We experience mood fluctuations as part of life’s circumstances. You could wake up tired and spend your morning low on energy and disinterred but by the afternoon you are on a lunch date with your friends, up and laughing again. However, if you have a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest, you could be suffering from depression. Hence, depression is a mood disorder and it can be triggered by disability, illness, loss of a job or death of a loved one or it can just occur, as they as, from the blues.
Depression, signs to look out for
It may not be apparent to you when you suffer depression and hence you would not bother to seek help. Spotting and understanding your depression is the first step towards treatment. If you are worried that you might be depressed, look out for the following signs;
- Feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing
- Loss of interest in things or activities you usually enjoy
- Changes in appetite; eating less or more
- A general feeling of tiredness
- A stream of negative thoughts
- Aggression, irritability, and restlessness
- Loss in sexual desire
- Sleeping too little or sleeping too much
- Reckless or dangerous behavior
- Increased alcohol intake or perverse substance abuse
- Body aches and pains in the neck, shoulders or back
- Recurrent suicidal thoughts
There are up to 3 types of depression that have been well documented according to the term and frequency of their occurrence and the cluster of signs that accompany them. They are as follows;
- Major Depression: This would involve suffering five or more symptoms of depression for at least two weeks. It is so severe that it interferes with your ability to sleep, eat, work or study. It is normally triggered by an event in your life such as the death of a family member or the sudden end of a romantic relationship.
- Persistent depressive disorder: This would involve a general inability to enjoy life, stress, and irritability. It can last up to two years and can go unnoticed since it is normally less severe than major depression.
- Bipolar disorder: It manifests as a rapidly shifting mood cycle involving manic highs and depressive lows. The lows are particularly of concern because they are crushing.
Some types of depression come about as a result of biological events such as postpartum depression that may occur with females after giving birth. Other depressions occur during life transitions such as retirement, graduating from college to look for a job, and midlife crisis as is common with males.
If you suffer any of these types of depressions, CBT might be able to help in primarily two ways.
- Cognitive component: to help you modify the thought patterns that affect your moods
- Behavioral component: seeks to change your behavioral responses to stressful situations to stop the cycle of depression.
1. Cognitive component
Your therapist will help you identify negative thoughts and thinking patterns which create negative emotions that dull your mood. They will give you the chance to explore the source of your negative thoughts but they will not dwell on the past. The focus will be on the present and how to alleviate your depression.
They will help you question the validity or usefulness of your negative thoughts and emotions. In cognitive therapy, your negative thought patterns will be unlearned and instead, you will learn to think positively and realistically so that you can stay motivated and energized to lift yourself out of depression.
2. Behavioral component
Your therapist will guide you to assess how your daily routines and reactions to events affect your mood. They will give you enough time to express yourself without interruption. You will talk about what irritates you the most and things that have led to you feeling sad and drained as well as those that have led you to feel energized and motivated.
With enough information on how you react to situations, they will encourage you to explore behaviors that lift your spirits. They might likely depressive scenarios to you and guide you towards positive reactions. For example, if they realize that you get irritated easily, they might pose to you such a scenario in a role-playing behavior-altering strategy…
“Supposing you are at your local convenient store and someone shoves you over to be the next in line. What would you do?
- Utter curse words at them
- Do nothing and frown away
- Tell them that you were next inline
- Address the storekeeper concerning them”
Your therapist would help you realize that angry responses and passive-aggressive behavior affects your mood long after an incident like the one described above occurs. The right reaction would be to address your irritant with a level head, avoid being overly emotional and picking up fights. If logic fails, then address the authority in place since there are rules and social norms everywhere that demand people to act right.
With effective application of CBT, you will realize the power of your thoughts and your actions in affecting your mood and with this understanding, you can learn to beat depression. Seek Cognitive behavioral therapy services for depression today.