When does normal sadness after a breakup turn into clinical depression? It would be easy if there were a set number of weeks after which it was “abnormal” to feel depressed after a breakup. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. How long we feel depressed after a breakup often depends on the length of the relationship. It depends on other factors like the circumstances under which things ended and the meaning we attribute to a relationship.[Read more…]
Depression makes everything harder, including the stuff we used to enjoy. This can lead us to avoid those things. Unfortunately, when depression and avoidance join forces, it can be really bad news.
Behavioral activation is a treatment for depression that helps people focus on re-engagement with their lives. Specifically, it gets people doing precisely the things that are likely to improve their mood (Jacobson, Martell, & Dimidjian, 2001). Generally, when a depressed person is in behavioral activation treatment, they change the activities in their life to lessen depression. The therapist helps them to structure their lives differently.
Rather than assuming that there is a deficiency in the depressed individual, behavioral activation takes a more practical approach. It examines what is occurring in the person’s life to worsen or maintain the depression. This often involves looking at the things they do, the situations they find themselves in, and the things they avoid.
Much attention has been cast on the relationships between clinical medicine and the pharmaceutical industries. How much has the pharmaceutical industry been influencing the treatment of depression and anxiety? The rate of use of prescription medication in the United States is higher than in other industrialized nations. The use of prescription antidepressant medication has drastically increased in the past 20 years.
In fact, a 2007 study by the CDC found that in the United States, antidepressants were prescribed more often than medications for high blood pressure or high cholesterol! It is likely that the effects of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing, such as television and radio commercials, have played an important role in the increased use of many patented antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. These medications have been very profitable for pharmaceutical companies. In recent years, television commercials even advertise serious antipsychotic medication – even for use with depression – despite the fact that many in the field consider these drugs to be overused and to cause problematic side effects.[Read more…]