Depression, medically referred to as Major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a mental disorder which has a significant negative impact on the lives of people who suffer from it. Typically depression involves an extremely low mood alongside a general lethargy and an inability to derive enjoyment from usually pleasurable activities. Although depression is extremely common throughout the world, affecting an estimated 4.3% of the global population, it still carries with it an unreasonable social stigma. Although medication can be used as a treatment for depression, antidepressants are generally only prescribed in persistent or sever cases. The most common form of treatment is psychotherapeutic in nature, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which we offer at Rites of Passage is generally considered to be the one of most effective option for treatment of depression.
The most common symptoms of depression are:
– Very negative mood
– Pessimism, feelings of hopelessness regarding the future
– Low self esteem
– Self hatred
– Preoccupation with negative thoughts
– Finding it difficult or impossible to derive pleasure from any aspect of life
– Insomnia or hypersomnia
– Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
– Reduced or increased appetite
Clearly the symptoms can be wide ranging, but they all relate to a persistent low mood. The causes of depression are still not fully understood, however doctors believe that a combination of social, psychological and biological factors are to blame. Many believe that the direct cause is low serotonin activity, which impairs proper functioning of the brain.
However it is also generally accepted that life events and thought patterns act as a trigger for low serotonin activity. This is why cognitive behavioral therapy is used so frequently, and successfully, as a treatment for depression. Besides CBT, the other opportunities afforded to young adults by Rites of Passage can also be extremely effective at fighting depression, reconnecting with nature, a reprieve from the stress of everyday living, and emotional development.