womens 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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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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What are the Depression Effects on Women and How to Cope

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression effects on women may include the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, or suicide attempts

Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), or the deaf hotline at 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889).

Warning signs of suicide with depression include:

  • A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing...
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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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Hope for People with Anxiety Disorders: A Christian Counselor’s Perspective

By Julie Stroemel, PsyD, Mill Creek Counseling Center

What is the difference between a little worry and an anxiety disorder?

Most of us experience anxiety at some point in time. Not all anxiety is bad. A little extra focus and concern often helps us to complete projects and assignments on time. In other circumstances, anxiety can help us to take action quickly if the situation is threatening.

Anxiety is a response to perceived danger or threat. It is a natural state that can, in moderate degree and frequency, be a useful tool to maintain someone’s safety. However, when a person experiences ongoing extreme fear and worry that does not go away, he or she may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. At times, the person may experience anxiety so intensely and frequently that it becomes difficult to complete normal day to day activities, or to work. Fortunately, anxiety disorders can be effectively treated and their symptoms can be reduced with the help of a qualified mental health professional.

Determining the Cause of Anxiety

Before any treatment, it may be helpful to have a check-up by a medical doctor to determine whether a person’s symptoms come from an anxiety disorder or from a physical problem, such as a thyroid condition, or other health problem, depression, or substance abuse. Sometimes, treatment for...

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