SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that coincides with the change of seasons. It can be during any type of season but primarily occurs during the Winter months. It is quite different than the Winter Blues in that it is consistent every year. It is hard enough without longer days and sunlight to function but with Winter, especially after the Holidays, many will fall into SAD.
Individuals can find help, medication, as well as light therapy to help. It is important to identify if you do have SAD and find the appropriate help from a licensed counselor who can guide you in the right direction. SAD is more than being upset about the weather but a type of depression that needs professional care. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification. While certified grief counselors who are not licensed counselors as well cannot treat depression, they do have the training to spot it and send you to a professional counselor who can treat it.
AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals. Please review the program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.
While having a child is supposed to be the most exciting and wonderful thing in life, sometimes after the birth of a child, the mother, or even the father, can experience sadness and even depression. This is not due to actual loss but a chemical imbalance within the neurotransmitters that is offset. In mothers, it can be due to a variety of hormonal issues, while in fathers, it can be due to past depression history. “Baby Blues”, when it does occurs, lasts anywhere from a few days to a two weeks, but if it persists into depression, it is important to seek help from one’s doctor to help properly balance oneself. This is why it is so important for spouses, family and friends to observe each other during the first few weeks after child birth. Usually the emphasis is on the infant only but changes in mood for parents are also important things to watch and monitor. This type of situation is not anything to be ashamed of or a dismissal of the joyous occasion, but merely is mental health and properly taking care of it.
Many of the symptoms associated with Post Partum Depression mirror any other type of depression but the biggest issue is it prevents proper bonding with one’s child and can make it harder to meet the needs of the new infant. This happy moment should be an experience of joy, but when depression sinks in, it can be difficult to enjoy these memorial moments or even worst, cause risk to self or the child. This is why it is so critical to seek help.
The article, “Post Partum Depression” from the Mayo Clinic takes a closer look at issues surrounding sadness, depression or even psychosis after child birth. The article states,
“The birth of a baby can start a variety of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect — depression. Most new moms experience postpartum “baby blues” after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues usually begin within the first 2 to 3 days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks. But some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression”.
“Post Partem Depression”. Mayo Clinic. (2022). Mayo Clinic
Becoming a mother is a life-changing experience, but it can also bring about unexpected challenges. One such challenge is postpartum depression, a condition that affects many women after giving birth. Understanding postpartum depression is the first step towards finding effective strategies to deal with it. Postpartum depression is not simply a case of “baby blues” or feeling a bit down; it is a serious mental health condition that requires attention and support.
Postpartum depression can manifest in different ways, but some common signs and symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, and irritability. Women experiencing postpartum depression may also struggle with sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, and a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed. It’s important to recognize these symptoms and seek help if they persist for more than a couple of weeks. Postpartum depression can have a profound impact on a mother’s overall well-being, as well as on her relationships and family dynamics.
The impact of postpartum depression on mothers and families
Postpartum depression not only affects the mother, but it can also have a significant impact on her relationships and family. The emotional and physical toll of postpartum depression can strain the bond between the mother and her partner, leading to feelings of isolation and resentment. In some cases, postpartum depression can even affect the mother’s ability to bond with her newborn baby, potentially impacting the child’s development.
Furthermore, postpartum depression can disrupt the entire household dynamic. Partners may need to take on additional responsibilities, and other family members may need to step in to provide support. This can create stress and tension within the family, further exacerbating the challenges faced by the mother. Recognizing the impact of postpartum depression on mothers and families is crucial in order to provide the necessary support and understanding during this difficult time.
Effective strategies for dealing with postpartum depression
Dealing with postpartum depression requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of the condition. While it is important to seek professional help, there are also effective strategies that can be implemented on a daily basis to manage symptoms and promote recovery.
One such strategy is self-care. Taking care of oneself is often overlooked when dealing with postpartum depression, but it is essential for the mother’s well-being. This can include engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation, prioritizing sleep and nutrition, and finding ways to manage stress. Self-care is not selfish; it is a necessary step towards healing and recovery.
Building a support system is another crucial aspect of dealing with postpartum depression. Surrounding oneself with understanding and supportive individuals can make a world of difference. This can include reaching out to family and friends, joining support groups specifically for postpartum depression, or connecting with other mothers who have gone through similar experiences. Having a support system in place provides a sense of validation and helps combat feelings of isolation.
Seeking professional help for postpartum depression
While self-care and support systems are important, it is essential to seek professional help when dealing with postpartum depression. Mental health professionals, such as therapists or counselors specializing in postpartum depression, can provide the necessary guidance and support. They can help identify underlying causes, develop coping mechanisms, and provide effective treatment options.
