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Depression – A Long Winter: Types, Effects, and Impact on Relationships

Anti-depressants are the number 1 prescribed medication in the United States. There are various forms of this mood disorder: Major Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Dysthmia.  Within the clinical world of mental health, depression is as common as a cold. Most people with depression do are unaware of it at first although their significant others clearly are aware they are not their usual selves and are worried. They often try to persuade the other to get help with little success until the depression has gone from mild to moderate OR severe.

The first thing to know is that depression comes with various intensities: MILD, MODERATE, SEVERE, and EXTREME. When individuals think of depression, they often think of the most severe or extreme kind. Reality is the vast majority reside in the mild to moderate range and can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both.. A common response is “I don’t think I am depressed” but after a careful evaluation of symptoms and linking these symptoms to behavior does one come to understand the manifestation of depression.

Major Depression:

Depression is a disorder that impacts  the mind, body, and spirit.   Major Depression is also known as major depressive disorder and clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave.

More than just feeling sad or blue (those go away and don’t often have very brief behavioral, emotional, and mental effects), depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that may come on as a result of genetic, environment, or both. It is more that just adjusting to a stressful situation. It isn’t  weakness or is it something that you can simply “snap out” of. It requires treatment and most do recover from depression in a fairly short amount of time.

Signs and symptoms of clinical depression may include:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Persistent sadness or feeling of emptiness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Increase or decrease in sexual desire
  • Excessive guilt
  • Anxious thoughts (be described as an unquiet mind)
  • Loss of concentration
  • Fatigue or Lethargy
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Onset is in fall and winter and is SADS is caused by less daylight during the fall and winter.

Melatonin is a hormone that our brains produce during the hours of darkness. It is involved with regulation of sleep, body temperature and release of hormones. As with any hormone, the amount produced is important.

People with SAD overly produce melatonin. This disrupts body’s ability to regulate itself and  leads to depressive symptoms. If you have had episodes of depression that clearly have an onset in fall or winter followed by feeling better and asymptomatic  in the spring or summer, you may have SAD. Many comment on feeling more tired and often try to self-medicate (unknowingly) through the use of increased caffeine use.

Symptoms of winter-onset seasonal affective disorder include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping (feeling like you want to hibernate)
  • Loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates such as pastas, rice, bread and cereal
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating and processing information

Dysthmia (dis-THI-me-uh)

Dysthymia is a mild, chronic, form of depression. Dysthymia symptoms usually have been present for the  last  two years, but clients report it has been present for much longer than that – sometimes beginning in adolescence.

While the symptoms are more mild than other forms of depression, given the chronicity of it the consequences and impact are more severe. Individuals with dysthymia  often feel hopeless (“What’s the point?), have difficulty beginning and completing tasks (“I just don’t feel like it”) and have a low self-esteem (“My spouse, coworkers, etc..don’t care about me……Why should I care?”). People with dysthymia are viewed by others of as being overly critical, negativistic, constantly complaining and unable to losen up – only, they are unaware others view them this way and when it is brought to their attention, the person with dysthmia will say “that’s just the way I am” OR become defensive OR become critical. The glass is always half empty for a person with dysthmia and they believe someone must have stolen the milk!

Depression and Couples

Depression of any type can create what are known as “cognitive distortions” in a relationship/marriage.  Distortions are a set of internal beliefs that an individual takes as FACT when it is what they tell themselves about the facts. For example, a dumped coffee on the ground “I can’t believe someone dumped out their coffee here. They should have dumped it in the garbage can” or “Too bad, someone accidentally spilled their coffee” are beliefs and a story based on the coffee on the ground. We don’t know which is the real story because we were not there, but as human beings, we make inferences based on what is observable.

Depression strongly impacts a persons beliefs about marriage, their spouse, and themselves in a way that contributes to a negative cycle of interaction. It impacts a marriage at all levels; friendship; fondness and admiration, intimacy, positivity, resolving conflict, repairing the relationship, how issues are raised, being open to the others’ thoughts and opinions, de-escalating and calming down, compromising, and creating lifelong dreams and meaning (Gottman, 2002).

After a thorough assessment of each persons view of relationships in the above areas, a therapist can determine the issues a client brings to therapy that make marital interventions ineffective and develop solutions couple specific to reduce the impact of depression on treatment resistance to mariage therapy.

The Anger Workbook: A 13-Step Interactive Plan to Help You… (Minirth-Meier Clinic Series)

This is the only anger management system we’ve found that offers interactive exercises to help readers understand and modify their own behavior. Whether your anger is from tension at work, frustration at home, or just life in general — this workbook will help you identify and modify the anger that keeps you from inner peace and contentment. From doctors nationally known in the field of Christian counseling.

