it is an organic, physiological one. Perhaps the most endorsed psychological method of treating depression is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), in which the thoughts a depressed person holds about himself bear great influence on the symptomology. While I do not consider myself to be a “CBT therapist”, nor a therapist with a specialty in the modality, it is my position that the beliefs we have about the world, those we closely relate to within it, and those we maintain about ourselves will often contribute to depressive presentation regardless of the person’s neurochemistry. As such, this view is foundational to the work I do with clients suffering with unipolar mood disorder.
Working with me will see evaluation of the variances and frequencies of substance use/abuse, potential traumatic events or at least nodal events that wield the ability to influence self-talk, inherited family of origin themes that can bear influence on determinations about self, and the influence of marital/relational or occupational stressors on mood. Then, with the application of some CBT-based interventions as modified to suit my style of therapy, and perhaps some concurrent supports from a client’s General Practitioner or other medical specialist, the odds of reducing depressive symptomology are greatly increased.