Antidepressant medication may also be prescribed in some cases, especially if the symptoms of postpartum depression are severe. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action. Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness; it is a proactive step towards recovery and empowerment.
Support groups and resources for postpartum depression
Support groups can be a valuable resource for women dealing with postpartum depression. These groups provide a safe and understanding space where mothers can share their experiences, receive support, and learn from others who have faced similar challenges. Support groups can be found both online and in-person, offering flexibility and accessibility.
There are also numerous resources available for women experiencing postpartum depression. Websites, books, and podcasts dedicated to postpartum depression provide valuable information and strategies for coping. Additionally, many organizations offer helplines and online chat services where women can seek guidance and support in real-time. Utilizing these resources can help women feel empowered and less alone in their journey towards recovery.
Self-care tips for managing postpartum depression
Self-care is an essential component of managing postpartum depression. Here are some practical self-care tips that can be incorporated into daily routines:
Prioritize sleep: Aim for quality sleep by establishing a regular sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
Nourish your body: Focus on eating a balanced diet that includes nutrient-rich foods to support overall well-being.
Engage in gentle exercise: Physical activity, such as yoga or walking, can help boost mood and reduce stress.
Practice mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.
Delegate and ask for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from loved ones or hire help with household tasks to alleviate some of the pressure.
Engage in activities you enjoy: Make time for hobbies or activities that bring you joy, whether it’s reading, painting, or listening to music.
Remember, self-care is not a luxury but a necessity for your well-being. By prioritizing self-care, you are better equipped to navigate the challenges of postpartum depression.
Building a support system for postpartum depression
Building a support system is crucial for women dealing with postpartum depression. Here are some strategies for creating a strong support network:
Communicate with your partner: Openly discuss your feelings with your partner and seek their understanding and support.
Reach out to family and friends: Share your experiences with trusted loved ones who can provide emotional support and practical assistance.
Join support groups: Connect with other women experiencing postpartum depression through local support groups or online communities.
Seek professional help: Consult with mental health professionals who specialize in postpartum depression for guidance and support.
Consider therapy for couples: Couples therapy can help improve communication and strengthen the relationship during this challenging time.
Remember, you don’t have to face postpartum depression alone. Building a support system can provide the encouragement and understanding you need to navigate this difficult period.
Creating a postpartum depression action plan
Creating an action plan can help you navigate the challenges of postpartum depression proactively. Here are some steps to consider when developing your plan:
Educate yourself: Learn about postpartum depression, its symptoms, and available resources.
Set realistic goals: Break down your recovery journey into manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Identify triggers: Recognize the situations or circumstances that worsen your symptoms, and develop strategies to manage them.
Establish a routine: Creating a daily routine can provide structure and stability during this unpredictable time.
Practice self-care: Incorporate self-care activities into your daily routine to prioritize your well-being.
Seek professional help: Consult with mental health professionals to develop a personalized treatment plan.
By creating an action plan, you are taking an active role in managing your postpartum depression and empowering yourself towards recovery.
Dealing with postpartum depression can be challenging, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. By understanding postpartum depression, recognizing its impact, and implementing effective strategies, you can navigate this difficult period and empower yourself towards recovery. Whether it’s through self-care, seeking professional help, or building a support system, each step you take brings you closer to healing and embracing the joys of motherhood. Remember to be kind to yourself and reach out for the support you deserve.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification. Licensed professionals in counseling are excellent candidates to earn a Grief Counseling Certification.
“Postpartum Depression”. HealthEssentials. (2022). Cleveland Clinic. Access here
“Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression: Symptoms, Treatments, and finding help”. Pietrangelo, A. (2022). Healthline. Access here
“Postpartum Depression”. OASH. (2023). Office on Women’s Health. Access here
“Postpartum Depression”. Bruce, D. (2022). WebMD. Access here
Self esteem is critical to an emotional, mental and healthy life. A good self image helps one to live with confidence, approach goals, complete tasks, and find value in oneself. It is essential to find value in oneself and to find oneself worthy of love. Hence cultivating a healthy self esteem is important to a personal, academic, professional and social life.
Self esteem issues can go in two different directions. An inflated self esteem can lead one down an egotistical and narcissistic road with various anti social disorders. It can lead to delusions and foolish endeavors. In essence, it is not in balance with reality. Self esteem can also take an opposite dark road in which one finds no value in oneself and this can lead to depression, loss opportunities, poor health and possible suicide. This article will investigate the later and in particular how one can deal with self esteem and depression.
