by Mike Lally
Depression is generally characterised as a mood disorder. However, depression is more than just a low mood, it is a serious illness.
A lowered mood and a general loss of interest and lack of anything pleasurable in life tends to typify the symptoms of depression.
It is accepted that healthy people undergo a wide range of moods in a given period. This is quite normal; we all have our “ups and downs” – simple, everyday mood swings.
How an experience is perceived will determine the way in which a person will respond. An emotional response to any situation is the outcome of a complex evaluative cognitive process.
The scope and variety of risk factors associated with a depressive disorder are so extensive it is almost pointless attempting to identify how likely any one person may be predisposed to the illness.
This all-encompassing characteristic of depression serves as a warning that none of us are immune.
The risk factors not only touch upon several areas of a person’s current life, they cover a number of interactions and the interplay between genetics, biochemistry, upbringing, recent stress, and personal adaptability.
Even though the characteristics are across-the-board, it is possible to extract and explain the current causes that pinpoint why a person is distressed.
In many cases the nature of the illness boils down to genetics and stress.
This ranges from a family history of mental illness to stress-related events such as marital difficulties and unemployment.
Though we share common experiences and produce similar emotions, we are all one-of-a-kind and respond to adversity in a singular fashion.
How vulnerable is a person? Again, this requires understanding the overall genetic influence, the physiological and neurological chemistry that exists, plus assessing the circumstances affecting a person’s life.
What are the biological traits?
What developmental experiences has the person faced?
What kind of personality do they have?
How well-positioned is a person to seek help?
Is there a support structure available? Once gathered, the evidence will provide important information that will help to predict the course of the illness.
Of course, an emotionally, well-rounded individual with no family history of mental illness, will probably respond more positively to unfavourable events. This should aid recovery if a depressive disorder is experienced.
Specific stressors clearly play a significant role in the onset of the illness.
The ability to cope with serious events such as the loss of a loved one is impossible to quantify exclusively as it will depend upon several factors.
In addition, there are unique phases in a person’s life which will influence how capable a person is of responding to a setback. How a woman responds to pregnancy or a man to redundancy will vary from person to person.
The shifting sands of experience as one stage ends and another begins will test our adaptability and resilience.
It is crucial to make the effort to comprehend that every person is remarkable and unusual in their own right. The meaning a person attaches to an event needs to be evaluated.
We all have our own inimitable story and once narrated it can form the basis for the subsequent treatment and management of the illness.
NLP is particularly useful for eliciting the meaning attached to an event. Behavioural flexibility can make a key difference to the manner in which an event is interpreted.
Facing up to the mental and physical demands of aging confronts all of us. Somatic disturbance and mental tiredness make considerable demands on a person.
Not only can the flesh be weak, the gradual and successive build up of difficult events do tend to accumulate to test the spirit. This mixture of adversity can lead to a depressive disorder.
The capacity to enjoy old age can impose its own unique challenges. Fortunately, many people accept life has its challenges and that stress, though thematically persistent, can be overcome especially with a positive and philosophical mindset.
NLP does provide a structure of how to model a state of excellence to bolster a preventative outlook and assist in a recovery process.
Though the combined biological, psychological, social, and possible spiritual factors in a person’s life can be complex, it is vital to access and assess this information to outline the best course of treatment.
Perhaps the most complex factor is gaining a better understanding of the psychological profile of a person.
This can take significant digging to flesh out any recurring patterns of difficulty. However, when combined, these factors can provide a useful framework for understanding the behaviour of a person.
A depressive disorder can be tackled and overcome with the use of medication supported by psychotherapy.