With 322 million people suffering with depression worldwide, it’s not surprising to learn that in America, depression is among the most common mental disorders. The cause of depression is often simplified as a chemical imbalance in the brain, but the reality is that the disease is far more complicated. Scientific research has yet to completely understand the biology of depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors.
What Causes Depression?
The disease of depression is the complicated combination previously described; this disease gives you the predisposition to fall into a depression after having experienced a negative external event. For example, getting fired from a job might send one person into a deep depression, while another simply bounces back after experiencing the initial sadness and disappointment.
Many experts in the cognitive behavioral field believe that depression is caused by, and worsens, with distorted negative thinking. The emotions you experience during an episode of depression are created by negative thoughts and perceptions. Your feelings will result from the meaning you attach to those thoughts. If you eliminate distorted, negative thoughts, you will find it easier to cope with the negative event that triggered your depression.
Why Did I Feel Fine Yesterday?
If you felt fine yesterday, but today feel depressed and hopeless, distorted thinking may be to blame. As an example, let’s say you woke up late and had to rush to work. This put you in a bad mood, and you started thinking distorted negative thoughts. “I’m always late. I’m a loser. My boss is going to be angry at me all day. He probably hates me anyway. I’m going to get fired.” As the day goes on, every event will be processed through this negative filter, causing you to feel worse.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps you challenge negative patterns of thought. By challenging these thoughts, you can improve your mood. For example, “I’m always late.” This is an overgeneralization. More than likely, you have not been late that often. If this is something you want to change, you can alter your schedule and habits to become more punctual.
Depression is a complicated illness, and as such is best managed by comprehensive treatment. If you’re suffering from depression, a licensed therapist can help you understand your mood disorder and develop strategies to cope with and improve your symptoms.
Together, we can develop a plan for you to create the life you want to live. Give my office a call today, and let’s schedule a time to talk.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW