What Causes Depression and What Can We Do About It?
Not that long ago a client came to my office who was extremely depressed. They were told by another health care professional that the depression they were experiencing was something that they would need to learn to live with and accept. The client reported that after the experience they became even more depressed. No surprise that this would be a predictable response. It might be possible that the client misunderstood what the therapist was saying, but in any case the session was not helpful and only served to make the situation worse. When I was a young therapist it was common to use terms such as indigenous depression versus exogenous depression. Indigenous Depression meant that the cause of the depression was physiologically based, where as Exogenous depression was environmentally based and meant at the time that it was caused by non-physiological conditions such thought processes, stress, poor family communications, parenting or other external stressors. As newer therapies developed such as cognitive behavioral treatment it became more popular for professionals to believe that both physiological and environmental process together influenced the development of depression. Today it is commonly believed that individuals have a physiological pre-disposition to depression and that environmental conditions are primary to the development of depressive experiences. Basically we have a genetic pre-disposition, but environmental conditions need to be in place for the genes to be expressed. At this time it is commonly believed that our thoughts and beliefs have a major impact on our emotions and personal experiences. Not always but quite often our emotional experiences are generated by our thoughts. From this perspective if we change our thoughts we change our experiences. This may sound easy but in practice it is considerably challenging. This is particularly the case when we consider that we are not always aware of what we are thinking. The positive part is that we can change our thought processes to change our mood. We can also work toward making our bodies healthier so we can work directly with the physiological part. It seems that exercise itself can play a major part in reducing depression. I suspect that by reducing our stress levels we are also changing our physiology in a positive way which makes us less susceptible to depression.
written by Don Recupido