How to Beat Depression:
Symptoms of being Depressed and Step by Step Treatment Options
What is Depression
Depression is a psychological condition that is a chronic (long term) combination of many other feelings, attitudes, moods and behaviors. While it is natural and normal to experience sadness and other less pleasant emotions during the course of our lives, being depressed is serious enough that it is classified as a mental condition as it interferes with the enjoyment and functioning of your life.
The DSM-V, is a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, and it classifies depression when you have at least five of the following symptoms at the same time:
- A depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
- Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
- Insomnia (an inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive, sleeping) almost every day
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
- A sense of restlessness or being slowed down
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
The key signs of having depression is either depressed mood or loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed lasting longer than a period of 2 weeks. Generally you are not considered depressed if you have just lost a loved one or a major significant event has occurred. Generally depression is for reasons that are usually unknown to the person suffering from it.
The Positive Side of Depression
Being depressed can have a positive side. I kid you not! This is an important time for self reflection.
Typically we have many psychological systems in place to protect our ego. Our self serving bias is designed to protect our sense of self esteem by placing the responsibility of our behavior elsewhere. For example if we were to be walking down a street and the person who just pushed past us in a hurry, trips on the footpath – we might smile to ourselves and say “Serves them right”. A few moments later we also trip – this time with some indignation we claim out loud “The City Council should fix this bump on the pavement”.
In the same way we are psychologically protected with regards to how well we are performing our jobs, how wonderful we would be to have as a friend, how our bodies need just a ‘tiny bit’ of physical activity and how well life is going for us. When you are feeling sad or depressed these protection systems are greatly diminished. This is of course no surprise to anyone who has experience depression – the whole reason we are depressed is because of how our lives are going (or at least our perception at the time).
Re-framing the Situation
When we are depressed we have an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate our lives. As the saying goes “Every cloud has a Silver Lining” and so it can be when we are feeling depressed. This must be down carefully, we must acknowledge at the conscious and intellectual level, that while we currently ‘feel’ a certain mood – this feeling is not our reality.
With our ego defending systems not working as well as usual, this can be an excellent time to re-evaluate our lives and plot action to be taken to remedy the situation. Are you depressed for justified reasons? Is it only now you fully realize just how incomplete your social circle is? Has it dawned on you the amount of money you have spent smoking? Are you indeed actually FAT and not just a few pounds over?
Imagine how wonderful it would be, to have an opportunity to use the depression to adjust your life? Sure you acknowledge that for now; the feelings you have, make it seem like it is pointless even attempting to make a change – but what about later? What if you went to the gym? or developed a social circle? would you still have cause to ponder and think about all the reasons your life is not working out? What if you used this time when you are predetermined to see everything that is wrong in life to actually evaluate and change your life?
You are in a prime position where there is a balance – at this time you are over sensitive to the situation in a negative light, but how wonderful you get to do a really over the top in depth analysis of all the things you can change in your life. Once you have thought about this for a long enough period of time you can then instruct your subconscious mind – time to take action! Then you can focus on the real benefit of having spent some time feeling depressed – an Action plan on what to do to make your life better.
The Role of the Sub Conscious and Depression
When you understand what the sub conscious mind is and how it works (Sub Conscious Mind Article) you begin to see how the never-ending circle gets worse without any effort on your part.
Subconscious thought creation
Sub Conscious in a Nutshell
The Subconscious mind wants to give you what you want, and it knows what you want by listening to the thoughts you have and the questions you ask yourself. Once it has an idea of the type of attitudes and behaviors you are asking for – it goes about creating them for you automatically.
As part of how this is done, your mind is drawn to events, situations and interpretations that are likely to support or provide an answer to the questions you are asking.
The problem with depression from an unconscious mind therapy prospective is when you are depressed you ask yourself questions and have thoughts that are created automatically by the attitude and mood you are in. People hardly ever monitor or pay attention to the types of thoughts they have (they are on auto pilot) so the thoughts and questions are taken by the sub conscious as instructions on what to create automatically for you and it does this by creating beliefs and behaviors that are likely to support and find evidence for the types of things it thinks you want.
For example, when you are feeling depressed and are unmotivated and do not feel like doing anything you may ask yourself (without paying any attention to what you are asking) something along the lines of “Why can’t I be bothered going out with my friends” or “Why do I feel like the whole world is against me” . Your sub conscious in an attempt to provide an answer to these questions may create a feeling of lethargy or focus in on a completely normal event and create a feeling of suspicion or doubt. This then adds to the intensity of the attitude and mood which then creates more automatic thoughts and so on, repeating the cycle. Long term moods create a change in the brain chemistry and the physical aspects of depression are well known.
How do I know if I am Depressed?
To really know if you are Depressed you will need to have a psychological assessment that measures your responses to questions that are standardized across cultures to make this scientific assessment. Oh course when you are feeling depressed in the sense that we are all aware, the idea of going to a shrink to find out is not only sometimes embarrassing, we just lack the motivation to get off our arse and do something.
