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Opinion | The Real Causes Of Depression Have Been Discovered, And They're Not What You Think

How depression is measured

Depression is often measured by scientists using something called the Hamilton Scale. It runs from 0 (where you are dancing in ecstasy) to 59 (where you are suicidal). 

  • Improving your sleep patterns gives you a movement on the Hamilton Scale of around 6 points. 
  • Chemical antidepressants give you an improvement, on average, of 1.8 points, according to research by professor Irving Kirsch of Harvard University. 

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Opinion | The Real Causes Of Depression Have Been Discovered, And They're Not What You Think

Opinion | The Real Causes Of Depression Have Been Discovered, And They're Not What You Think

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/opinion-hari-depression-causes_n_5a6a144de4b0ddb658c46a21

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Key Ideas

How depression is measured

Depression is often measured by scientists using something called the Hamilton Scale. It runs from 0 (where you are dancing in ecstasy) to 59 (where you are suicidal). 

  • Improving your sleep patterns gives you a movement on the Hamilton Scale of around 6 points. 
  • Chemical antidepressants give you an improvement, on average, of 1.8 points, according to research by professor Irving Kirsch of Harvard University. 

Causes of depression

Many leading scientists believe the whole idea that depression is caused by a “chemically imbalanced” brain is wrong. 

There are in fact nine major causes of depression and anxiety that are unfolding all around us. Two are biological, and seven are out in here in the world, rather than sealed away inside our skulls.

Childhood trauma can cause depression

When you’re a child, you have very little power to change your environment. So, you have two choices.

  1. You can admit to yourself that you are powerless and there’s simply nothing you can do about it.
  2. You can tell yourself it’s your fault and at some strange level under your control. If you were responsible for being hurt, then at some level, you have to think you deserved it.

Release your shame

Researchers tried discussing shame with ordinary patients that came for care. They were told something like, “I see you went through this bad experience as a child. I am sorry this happened to you. Would you like to talk about it?”

Just being able to discuss the trauma led to a huge fall in future illnesses. The act of releasing your shame is – in itself – healing.

Biological factors are not primary drivers

Depression and anxiety are mostly being caused by events in our lives. You are far more likely to become depressed:

  • If you find your work meaningless and you feel you have no control over i.
  • If you are lonely and feel that you can’t rely on the people around you to support you.
  • If you think life is all about buying things and climbing up the ladder.
  • If you think your future will be insecure.

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How to reach out for support

  • Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. They just need to be a good listener.
  • Make face-time a priority. Talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression.
  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. 
  • Find ways to support others. 
  • Caring for a pet can get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed.
  • Join a support group for depression. 

Do things that make you feel good

Do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.

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Get Help

Working with a therapist or support group is the best way to help you cope with your symptoms, which in turn will help you better manage your professional life.

Find Support

It’s key to find trusted friends or family who can support you through this difficult time. 

Participating in a depression and anxiety therapy group is a great way to learn coping strategies for the workplace from other participants.

Set Clear Goals

  • Set very clear goals for yourself and be realistic about what you would be able to accomplish. Do it on a daily basis.
  • Create lists for the day and highlight your top priorities.
  • Double-check any important memos, give yourself extra time to prepare assignments, and have a colleague give your work a second look.
The road to recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.

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