Category Archives: Depression And Its Link To Childhood Trauma

Articles about various aspects of depression and how our chances of developing the disorder is significantly amplified if we have been subjected to childhood trauma.

Fifteen Types of Depression.

Hypnosis for Depression – Natural Treatment | Self Hypnosis Downloads : Try Introduction And First Module FREE.

On average, and all else being equal, the more traumatic a person’s childhood, the more likely it is that s/he will experience depression at some point in his/her life.

I list below fifteen different categories of depression. A person can fit into more than one category at any one time.

Fifteen Types of Depression. 1

THE FIFTEEN CATEGORIES OF DEPRESSION :

1) AGITATED DEPRESSION – with this type of depression the person suffering from it is constantly restless, intensely worried and deeply anxious/fearful (I suffered this type of depression and was often incapable of even staying seated).

2) RETARDED DEPRESSION – this type of depression causes the person suffering from it to very significantly slow down both mentally and physically (this is technically referred to as PSYCHOMOTOR RETARDATION). There will also be great difficulty in concentrating. In its most extreme manifestation, the afflicted individual cannot move, speak or eat  which carries with it the risk that s/he will starve to death. This state of complete inactivity is sometimes referred to as CATATONIA.

3) PSYCHOTIC DEPRESSION – with this type of depression the individual may lose touch with reality and may suffer from delusions (outlandish false beliefs) or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things which are not there). It can be treated with anti-psychotic medication.

4) NEUROTIC DEPRESSION – (this term is now falling into disuse and is being replaced with the term ‘mild depression). It is a less severe form of depression than psychotic depression (see above) and the person’s mood may fluctuate from day to day and also during the day (often, for example, feeling bad in the morning but improving in the evening). The person suffering from it may have symptoms of irritability and disrupted sleep (finding it hard to go to sleep and frequently waking during the night; however, with this type of depression there does not tend to be early morning waking which is a hallmark of other types).

5) ORGANIC DEPRESSION – this type of depression has a physical cause and can manifest itself as a result of side effects of medication. For example, the British comedian Paul Merton suffered a serious depression, for which he needed to be hospitalized, as a complication of taking anti-malaria tablets.

6) DYSTHYMIA – this is a relatively mild but persistent type of depression. Its main symptoms are low self-esteem and difficulties in making decisions. It often responds better to psychotherapy than to treatment with drugs.

7) BRIEF RECURRENT DEPRESSION – this term is relatively new and refers to serious depression which comes and goes but tends only to last for a few days at a time.

8) MASKED DEPRESSION – this is also sometimes referred to as ‘smiling depression’. Whilst the individual who has this type of depression will report that they DO NOT feel depressed, they will, nevertheless, have some of the symptoms of depression. Indeed, the symptoms will often respond well to anti-depressant medication.

9) BIPOLAR DISORDER – this used to be referred to as ‘manic-depression’. With this disorder, the person vacillates between feelings of elation and periods of despair. During their highs (the ‘manic’ phase) there will be a reduced need for sleep, excessively high energy levels often leading to frenzied activity, racing thoughts and a ‘flight of ideas’, reduced need to eat and possible delusions (e.g. believing they are the reincarnation of a Roman Emperor, are next in line to the throne or have special, superhuman powers) and hallucinations.

Often, too, judgment will be extremely impaired leading to, for example, massive gambling losses, vast overspending or investing huge amounts of money in doomed business ventures. Also, the individual suffering from such mania is likely to feel ‘invincible’ and that s/he ‘can achieve anything.’  However, these periods burn themselves out and are replaced by depression which may be so severe the sufferer considers or attempts suicide.

The depression may be made worse due to the lack of judgment s/he experienced during the manic phase and the self-destructiveness this may have involved (e.g. s/he may have taken on enormous debts).

10) SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (S. A. D.) – this is a form of depression which only strikes in the winter months due to the lowered amount of sunlight during this period. Symptoms can include an increased need for sleep and carbohydrate cravings.

11) UNIPOLAR DEPRESSION – this is, by a very long way, far more common than bipolar depression – only low mood is experienced ; there are no highs/manic episodes.

