5 key ideas to understand depression
A review of several fundamental ideas to know in order to really understand what depression is.
Major depression is a psychological disorder that is often explained through very vague and general concepts. To some extent this is not surprising, given that this psychopathological disorder is complicated to understand, given its complexity.
In this article we will see in a little more detail what this psychological disorder consists of, through a tour of several key ideas to understand what it is. several key ideas to understand what is depression..
Key ideas to understand major depression
With the most common psychological disorders it happens a lot that precisely because they are part of popular culture, it is easy for myths and conceptual distortions to arise about them. This also happens with depression, a psychopathology that virtually everyone has heard of but of which few know the details well..
The latter is normal, of course; no one is obliged to know everything, especially in the face of a body of knowledge full of nuances and complexities, as is the case with the changing and varying nature (depending on the individual who develops them) of mental disorders.
However, it is important to know at least some basic it is important to know at least some basic ideas about depressive disorders in general.Thanks to this, it will be easier to detect its symptoms quickly and seek professional help in time, to help the people around us who may be suffering from this disorder, and even not to blame ourselves for the discomfort generated by psychopathology.
In this sense, here you will find, by way of summary, a series of key ideas that will help you understand what major depression is and how it behaves.
1. It is not a purely medical disease
All psychological disorders have part of their causes in Biological processes that arise from the functioning of the body, and especially those that have to do with the nervous activity of the brain and the production and regulation of hormones.
However, unlike the diseases typically addressed by medicine, it is also true that a large part of the causes and triggers of these illnesses can be traced back to the brain. much of the causes and triggers of depression are not biomedical, but psycho-social.. While a viral infection or a muscular injury can be analyzed and approached clinically taking into account certain molecular structures and cellular tissues found only in that individual, in psychological problems the problem cannot be reduced to what happens inside the person, but also extends to his context: to the way in which he interacts with it in his daily life, and the way in which it influences him.
Therefore, in order to overcome depression, it is necessary to intervene in the psychological processes that are embodied in the person's actions. These actions may consist of observable patterns of behavior (such as spending many hours of the day without getting out of bed or off the couch) and others that consist of mental processes (such as clinging to pessimistic beliefs about oneself).
2. No one is to blame for suffering from depression
From what we have seen in the previous section, depression has a behavioral aspect. However, we should not make the mistake of assuming that every person who has developed depression is to blame for it.
We should not forget that the fact that something does not have solely biological causes does not mean that it is of one's own makingor that by simply making a series of decisions, the psychopathology would not have arisen.
While many of the complications with biological causes that affect us are easily treatable (for example, vision problems that can be treated with glasses or surgery), numerous forms of psychological discomfort that affect us on a daily basis appear in us as a result of learning that we do automatically and unconsciously, and although they are given to us by our social interactions, we are unable to "eliminate" them from the root of our way of behaving and feeling. For example, the effect of having lost a loved one, which would not exist if we had not developed an emotional bond with that person.
In short, the fact that something has its origins in the learning we have been doing and in the behavior patterns we have internalized has nothing to do with our ability to control this psychological phenomenon.In the same way that certain medical alterations can be solved in a matter of hours and others last a lifetime.
3. The main emotion of depression is not always sadness.
Many people believe that depression is something like sadness taken to the extreme, but this is not true. First of all, the difference between suffering from depression and not suffering from depression is qualitative, not quantitative.It is not a matter of experiencing a great deal of sadness or any other type of normal emotion, but of suffering symptoms that, on the whole, do not occur in people without mental health problems.
Secondly, many people with depression do not even use the term "sadness" to express what they feel: it is even more common to speak of disinterest, lack of motivation or hopelessness, referring to an affective flattening in the face of which sadness would be a more intense emotion than what one feels.
4. The problem is the discomfort, not the "label".
What must be overcome is not the "label" of being a person with depression, but the malaise itself.. Psychological disorders are not an essential part of a person's identity, since if they were, there would be no reason to treat them, and on the other hand it is known that in most cases they are treatable and can be mitigated through therapy.
To say that someone has depression simply means that he or she has developed a series of forms of discomfort that it is useful to call "depression" in order to understand its functioning and offer solutions; this does not imply that the concept of "depression" is inseparable from the person's "I." In any case, what will be part of that individual's identity is the set of actions that he or she will take to relate to that disorder for the duration of the latter. In any case, what will be part of that individual's identity is the set of actions he or she will take to relate to that disorder for as long as the latter lasts.
5. Depression overlaps a lot with anxiety
Although everything related to depression makes us think of people "off" or with a passive attitude and a feeling of helplessness in the face of life, in practice their way of experiencing life is usually more complex.
For example, many people who have developed payor depression also have anxiety problems.This is what is known as an anxious-depressive condition. In such cases, symptoms such as demotivation and hopelessness are combined with moments when the person experiences high nervous activity that leads him or her to be in a "state of alert", attentive to the slightest sign that he or she has to react quickly to potential danger.
Looking for psychological treatment for depression?
If you notice that you suffer from an emotional problem that negatively affects your quality of life, I invite you to contact me to start a psychotherapy process.. I am a psychologist federated by the FEAP and I have more than 20 years of professional experience attending people in the field of psychotherapy. I currently conduct face-to-face sessions in my office in Seville and also online sessions by video call.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)