According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 10 percent of American adults experience depression at some point in their lives. If someone you care about is suffering from depression, you would probably do anything to help him or her feel better. However, after countless pep talks and other attempts to boost your friend or family member's spirits, it is understandable to grow frustrated – especially if it seems like the individual doesn't actively want to pull themselves out of this slump. Guilt inevitably follows, and you may feel even more distant from your loved one than before.
First, don't beat yourself up for feeling this way. This is an incredibly painful and frustrating aspect of depression for sufferers and their supporters. From the outside, depression can almost seem self-indulgent, like an individual is choosing to pity themselves rather than actively improve their lives. However, clinical depression is actually characterized by chemical processes in the brain that take it far beyond a simple case of the blues. For people battling depression, there is no clear explanation for the emptiness they may feel, and adding shame and anxiety to the mix only makes matters worse.
Recently, Therese Borchard of PsychCentral shared a few common but sometimes misguided suggestions people make to individuals battling depression.
In response to urgings to simply cheer up and think positively, Borchard notes,"While optimism is certainly important in training the brain, studies have shown that people who are severely depressed or acutely anxious only activate their amygdalas (fear center of the brain) by forcing positive thinking."
In this same vein, Borchard focused on the belief that people with depression can ultimately will themselves to get better, and that they have "everything [they] need" to do so in their mind. This argument, she notes, negates the effectiveness and even the need for pharmaceuticals to supplement therapy and aid recovery. While antidepressants are not the only avenue to treat depression, they can and do benefit many patients.
We often discuss the stigma surrounding drug addiction on this blog, but people with depression must also contend with a certain degree of scorn. However, depression is an illness, pure and simple, and it requires the same degree of expertise to treat effectively.
At Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, our team of psychiatrists and medial professionals are on hand to provide support for patients and families alike as they work toward recovery. We distinguish ourselves from other treatment centers in Florida by offering dual diagnosis treatment that addresses psychological issues alongside eating disorders, drug addiction and other concurrent behaviors. This approach was developed by Fairwinds Treatment Center founder Dr. El-Yousef, who is a nationally recognized leader in dual diagnosis treatment and addiction medicine. Contact us today to learn more about treatment for personality disorders.