12) REACTIVE DEPRESSION – sometimes called ‘endogenous depression’. This type of depression occurs as a reaction to a stressful event, such as being made redundant ;  it is normally relatively short-lived and often responds well to counselling or family support.

13) RECURRENT DEPRESSION – any period of depression which is not the first one the person has experienced is called ‘recurrent depression.’

14) CHRONIC DEPRESSION – the word ‘chronic’ means long lasting (some people misuse the word when what they actually mean is ‘severe’). Doctors refer to a depression as being ‘chronic’ if it has gone on for at least two years.

15) TREATMENT RESISTANT DEPRESSION – this refers to a depression which does not improve with anti-depressant drugs. This was the type of depression I had/have. In such cases, if the depression is very severe and life-threatening (due to self-neglect or high suicide risk) electro-convulsive shock therapy (ECT) may be used as as  a last resort. I myself had to undergo ECT on a number of occasions over the years (although, unfortunately, this had no positive effect whatsoever in my own case ; however, for some it can be life saving).

RESOURCE :

Hypnosis for Depression – Natural Treatment | Self Hypnosis Downloads

 

David Hosier BSc Hons ; MSc ; PGDE(FAHE).

Metacognitive Therapy for Anxiety and Depression.

metacognitive therapy
metacognitive therapy

METACOGNITIVE THERAPY (MCT)

Metacognitive therapy (MCT) was developed by Dr Adrian Wells and Dr Gerald Matthews in the early 1990s.  It shares elements in common with, but is distinct from, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

The main difference is that whilst CBT concentrates upon the negative CONTENT of a person’s thoughts and strives to alter that content, MCT, in contrast, focuses not on the contents of a person’s thoughts but rather on the WAY IN WHICH THE PERSON THINKS – it aims to help the person experience their negative thoughts in a new and accepting way which can greatly reduce the emotional distress that they had previously been causing.

Although MCT was first devised in order to treat anxiety, it is now used to treat a wide range of psychiatric conditions; these include :

– Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

– Social Phobia

– Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Research into the effectiveness of MCT for the above conditions has so far yielded promising results.

metacognitive therapy

WHAT ARE METACOGNITIONS?

Essentially, metacognitions are THOUGHTS ABOUT OUR THOUGHTS. This might sound a little odd at first, so I will illustrate what is meant by the definition with the assistance of an example :

Suppose a person started to suffer clinical depression – at first, his/her thoughts (or ruminations, as they are referred to by psychiatrists) may be quite specific ; for example, worries about being made redundant at work, the breakdown of an important relationship, ruinous debt etc…etc…

As time goes on, however, the worries can become more abstract, and the individual can start worrying about the fact s/he is always worrying. This is also referred to as meta-worrying. Similarly, s/he might begin to feel depressed about always being depressed,

It is very easy to get tied up with this type of thinking, and many do. Essentially, it adds another layer of worry or depression that is clearly superfluous and serves no purpose other than to further lower mood and further torment the hapless individual.

Metacognitions such as those illustrated above frequently become OBSESSIVE and OUT OF CONTROL, dominating our mental state and making it extremely hard to think about anything else – thoughts circle around and around our tortured and exhausted minds in a futile, painful and incessant manner.

Indeed, one of the main behaviors that exacerbates depression and anxiety is OVER-THINKING ABOUT, AND OVER-ANALYZING, THE PARTICULAR PREDICAMENT IN WHICH WE FIND OURSELVES SO CRUELLY PLACED (I know this from my own experience, as I was particularly badly afflicted by obsessional anxieties and over-analysis). Dr Wells refers to getting ‘stuck in our thoughts’ in such a way as Cognitive Attentional Syndrome.

MCT works by helping people, as I stated in the first paragraph, change the way in which they think, and subsequently how they experience their negative thoughts, rather than trying to change the content of their thoughts. One of the aims is to help them accept their thoughts much more without those thoughts triggering psychological distress; and, also, to help them realize they do not need constantly to engage in an exhausting mental fight with their thoughts.