While there are many online tabloid types of “Are you Depressed?” tests, they are essentially simple quizzes for entertainment rather than offer any real information. One psychological profile test that is worth doing (as it is used by courts as well as psychological institutes to evaluate depression) is the MMPI-2. While not free, this test is available either through a qualified psychologist ($500 plus) or if you wish to do it yourself the MMPI Test Online is also available for $4
Treatment Options for Depression
Medicine for Depression is the most common approach by professions in the treatment of choice. There are many different types of medication which work differently within the brain – but the main effect is to change the brain chemistry.
It makes life much easier when you are taking a drug that interrupts the physical response triggered by the types of thoughts and moods you are having. If you can not for example manufacture the neurotransmitters related to being sad and depressed – it makes it easier to stop the types of thoughts and behaviors that are associated with depression.
Medication gets more than it deserves in bad press and emotional opinion by the general public. People forget that depression leads to higher suicide rates, and the media like to make a big deal about someone on medication killing themselves or others. The facts are, that medication works and works very well. It can sometimes take a while to get the right dose and type for an individual – but overall antidepressants work very well for people and should be considered if depression is a persistent condition in their lives.
2) Counseling and Cognitive Therapy
Psychology and counseling approach to treating depression is to teach people how to monitor and control their thoughts and feelings and challenge incorrect assumptions and behavior. Patients take on the (or at least some) responsibility for the condition and having the knowledge of what types of mood and behavior traits are known about when suffering from depression
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) is a typical and highly successful approach that allows patients to have a sense of mindful awareness and to notice the types of thoughts they are having and talk themselves into alternative and more desirable actions and reactions to the influence of the mood they are in.
These approaches are also very successful, especially if the person has the benefit of the medication to aid a brain state that makes it easier to challenge the conscious thoughts they are having automatically and create a situation where they are supported and understood. This approach can take many months for a difference to be noticed.
3) Hypnotherapy for Depression
Hypnosis and modalities that work with the Sub Conscious mind primarily use the same approach as the Counseling and Cognitive approach of therapy. However they do it in a state of mind where the unconscious is able to listen to the suggestions (thoughts and questions) and start to create a change immediately.
Hypnotherapy and Subliminal Message Treatment for Depression
There is no doubt about it, using affirmations, and monitoring and challenging your thoughts (No 2 above) will produce a result. They will over time begin to make an impression on your sub conscious mind. The simply reality is, if it was as easy as just deciding to be ‘not depressed’ then people would not need help with depression. This message has to be communicated to your sub conscious mind, and nothing is better than hypnosis to accomplish this.
Hypnosis creates a state of mind, a relaxed place where communication of your desires and wishes are sent directly to the part of you that creates the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors Hypnotherapy for depression allows you to make an instant impact upon your mood and also to understand the relationship between the thoughts you are having and how it will affect you later on down the line.
And it works. Studies consistently show that using hypnotherapy for depression produces results far greater and quicker than any other form of therapy including a combination of medication and counseling. Just a few of the studies are referenced at the bottom of the page.
Research Results using Hypnotherapy Treatment of Depression
Barabasz, Arreed F. (1976). Treatment of insomnia in depressed patients by hypnosis and cerebral electrotherapy. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 19, 120-122.
Bellet, P. (1992). Hypnosis and Depression. In Peter, B.; Schmidt, G. (Ed.), Erickson in Europa (pp. 112-121).
Burrows, Graham D. (1980). Affective disorders and hypnosis. In Burrows, Graham D.; Dennerstein, Lorraine (Ed.), Handbook of hypnosis and psychosomatic medicine (pp. 149-170).
De L. Horne, David J.; Baillie, Jennifer (1979). Imagery differences between anxious and depressed patients. In Burrows, G. D.; Collison, D. R.; Dennerstein, L. (Ed.), Hypnosis 1979 (pp. 55-61).
Detito, J.; Baer, L. (1986). Hypnosis in the treatment of depression. Psychological Reports, 58 (3), 923-929.
Dryden, S. C. (1966). Hypnosis as an approach to the depressed patient. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 9 (2), 135-138.
Erickson, Milton H.; Kubie, L. S. (1941). The successful treatment of a case of acute hysterical depression by a return under hypnosis to a critical phase of childhood. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 10, 592-609.
Gravitz, Melvin A. (2001). Percepual reconstruction in the treatment of inordinate grief. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 44 ((1)), 51-55.
Greene, R. J. (1973). Combining rational-emotive and hypnotic techniques: Treating depression. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 10, 71-73.
Keefe, Francis J.; et al (1986). Depression, pain, and pain behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54 (5), 665-669.
Levit, H. I. (1973). Depression, back pain and hypnosis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 15 (4), 263.
Martin, Maryanne (1990). On the induction of mood. Clinical Psychology Review, 10, 669-697.
Matheson, George (1979). Modification of depressive symptoms through posthypnotic suggestion. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 22 (1), 61-64
Reardon, J. P.; Tosi, D. J.; Gwynne, P. H. (1977). Treatment of depression through rational stage directed hypnotherapy (RSDH) – Case study. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 14, 95-103.