The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

The spiritual premise in The Purpose-Driven Life is that there are no accidents—God planned everything and everyone. Therefore, every human has a divine purpose, according to God’s master plan. Like a twist on John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address, this book could be summed up like this: “So my fellow Christians, ask not what God can do for your life plan, ask what your life can do for God’s plan.” Those who are looking for advice on finding one’s calling through career choice, creative expression, or any form of self-discovery should go elsewhere. This is not about self-exploration; it is about purposeful devotion to a Christian God. The book is set up to be a 40-day immersion plan, recognizing that the Bible favors the number 40 as a “spiritually significant time,” according to author Rick Warren, the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, touted as one of the nation largest congregations. Warren’s hope is that readers will “interact” with the 40 chapters, reading them one day at a time, with extensive underlining and writing in the margins. As an inspirational manifesto for creating a more worshipful, church-driven life, this book delivers. Every page is laden with references to scripture or dogma. But it does not do much to address the challenges of modern Christian living, with its competing material, professional, and financial distractions. Nonetheless, this is probably an excellent resource for devout Christians who crave a jumpstart back to worshipfulness. —Gail Hudson –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ

Ten years ago a breakthrough book launched a ministry that has helped more than one million people overcome this world and win the battle for their hearts and minds. Now Neil Anderson has revised and expanded Victory over the Darkness for a new generation of readers, outlining practical and more productive ways to Christian growth based on Christ’s promise: “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Victory Over the Darkness emphasizes the importance of believing and internalizing the cardinal truths of Scripture as a base from which to renew the mind and fend off Satan’s relentless attempt to convince us that we are less than Christ empowers us to be.

The Bondage Breaker®: Overcoming *Negative Thoughts *Irrational Feelings *Habitual Sins (Paperback)

Featuring a new introduction by Neil T. Anderson, this freshly re–covered edition of his bestselling book The Bondage Breaker (more than 1.2 million copies sold) leads readers away from the shadows and shackles in their lives and toward the freedom that comes when they

-realize they have the right to be free
-confront the power of Satan
-fight the temptation to do it their way
-trade deception for grace
-affirm their identity in Christ

    Neil Anderson ultimately helps people break negative thought patterns, control irrational feelings, and break out of the bondage of sinful behavior. Those struggling will discover how to embrace the promise of Jesus to win the spiritual battles that confront them.

    False Intimacy

    WHY ARE SEXUAL TEMPTATIONS SO HARD TO RESIST WHEN THE PRICE IS SO HIGH?

    We all long for true intimacy. Many people seek to fill that void by seeking sexual relationships-whether real or fantasized-that promise to provide the relief, acceptance, and fulfillment for which they long. But it is false intimacy. And as Dr. Harry Schaumburg points out, “Sexual intimacy can’t relieve their deep, unmet longings.”

    False Intimacy goes beyond behavioral symptoms and willpower-based solutions to provide biblical guideposts for the journey to restoration. With frank honesty, False Intimacy examines the roots behind these kinds of behaviors and offers realistic direction to those whose lives or ministries have been impacted by sexual addiction.

    “The finest work available for all who struggle with their sexuality or want to understand and help those who do.”-Dr. Dan B. Allender, author of The Wounded Heart

    “More people than we know battle against compelling sexual desires. Dr. Schaumburg thinks through the realities of the battle and offers a biblical perspective with wisdom, clarity, and compassion.”-Dr. Larry Crabb, teacher, counselor, author of Inside Out

    “This is the best Christian book on sexual addiction I’ve ever read. Schaumburg goes far deeper than the surface symptoms to expose core issues of this common problem.”-Bob Davies, executive director, Exodus International TABLE OF CONTENTS: Chapter 1: What Is Sexual Addiction? Chapter 2: Sexually Addictive Behaviors Chapter 3: What Causes Sexual Addiction? Chapter 4: Hope for Those Who Are Sexually Addicted Chapter 5: Responding to Your Sexually Addicted Spouse Chapter 6: The Recovering Marriage Chapter 7: Women and False Intimacy Chapter 8: Preventing Sexual Addiction in Your Children Chapter 9: Sexual Addiction in the Church Chapter 10: The Church as a Healing Community Chapter 11: Healing for Christian Leaders Appendix A: Indicators of Childhood Sexual Abuse Appendix B: Ministry Resources

    Faithful and True

    Dr. Laaser offers help and hope for regaining and maintaining sexual integrity, self-control, and wholesome, biblical sexuality.

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