Research has so far shown MCT to be highly effective at treating a range of conditions. Another promising finding is that the therapy can achieve very significant positive effects in as little as 8 weeks.

RESOURCES :

MCT – Institute (click here).

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Childhood Trauma Leading to Anhedonia (Inability to Experience Pleasure).

anhedonia

There is an established relationship between having experienced trauma as a child and suffering from anhedonia (the inability to experience feelings of pleasure) as an adult.

Anhedonia drains the color from life, rather like seeing a film in high resolution color suddenly fade into a grainy, blurred, black and white. One feels just intense emptiness and a complete blunting of positive emotional response. It can affect all areas of life including :

– social interaction

– career satisfaction

– food

– sex

– music

– sports

– previous hobbies and interests

– previously close and/or intimate relationships

anhedonia

Many who suffer anhedonia will have every aspect of their lives affected, whereas others may be affected in some areas but not in others.

In connection with research into the link between childhood trauma and anhedonia, Frewen et al have introduced the concept of ‘negative affective interference’. Essentially, this refers to the idea that in, in response to positive events, those suffering anhedonia are not only unable to feel any pleasure but the positive event may actually lead to them feeling worse. For example, when witnessing a beautiful sunset from the balcony of a luxury hotel in an idyllic setting, not only will those with anhedonia experience no joy, but experience an increase in negative affect (mood) such as intensified feelings of anxiety, guilt or shame. It is this increase in negative feelings in response to positive events which is referred to as ‘negative affect interference’.

Frewen et al’s study also showed that different types of childhood trauma led to different kinds of negative affective interference in response to positive events. For example, those who suffered emotional abuse as a child were more likely to experience increases in anxiety, whereas those who had suffered childhood sexual abuse were more likely to experience feelings of shame.

IMPLICATIONS FOR THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONS RELATING TO ANHEDONIA :

The above findings suggest that therapeutic interventions for those suffering from anhedonia should not only focus on increasing positive affect but also on strategies for regulating negative affect in response to positive events.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Childhood Trauma: Food and Nutrition which may Help with Resultant Depression.

depression and nutrition

Due to the side-effects associated with anti-depressants, together with the controversy which surrounds their effectivenes, some individuals prefer to try to treat their depression in more natural ways; in relation to this, many people adjust their intake of nutrients in ways which research suggests may lift their mood. I examine the foods and nutients which may help this goal to be achieved below:

FOODS AND NUTRIENTS WHICH MAY HELP TO LIFT MOOD :

Not only does some research suggest that the foods and nutrients listed below may help lift mood when depressed, it suggests they may also make depression less likely to recur once feeling better:

1) SELENIUM : this can be found in oysters, mushrooms and Brazil nuts

2) CHROMIUM : this can be found in turkey and green vegetables

3) ZINC : this can be found in shellfish, seafood and eggs

All of the above nutients can also be bought in supplement form from chemists and health food shops. However, they should not be taken in large doses so be sure to read the relevant labels to obtain the recommended amounts to take.

4) VITAMIN B12 : this vitamin, which can also be bought as a supplement from health shops and chemists, is thought to help maintain general mental alertness and, also, help keep feelings of depression at bay. It can be found in salmon, meat, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and yeast extract.

FISH

Some scientists recommend eating fish as a way of reducing depressive symptoms. The reason for this is that some research studies have provided evidence that FISH OILS have both an ANTI-DEPRESSANT and MOOD-STABILIZING effect. However, because of the amount of fish oil which needs to be ingested, one would have to consume a vast quantity of fish. In order to rectify this problem, many companies now produce FISH OIL CAPSULES (eg OMEGA – 3) as dietry SUPPLEMENTS. These contain very concentrated fish oil. However, more research needs to be conducted in order to come to a definitive verdict on their effectiveness. One benefit of them, however, is that they have no side-effects, apart from, rarely, a mildly upset stomach.

