Sunday, May 31, 2015

Depression - The Symptoms and Treatment

According to, "in a recent study by the Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre in Western Australia, of 400 children aged 9 to 12, 16 were found to be clinically depressed, with 112 assessed as being vulnerable to future depression." Children that are depressed believed in the acquisition of happiness through fame, money and beauty. Happier children, on the other hand, believed that it came from healthy attitudes and pursuing worthwhile goals.

Depression is a sad reality, something that takes over the lives of so many youngsters and adults. Check out the below symptoms and decide for yourself - have you ever suffered from a depression or are you suffering from one? Is anyone you know? Also check out the rest of this post -- after all, what counts is to look forward to the future and get better!

The Symptoms

  • Continuous exhaustion 
  • Disrupted sleep or inability to fell asleep
  • Upsetting dreams
  • Abandoning favourite hobbies or sports
  • Difficulties of concentration (deteriorating performance at school)
  • Anxiousness
  • Upsetting thoughts 
  • Easily becoming emotional or upset for no apparent reason 
  • Shortness of temper; irritability
  • Physically or verbally aggressive  
  • Increased passive TV watching
  • Misuse of drugs and alcohol
  • Destructive and/or defiant behavior. 
  • Hallucinations or unusual beliefs. 
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty or worthless or unhappy
  • Belief that life is not worth living
  • Frequent absences from school/work
  • Being bored 
  • Being indecisive
  • Difficulty making decisions 
  • Changes in feeling, thinking and perceiving (all or nothing thinking)
  • Feeling guilty and not good enough, worthlessness, a failure
  • Cries easily, looks sad, feels alone or isolated 
  • Wants to be perfect
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts

You don't need to have all of the above to be depressed. But you do need to realize the seriousness of the situation: 90% of teen suicides came from teenagers who had a diagnosable mental illness, depression being the most common.

What You Should Know

  1. Antidepressants are only effective in about a third of the cases, and only partially effective in another third. There is no definitive proof that medication is an effective depression treatment.
  2. People suffering depression that are treated solely with drugs have an 80% chance of a relapse. (Alternative treatment such as cognitive behaviour therapy have 70% better success rates (without relapse)... they prevent relapse in 70% more cases than drugs!).

    The Important Part: How to Get Better

    The most famous: Psychodynamic counseling. The often-unknown truth: it DOES NOT work. In fact, it is likely to deteriorate the depression. Why? Well, because psychodynamic counseling's approach is one of digging into the past, opening the healing scabs of trauma and painful memories.

    In fact, I'm personally of the opinion that it is not at all relevant to get insights into your past in order to improve your future life. You can just look directly at your future and make sure this will be better than your life was yesterday. This is because looking at the past can have negative consequences:
    • Depressed people look plenty at the past already.
    • The main reason to look at the past is to find 'a reason why.' The problem is, there might be none, or there might be so many it becomes overwhelming. Anyways, how does discovering the origin really make the problem go away?
    • It stirs up emotions you might not have wanted to revisit, making the depression worse.
    • Rather than equip people with skills for the future, it rummages through the past. Need I say any more?
    However, just because one therapy type does not work (very well) does not mean that all therapy is useless. Cognitive therapy, for example, is based in the idea that all emotion comes from thought. In this way, people can be taught to think positively and change their mindset, which can decrease the signs of depression. I am by no means an expert, but I do suggest you check this out before getting in contact with a therapist and choosing with who to continue (or start up) treatment.

    Rather than problem-focused or origin-focused, therapy should be solution-focused. However, there are also things you yourself can do to help overcome your depression:
    1. Come to terms with your condition.
    2. Learn to love your qualities. Upon going to bed, make a list of what you are thankful for.
    3. Do the things you (used to) enjoy.
    4. Take your mind off of your worries. Go for a jog, go shopping, meet up with friends.
    5. If you have pets, spend time with them (cuddling, playing).
    6. Stop yourself when you are having negative thoughts or experiencing 'all or nothing' thinking.
    7. Read to keep your mind busy (other things that might work include playing an instrument, working, and, though not quite as effective, watching TV).
    8. Exercise!
    9. Know when you are most vulnerable or sad, and learn how to deal with these moments. Does it help to surround yourself with friends or family, or is there a certain activity that helps?
    10. Relax. Do not allow anxiety or anger to take over. Take a long warm bath, or try out yoga or meditation.
    11. Laugh. It relieves stress.
    12. Get enough sunshine. It elevates your mood.
    13. Avoid sugar and grains. You don't have to eliminate them entirely, but limit your intake - foods high in gluten and sugar have been linked to depression. Make sure you eat enough fruit and vegetables, and eat regularly (even if you aren't hungry).
    14. Maintain a regular eating and sleeping pattern.
    15. Become one with yourself again, and learn to listen to your basic needs.
    Most importantly, accept help. And accept yourself, acknowledging your own qualities and uniqueness. Because you are worth it. You are perfect.


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