Often, people with depression know they need help, but they lack awareness of these six important factors, which can influence both the duration of their depression and the course of this chronic and episodic condition.
1. Thinking that another person caused you to feel depressed. While the words or actions of another person can certainly trigger thinking, it is very often what you tell yourself about their words/actions that contributes or even leads to a depressed mood.
2. Realistic explanatory style. People with depression tend to explain things either pessimistically or realistically. Very often, however, their way of explaining things to themselves leads them to into greater helplessness, self-isolation, and withdrawal.
3. Vitamin D deficiency. I ask my patients with depressed moods to have their physician rule-out vitamin D deficiency. Far too often, vitamin D deficiency mimics depression and goes untreated.
4. Hypothyroidism. This physical condition can also mimic depression.
5. A lack of social support and cognitive challenge. Social support serves as a buffer against life stress, though a depressed mood may con you into disengaging socially.
It may be helpful to print these out and take them to your doctor or therapist. While it is important to find what works for you, a holistic approach is good to consider. For example, in addition to considering the above 6 factors, using a combination of cognitive behavioral therapies and exercise, or cognitive behavioral and interpersonal therapies with medication can help you treat your depression. Bibliotherapy, including self-help reading and workbooks designed to help you change your cognitive and behavioral style may also support you during therapy.
1. Lulinyan, S. (2013). Negative Cognitive Style As A Mediator Between Self-Compassion and Hopelessness Depression. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 41(9), 1511-1518.
2. Mileviciute, I. D. (2013). The Role of Explanatory Style and Negative Life Events in Depression: A Cross-sectional study with youth from North American Plains Reservation. American Indian & Alaska Native Mental Health Research: The Journal Of The National Center, 20(3), 42-58.
3. Rueger, S. K. (2011). Effects of Stress, Attributional Style and Perceived Parental Support on Depressive Symptoms in Early Adolescence: A Prospective Analysis. Journal Of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 40(3), 347-359.
4. Milaneschi, Y. H. (2014). The association between low vitamin D and depressive disorders. Molecular Psychiatry, 19(4), 444-451.
5. Stanley, P. H. (1997). Depression or endocrine disorder?: What mental health counselors need to know about hypothyroidism. Journal Of Mental Health Counseling, 19(3), 268.
6. Zhangtaisheng, C. (2013). Perceived Social Support As Moderator of Perfectionishm, Depression, and Anxiety in College Students. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 41(7), 1141-1152.
7. Lee, C. N. (2014). A Closer Look at Self-Esteem, Perceived Social Support, and Coping Strategy: A Prospective Study of Depressive Symptomatology Across the Transition to College. Journal Of Social & Clinical Psychology, 33(6), 560-585.
8. Stanton, R. B. (2014). Exercise for mental illness: A systematic review of inpatient studies. International Journal Of Mental Health Nursing, 23(3), 232-242.