Dark Thoughts of the Mind

We all know what it’s like to be depressed, but having a major depressive disorder (MDD) is a different beast altogether. Depression, in the clinical sense, is a deeply debilitating condition that features a number of serious symptoms. Physically, depression can severely impair our energy levels, making it difficult to complete routine activities. The psychological toll of depression can be understandably immense, as people find themselves trapped in an abyss of dark thoughts and emotions for extended periods of time. It can be an extremely daunting condition, but there is always the hope of finding an effective treatment.

Identifying Depression

Many people aren’t clear on the difference between being depressed and having depression. This creates multiple complications, as it can promote a lack of empathy toward the depressed while also preventing people from seeking treatment. MDD is diagnosed by the persistent presence of multiple symptoms for a period of at least two weeks. A depressed mood is one of the primary signs, but it is far from alone. Other symptoms include disordered sleep, diminished interest in usual activities, a lack of energy, a sense of worthlessness, and suicidal ideation. A professional diagnosis is required to accurately identify MDD, primarily because people suffering from the disorder often experience impairments in self-awareness.

Treatment Options

There are many ways to approach the treatment of depression. Medications are often involved, though it may take several changes in type and/or dosage before an ideal effect is found. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is also a common and often effective treatment for depression. CBT involves changing the way we think about things and is guided by a therapist using proven methods. Mind-calming exercises like mindful meditation can help us deal with dark thoughts by teaching us to move our focus away from bad memories and worries about the future. The best treatment option for many patients is usually a combination of methods, as determined through regular professional consultations.