Everyone experiences normal ups and downs of everyday life or has a bad day. At times, we all struggle when adversity hits. However, for millions of Americans, depression is much more than simply feeling sad or “the blues.” For 1 in 4 American adults, depression is a life-impairing and sometimes life-threatening medical condition that is successfully treated and often cured with a BioPsychoSpiritual treatment strategy.
What is Depression and how is it Different than Sadness?
Sadness is an emotion that usually has a direct situational cause, lasts a short time, doesn’t interfere with your functioning, and doesn’t distort your thinking process or view of yourself or life.
But for some, the sadness continues for more than a 1-2 weeks or longer and grows into a Depression. With depression, a person can feel sad, empty, numb, apathy, disinterested with life, or disconnected while experiencing symptoms listed below. As a result of the extended duration and symptoms, Depression causes distress, makes managing all life areas and carrying out responsibilities difficult, interferes with relationships, and most dangerously, thinking and our view of self and life become negatively colored.
The recipe for a Depression has many ingredients, including a person’s genes, brain chemistry, life experiences (especially childhood, personality and temperament), psychological and spiritual skills and beliefs. How a person understands, thinks through, and learns to manage stress is a big factor in whether Depression occurs or recurs in a their life.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression commonly include:
- Persistent sadness
- Sleeping More
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Hopeless Feelings
- Worthless Feelings
- Losing Interest or Pleasure
- Appetite/Weight Changes
- Aches and Pains
- Thoughts of suicide
- Reckless Behavior
- Hard to Concentrate
- Easily Distracted
Types of Depression
Just as many types of cough exist, with some similarities but each with a different cause and treatment, different Depressions also exist. Even though they all cause distress while impairing functioning and thinking, psychiatry has defined several different Depressions to identify and help more readily.
- Major Depression, often called Clinical Depression, is the severe form of Depression as a person has a number of the above symptoms for longer than 2 weeks. Major Depressive Episodes could last weeks to years and occur throughout a person’s life. Treatment often requires medications and especially PsychoSpiritual talk therapy, and is highly effective.
- Minor Depression is similar to Major Depression but the episode lasts less than 2 weeks or the episode lasts longer than 2 weeks but doesn’t have enough symptoms to meet Major Depression criteria.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder is a longer lasting but often less intense form of depression where a person has depressed mood most of the day, for more days than not, and for 2 years or longer. Several other symptoms also are needed as well. PsychoSpiritual talk therapy is vital and medications are occasionally helpful.
- Psychotic Depression occurs in about 10-15% of Major Depressions as the person experiences some form of psychosis. Most common are hearing voices (auditory hallucinations) of negative content, seeing visions (visual hallucinations), or odd beliefs (delusions) of being persecuted, worthless, or something bad is happening. Hospitalization is necessary for safety and to initiate medications and PsychoSpiritual therapy until thinking is normalized and it’s safe to return home for continued close monitoring and treatment.
- Postpartum Depression occurs in women after delivering a baby. This type of depression is due to hormonal and physical changes along with stressors associated with pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood. 10 to 15 percent of women experience this debilitating type of depression after giving birth. Medications and PsychoSpiritual talk therapy is important to facilitate mother/child bonding. Postpartum psychoses is postpartum depression with hallucinations or delusions and requires immediate intervention for safety of baby and mother.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is caused by decreased sunlight and colder temperatures during the winter months, characterized by feelings of fatigue, increased appetite, slower thinking, and sadness due to the body’s physical need for natural light and psychological frustration of feeling not enough time in the day and being cooped up in the house. Light therapy and/or medications with PsychoSpiritual talk therapy are extremely effective.
- Bipolar Disorder is a condition characterized by cycling mood changes. A person with this disorder will experience periods of extreme highs (mania) followed by extreme lows (depression). Medications and PsychoSpiritual talk therapy are extremely effective.
- Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood is what 100% of us experience at some point in our life. This describes our adjustment or reaction to an event that is more than sadness because distress and impaired functioning exist, but only consists of low mood, not the symptoms of Major or Minor Depression. PsychoSpiritual talk therapy is extremely effective and occasionally medications are an important band-aid.
Many Struggle with Depression
- Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S.
- Lifetime risk of Major Depression for women = 25% and men = 15%.
- Lifetime risk for Bipolar Depression is 3-5%.
- 100% will experience Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood.
- Each year about 6.7% of U.S. adults experience major depressive disorder.
- Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetime.
- The average age of onset of depression is 32 years old.
- Additionally, 3.3% of 13 to 18 year olds have experienced a seriously debilitating depressive disorder.
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. when adding in under-reporting and passive suicides.
Depression can be effectively managed and is best treated when we address all 3 spheres of Spirit, Mind, and Body.
Medication is often effective in helping regulate brain chemicals that control mood. These medications, called antidepressants, work on the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine to help areas of the brain better communicate with each other to process life and regulate mood. Medications are great for acute symptom management, but do not cure depression.
Psychological awareness and skills are vital in helping us understand how God designed our mind to take in, process, and respond to the life circumstances He allows in our life. We all have misinformation, baggage, strongholds, and stinky thinking from our growing up and young adult days and need to replace it with the truth and then make better decisions. Techniques like Cognitive Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Meditation, and Emotion Focused Therapy pull back the curtain so we can better understand God’s design of our mind.
Spiritual truths and life management principles from the BIBLE (Best Instruction Book for Living Everyday) allow us clearer lenses to understand life and experience joy and peace when our outside world might be chaotic and stressful. This renewing of the mind through an integrated PsychoSpiritual talk therapy gives you a special resiliency that transforms your life.
Depression and Addictions
Addictions never occur out of the blue, as they are always a person’s unhealthy coping mechanism for some underlying psychological struggle. Depression is a common underlying struggle an individual tries to use addictions to self-medicate, escape, or soothe. Unfortunately, all abused substances, when used frequently, are depressants, so the underlying depression worsens. If depression wasn’t the initial cause of the addiction, it is now a severely complicating factor. Someone with co-occurring disorders must be correctly diagnosed and treated accordingly. Treatment for dual diagnosis consists of addressing all 3 spheres as described above for both the depression and addiction.
Lighthouse Network Has Hope and Answers for You, Call Now
Lighthouse Network offers true help for individuals with mental health disorders like depression. Someone with depression struggles with hopelessness and despair, but we know that true hope can be found through new life in Christ. Through knowledge of Jesus Christ’s saving work and allowing His transformation to occur in the heart and mind, new life is possible. We use Christian counseling, therapy, and rehabilitation to be he foundation of a BioPsychoSpiritual approach to provide help, hope, and healing for those struggling with depression.
Contact Lighthouse Network at 844-Life-Change (844-543-3242) today to learn more about help for depression and other mental health issues.