Depression is a mood disorder, and is characterized by low moods, apathy, sleep problems, decreased interests, feelings of guilt, feelings of hopelessness, low energy level, poor concentration, poor appetite, and thoughts of self-harm. Depression is also known as major depressive disorder. In this article, I discuss how depression develops as illustrated in a flowchart. Here is an example of a negative cycle of depression:
So let’s go through each item of the negative cycle of depression. So let’s say you have job stress, and this is triggering you to have thoughts about the job stress. It is the situation that induces thoughts about the event. So you may think: “All is hopeless,” or “I’m useless,” or “I can’t handle the stress.” It is these thoughts that induce depression, and you have low mood, The Blues, and apathy. In addition, you get the physical effects of depression, which include fatigue, insomnia, poor concentration, and poor appetite. The depression makes you withdraw, delay work deadlines, and call in absent from work. You may even not get out of bed, as what is the point of it all? So you see how this becomes a problem, especially when you have obligations at school, work, and/or relationships. Depression significantly affects performance in work and school.
Because of the fatigue, sleep problems, and negative thinking, you end up doing less and less, and you start to withdraw and isolate. However, the withdrawal maintains the thought that all is hopeless. Therefore, this negative, vicious cycle of depression continues: the stressors induces the thoughts, and these negative thoughts induce depressive feelings, which then compels you to withdraw and isolate. So instead of just getting out of bed and having done SOMETHING that day to have a sense of accomplishment, you withdraw and do less and less, and this maintains your thoughts of hopelessness and negativity. But with withdrawal, you never get to find out that the depression will go away naturally if you just get out of bed and do SOMETHING.
The solution, then, to break this negative cycle of depression is CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). CBT breaks the negative cycle of depression by helping you change how you think and what you do. The focus is on changing the way you think and do things, as it is difficult to change the way you feel. For more help on breaking the negative cycle of depression, please visit AnxietyBoss.com.
photo credit: Neil. Moralee Shut out the world. via photopin (license)
Ben Kaneaiakala says
As a behavioral health provider, we see that many of our new depression clients begin to self medicate in some way. Often times we see co-occurring alcohol or drug abuse. I think that this is another stem of the horrible depression cycle that occurs. The question is what comes first the chicken or the egg, and in many suffering from depression, their condition leads into substance abuse.
Thanks for this informative article, depression is a serious condition and the more awareness that we can provide, hopefully the more people will reach out and get help.
Dr. Carlo says
Thank you for your insights on alcohol and drug abuse, and how some people with depression self-medicate, then develop into its own substance use disorder. Please send you clients to AnxietyBoss.com for more help and insights on anxiety and depression.