No one knows exactly what causes depression as there isn’t a single identifiable cause. What is known is that genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors can all play a role in triggering a mental health problem in some individuals.
Certainly there are some groups of people who appear to be more at risk than others and this includes the long term sick and disabled, the elderly, the homeless, people in lower socio-economic groups or who live in poor housing, those who are dependent on drugs and alcohol, and those who are in prison.
The thing is, just because you fit into one of these groups doesn’t mean you are likely to develop a mental health problem any more than it means that those who don’t won’t. Depression and other problems affecting mental health don’t discriminate against anyone. This of course means we cannot predict in advance with any certainty who will or who won’t develop a mental health problem in the future.
How is depression treated?
The most common way of treating depression is by administering anti-depressant medication or referral for some form of psychotherapy or even a combination of both. Given the fact that anti-depressant medication often carries unpleasant side effects, many people would prefer a non-drug approach to their treatment if it’s at all possible and in many cases it is. Indeed, psychotherapy is rapidly gaining recognition as a highly effective treatment for depression.
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy covers a whole range of psychological techniques used to treat depression and other mental health problems. For any form of psychotherapy to be effective, it is vital that the environment is conducive to open discussion and that there is a sense of trust between the therapist and the individual.
What happens during a psychotherapy session is that a trained therapist works with the individual, or sometimes a group, to try and understand what the underlying issues are that may be contributing to their mental health problems.
There are also many different approaches adopted by psychotherapists, however, an increasingly common approach recommended by doctors today is mindful counseling therapy. Mindful counseling therapy focuses on an individual’s behavior, beliefs, and ways of thinking.
It will often identify any negative thought or behavior patterns that are not helpful to the individual. By encouraging them to talk openly about how they feel and exploring possible reasons for why they think and behave in a certain way, it is often possible to find coping strategies and new ways of overcoming their difficulties.