5-HTP

Otherwise known as HYDROXTRYPTOPHAN. The body manufactures this from tryptophan (an AMINO ACID) in the diet (sources include turkey and bananas) and it is linked to the production of SEROTONIN (a neurotransmitter which I discuss in other posts – please enter ‘SEROTONIN’ into this site’s search facility if you wish to access those posts) in the brain. Depleted serotonin levels in the brain are thought to be connected with depression and insomnia. Indeed, taking supplements of 5-HTP has been linked to not only helping to treat depression and insomnia, but, also, obesity.

The Cochrane Review (2001) found two studies suggesting that 5-HTP was more effective at treating depression than placebos, but, also, concluded that more research needed to be conducted in order to reach a proper conclusion in relation to how beneficial it is.

CONCLUSION:

A lot more research needs to be conducted in order to come to any definitive solutions about just how helpful diet, nutrients and supplements are at treating mental health conditions. However, there is a vast number of people who take them and are convinced of their effectiveness.

Finally, I wish to stress that it is extremely important to speak to a doctor if you are considering coming off any prescribed medication.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Challenging Our Negative Thoughts.

Challenging Negative Thoughts :

This article examines how we can use cognitive behavioral therapy to challenge our negative thoughts.

When we have negative thoughts, it is important to ask ourselves:

‘What is the evidence to support this negative thought/belief?’ OFTEN, WILL WILL FIND THERE IS VERY LITTLE OR AT LEAST NOT THE COMPELLING EVIDENCE WE’D ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED.

It is important for us to get into the habit of challenging negative thoughts in this way because very often the negative thoughts come to us automatically (due to entrenched negative thinking patterns caused in large part by our traumatic childhoods) without us analyzing them and examining them to see if they are actually valid.

So, to repeat, we need to try to get into the habit of CHALLENGING OUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND ASKING OURSELVES IF THERE REALLY IS PROPER EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THEM.

A SUGGESTED EXERCISE FOR CHALLENGING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS :

1) Think of two or three negative thoughts that you have experienced lately.

2) Ask yourself what evidence you have to support them.

3) Ask yourself how strong this evidence actually is.

4) Now think of evidence AGAINST THE NEGATIVE THOUGHT.

Step 4 above is very important.This is because when we are depressed and have negative thoughts we tend to focus on the (often flimsy) evidence which supports them BUT IGNORE ALL THE EVIDENCE AGAINST THEM (in other words, we give ourselves an ‘unfair hearing’ and , in effect, are prejudiced against ourselves). This is sometimes referred to as CONFIRMATION BIAS.

Challenging our negative thoughts and FINDING EVIDENCE TO REFUTE THEM is a very important part of CBT. It is, therefore, worth us putting in effort to search hard for evidence which weakens or invalidates our automatic negative thoughts/beliefs.

ALTERNATIVE THOUGHTS:

When we have successfully challenged our negative thoughts, and found, by reviewing the evidence, reason not to hold them anymore, it is useful to replace them by MORE REALISTIC APPROPRIATE THOUGHTS.

One way to get into the habit of this is to spend a little time occasionally writing down our automatic negative thoughts. Then, for each thought, we can write beside it:

1) Evidence in support of the negative thought.

2) Evidence against the negative thought.

3) In the light of the analysis carried out above in steps 1 and 2, replace it with a more realistic, valid and positive thought. Here is an example:

Negative Thought: I failed my exam which means I’m stupid and will never get the job I wanted or any other.

1) Evidence in support of negative thought:

‘after a lot of revision, I still didn’t pass.

2) Evidence against negative thought:

I only failed by a couple of per cent and was affected by my nerves – failing one exam does not make me stupid’.

3) Alternative, more valid, realistic and positive thought:

‘I can retake the exam and still get the job. Even if I don’t get my first choice of job, that does not mean there won’t be other jobs I can get, and they may turn out to be better.’

Getting into the habit of occasionally writing down negative thoughts, challenging them, and coming up with more positive alternative thoughts will help to ‘reprogram’ the brain not to just passively accept the automatic negative thoughts which come to us without subjecting them to scrutiny and challenging their validity.

 

Self-Help Link :

Ten Steps To Overcoming Negative Thinking. Click here for further information.

 

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

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