Causes of depression
Without going into details, interesting only to specialists, all causes of depression can be divided into two groups: reactive and endogenous. I must say that this is a very simplified classification, which can be supplemented by depression of the elderly, alcohol and drug depression and some others. But nevertheless, basically it is true and for the purposes of our discussion is sufficient.
Reactive depressions are caused by some external traumatic situation, such as the death of a loved one, loss of a workplace, parting with a loved one(s). Endogenous depressions are based on genetic predisposition and are caused by metabolic disorders of special substances of the brain-neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses, for the correct formation and coordinated work of the processes of inhibition and excitation in the brain.
In fact, both of these reasons are interrelated, it is obvious that different people can react differently to the same traumatic situation. A person with initially low levels of neurotransmitters is more likely to get depression than a more fortunate individual. At the same time, if you create a hypothetical situation with the absence of all external traumatic stimuli, there is a high probability that a person even with a very burdened heredity will never know what depression is.
So, regardless of the cause that caused the depression, its biochemical basis is a violation of the exchange of brain mediators, namely serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
Why is it important to know?
Because the drug therapy of depression is based on the alignment of this imbalance, and it should be understood exactly how the lack of a mediator to choose the right drug for treatment. It is quite rare to find a disease in which the exchange of all three mediators is disturbed equally, as there is no ideal antidepressant, equally affecting the exchange of all these conductors of the nerve impulse.
With a lack of serotonin, anxiety depression can develop, in which a low mood is mixed with causeless anxiety, anxiety for insignificant reasons. A deficit of norepinephrine manifests itself by lack of energy, lack of energy, fatigue, and dopamine is responsible for a person receiving pleasure from something, and, accordingly, in violation of his exchange occurs hedonia (loss of sense of pleasure), the food seems tasteless, unfunny jokes, uninteresting reading.
What kind of drugs affect the balance of these neurotransmitters, will be described in the Chapter “Antidepressants“, now it is enough to just remember this information and listen to your feelings, try to understand what symptoms you have expressed to a greater extent.
It is also important to understand the following. External causes of depression do not always lie on the surface, can not always be realized by man. In this respect, the sometimes used term “causeless depression” is not quite correct, it would be more correct to say”depression, the causes of which are not understood”. In practice, this means the existence of mental material, forced into the subconscious of a person, traumatic situation from the distant past, perhaps from early childhood. The psyche of a person at this age is not completely formed and sufficiently stable, that an adult is a trifle, for a child can have the scale of a universal catastrophe. The child is simply unable to exist in the presence of such a situation, and then the protective mechanism of the psyche triggers, causing displacement and external forgetting of the traumatic episode.
I deliberately write “external”, because in fact the situation has not gone away, it has remained unresolved, suppressed psychic energy continues to exist in the subconscious and bombard from there the psyche of an adult, to influence his actions, beliefs, perception of certain life situations.
To understand this, it is easiest to imagine a psychoanalytic model of the human psyche, consisting of three parts: consciousness, the pre-conscious and the unconscious. Consciousness is a set of thoughts, feelings, experiences of a person that are in his perception here and now. The area of the pre-conscious is the experience, which, although not realized at this moment, but can recover, go into consciousness either spontaneously or under the influence of external influence. The unconscious is a receptacle of instincts that exist on the principle of pleasure and are a source of mental strength and energy of man. Such a division of the psyche is not present in the child initially, and appears as his socialization, education, training standards of behavior adopted in society.
That is, the child is explained that some of his desires are unacceptable and even shameful, as a result, over time, he develops an internal censor, a kind of conscience that monitors the prevention and rejection of such aspirations. But the instinctive impulses are very strong, and so easy to give them up does not work, as a result in the human psyche is a constant struggle between the requirements of society and their own desires. Every mental act and human act, according to Freud, is the result of this struggle.
Such a struggle can wear down the psyche, and to deprive people of the opportunity to exist in society, to prevent this mentality produced a number of protective mechanisms to protect the mind from the ravages of primitive impulses. These include suppression, rejection, displacement, sublimation, projection, rationalization. The presence of these protective mechanisms ensures the preservation of the psyche in a stable state, maintaining the integrity and identity of the individual, in a constant conflict of psychological attitudes.
We are interested in the mechanism of suppression in this case. He is in enforced exile from consciousness of disturbing a person’s memories, causing anxiety, fear, tension. This memory is sent to the storeroom of the unconscious and ideally, if it is not very emotionally charged, should no longer cause a person significant anxiety, finding a way out through any harmless habits, patterns of behavior, mental attitudes.
But in some cases, the traumatic situation has such a strong emotional impact on the child that it continues to manifest itself in the form of externally unmotivated anxiety and sadness. It is in such cases that the patient cannot identify the source of his suffering and speaks of “causeless” depression.
But there is another situation. The cause of depression seems to lie on the surface and is associated with some specific episode from the recent past or present. Over time, the traumatic situation is resolved, it would seem, with it should go away and depression, but very often this does not happen.
The reason is that the realized situation from the present serves as a kind of associative trigger and touches the spiritual strings associated with a similar past negative experience, forced into the unconscious. For example, having received at work a scolding from the chief, a person suffers not only from this fact, but also from the painful unconscious anguish, which can be caused by a simple resemblance of the color of the tie of the head and the father of the patient, who hit him in childhood for some fault.
As a result, a person can change his place of work, completely change his current circumstances, but he does not get better. This small conflict episode served only as a push, the trigger which lifted the muddy Deposit from the bottom of his unconscious. Over time, perhaps, this precipitate will calm down, but with a high degree of probability it is possible to predict the repetition of a depressive episode, if a person once again finds himself in a similar situation in the future. And now imagine how much repressed pain we have accumulated in our entire lives, and you will realize that in fact we all walk on a minefield, risking their daily peace of mind.
How to deal with this? There are several fundamental approaches: you can suppress the painful memories of taking psychotropic drugs, cutting off part of yourself and continuing to pressurize the boiling pot of your unconscious, you can work out your current problems with a psychotherapist and learn to live with these problems, and you can try to throw out the accumulated pain and find true liberation, and with it the integrity of your personality.
Needless to say, the latter is the only way.