mens issues Articles

What Causes Depression? 5 Main Culprits

In any given year, depending on demographics, about 5-12 percent of the population will experience an episode of major depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Depression, as described as a major depressive episode, can be an overwhelming experience. Over a life span, around 20 percent of the population will experience a mood disorder (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.). This means that many people you know are living with depression, and possibly in silence.

What causes depression?

With so many people affected, it poses the question, "Where does all of this come from?" It’s a question psychologists have been asking for decades. While we have some idea of the answer, it is more complex than straightforward and the answer looks different for each person suffering from depression.

Different Types of Depression

First of all, let’s define our terms here. When we say depression, this can mean a few different things. Did you know that under the classification of Major Depressive Disorder (the hallmark depression diagnosis), there are 14 different codes (sort of more specific diagnoses) that therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists can use? These look at different aspects of depression such as its tendency to cycle (or ...

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Am I Experiencing Symptoms of Anxiety?

When we are traumatized at an early age (and most of us are in one form or another), one of the most obvious and prevalent defensive structures we use to survive is disconnection from our bodies. This is the mind walling itself off from the experience of trauma to prevent being overwhelmed. When the mind is overwhelmed, it stops functioning.

If you are reading and understanding this, whatever you have suffered, it means your defensive and family or social support structures were sufficient to allow you to become emotionally formed. This disconnection from our bodies becomes important when we start to wonder about anxiety, because the first place we notice anxiety is in our bodies.

Symptoms of Anxiety

The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines anxiety as “a state of intense apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a threatening event or situation, often to a degree that normal physical and psychological functioning is disrupted.”

Symptoms may include but are not limited to:

  • muscle tension
  • heart palpitations
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • syncope (fainting)
  • tingling in the hands
  • shortness of breath

The body and mind store trauma as...

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What is chemical dependency? Perspectives from a Christian counselor

I was recently speaking at an event for marriage and family therapy students and emerging professionals. It was the kind of event where students could meet others in the field who have gone in a variety of different directions and ask any  questions they might have.

Some students asked about the various job opportunities available, some about how to handle the emotional stress. One question directed towards me, though, stood out. As I had been hosting the event, I previously introduced myself multiple times and touched on my own line of work. Besides working at Seattle Christian Counseling, I work in a community mental health setting, working mostly with people with substance abuse issues. The question brought to me inquired about my language, “people with substance abuse issues.”

“I noticed you never said you work with alcoholics or addicts. Why is that? Is there something that’s changing about the language in the field?” the current student asked me.

See, she is currently a chemical dependency professional branching out into the marriage and family therapy field. Her experience has been working with addicts and alcoholics, and that’s how she has always referred to the people with whom she worked.

She asked me about the use of my “person first” langu...

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Useful Tips for Christians Struggling with Codependency

Although the idea of codependency is a popular and often derogatory concept used in our self-help and pop culture society, it represents a real conceptualization of struggle and pain for a lot of people, especially those in committed relationships.

Just as in most cases with emotional, psychological, and mental health problems, Christians and people of faith can and often do struggle with the prospect and reality of codependency in their marriages, committed relationships, and often in their relationships with children and parents.

As a Christian counselor, I work with many people who often get stuck in their relationships because of codependent learnings, leanings, and/or characteristics. In the counseling relationship, we will work to understand, develop awareness, and help see a new way or path to relating with others.

What is Codependency?

Codependency refers to pain caused by the sufferings we encountered during our childhood, but becomes expressed in adulthood, leading to a higher chance of compulsive/addictive behavior and relationship problems. Codependency can be attributed to specific feelings and behaviors that result in an aversive relationship that is full of self-loathing and self-sacrificial behaviors.

The condition leaves you at a point where y...

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Coping With Depression: Is it Really Possible?

We all experience periods of sadness from time to time but clinical depression is not just a passing mood – it is falling into a funk that refuses to go away. In this case, is coping with depression even possible?

Symptoms of Depression

Depressed people report having feelings of despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, and their depression tends to worsen when they attempt to shake it off. Their self-esteem suffers and their view of themselves is extremely negative. They lose interest in things and the world around them. What they once counted as pleasurable (i.e., sports, hobbies, taking walks, etc.) is no longer is enjoyed. They experience a loss of hope for anything to change for the better.

Physical symptoms (i.e., changes in appetite, sleep, energy levels) are associated with becoming listless, lethargic, and apathetic. People with severe depression are often plagued by death wishes, suicidal thoughts, and/or psychotic symptoms (i.e. paranoid or grandiose delusions and/or visual/auditory hallucinations.) Also, other adverse physiological effects are common (i.e. psychomotor agitation and constipation) and other various health issues. Needless to say, depressed people have great difficulty functioning at home, work, school, and/or church.

Major depressio...

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Spiritual Development: Definition and Purpose

Spiritual Development Core Definition

Many a theologian has offered a definition of spiritual development over the course of two millennia. Spiritual development can mean many things to many people in the secular and pluralistic environment we inhabit in our terrestrial world. Spiritual development, in essence, is to believe in something beyond the material universe and to develop an awareness of realities beyond the confines of time and space.

What does spiritual development mean for the Christ follower? Acts 17:28 answers the question well: “For in him we live and move and have our being.” Our essence, belonging, search for meaning, and purpose originate from the Lord as transformed through the person of Jesus Christ and God’s infallible and unchanging Word.

The purpose of spiritual development is summed up well in Romans 12:2 that exhorts us with these powerful words: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” God’s truth and purpose transform the soul, spirit, mind, and strength in all of our activities. Everything we have, including our knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities, are to be st...

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Practical Steps for Realizing Your Leadership Development Goals

You've established certain leadership development goals – but why is it that some leaders who are rising to the top succeed and stay in their positions as executives, whereas others who were seen as promising candidates for the corner suite get fired, demoted, passed over, burn out, retire, are laid off, or quit? Surprisingly, the research shows that the median rate of eventual failure for managers is 50%. [1]

Generally, books and articles on success tend to make the New York Times bestseller list. We are fascinated with learning from successful people like Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, who on March 3rd, 2014 reclaimed his place as the richest person in the world. [2]

Are we led to read Gates’ numerous books because he is the richest person in the world?

May I suggest that we can learn more from failure than success?

This is because success stories tend to make us think that the road to the top was smooth and all we need to do is emulate the very successful. [3] Studying leaders who have failed can shed light on what values leaders hold as crucial in success. [4] The expenses in coping with ...

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