The article, “How to Manage Low Self-Esteem” by Corey Whelan looks in detail how low self esteem can derail a life, its sources and how to overcome it. She states,
“Everyone has moments of doubt about who they are and what they’ve achieved. You may do or say something that makes you temporarily ashamed of or annoyed with yourself. Those temporary or periodic feelings are not the same as low self-esteem. Low self-esteem refers to long-term negativity about who you are and how you show up in the world. These negative feelings can be persistent and hard to challenge. For example, if someone compliments you, you may not believe them. If you achieve a goal, you may not allow yourself to take credit for it.”
“How to Manage Low Self-Esteem”. Whelan, C. (2022). Healthline.
Causes of low self esteem range from various issues suffered at a younger age. Hyper critical parents or family can damage a child’s development. When a child is unable to meet certain psycho social goals within his/her age the child can be prevented from forming independence and the ability to do things. When a child is shamed for pushing forward, the impulse to be something greater can also be hampered. Hence due to criticism or inability to progress to new stages of development that highlight independence and creativity can greatly affect a child’s self esteem and provide future issues in advancement in life. Other forms of criticism include body shaming and bullying. These type of parental and as well peer abuse can cause severe self image issues within the person.
In addition, many children are unable to form healthy and supportive bonds due to attachment issues with parents. When children are not given security and love, then they become insecure and anxious. They begin to question themselves and find themselves not worthy of love or capable of being loved. These haunting memories of unloved childhood also cause great damage to self esteem.
Trauma and abuse also play a key role in lowering self esteem. Children of abuse, especially sexual abuse, feel dirty and unclean. They feel unable to be loved or love and consider themselves broken. This is often the case because the abuser not only physically assaults the child, but to protect himself/herself creates a illusion within the child’s mind that it is the child’s fault. The child then is haunted and unable to report the abuse and continues to feel broken and dirty.
Many with low self esteem have a inaccurate self image of self. Either through body shaming or verbal and mental abuse, the person feels they are worthless and amount to nothing. Many feel ugly, or dumb, or unlovable. They hence attach to any form of connection, even if unhealthy. A person with low self esteem is unable to see the value in oneself and is unable to move forward with confidence, accept compliments, boast of achievements, or recognize individual talent within oneself. A person with low self esteem has a difficult time accepting challenges, or attempting harder feats and will surrender before one even tries to do something. A person with low self esteem will feel unworthy, untalented and incapable of great things. Hence, a person will self esteem is unable to take criticism well and will amplify normal comments and make these comments more than what they truly are.
A person with low self esteem also has difficulty trusting one’s own instincts. Low self esteems restricts creativity and trust of self to do something. One needs constant coaching or discussion with others to engage in something. Also, low self esteem prevents boundaries. A person with low self esteem has a difficulty saying no to others and will find oneself doing things one does not really want to do. Hence low self esteem turns an individual into a people pleaser instead of looking out for oneself.
Those with low self esteem suffer physically, emotionally and mentally. Physically, they tend to take less care of themselves. They feel ugly and feel little need to care for oneself via grooming and exercise. This can lead to un-healthy life styles. Emotionally and mentally, one may punish oneself for false perceptions of being a failure. This can lead to self mutilation, self harm, risky behavior, drug addiction and drinking, depression, suicidal ideation and possible suicide attempts. In addition, it can prevent someone from achieving positive and happy experiences due to fear or rejection. Hence less chance for friendship, love and academic and professional success.
Overcoming Low Self Esteem
It is difficult for someone to overcome self esteem because one is blinded by a false perception. The person lives in a mirage of falsehood. Only till one is opened to reality can one start to escape the dark veil of low self esteem. This takes time, counseling and reframing of self. One can begin to rehabilitate self image through small goals and achievements. Whether it is a hobby, gym work, or academic and professional goals, one can begin to objectively calculate success and find to one’s amazement that these objective successful achievements coincide with not someone else but oneself. Hygiene, personal pride and goal setting can all play key roles in awakening someone to one’s best potential. Counselors can also help those with self esteem with positive affirmations, journaling and finding ways to surround oneself with positive people and energy instead of negative ones.
Overcoming low self esteem when dealing with depression can be an even more difficult feat. Depression already prevents one from finding joy in life. If one already is suffering from low self esteem, one will quickly travel down a darker road. Depression is usually correlated with lower self esteem and can become a result of constant gloomy outlooks on life. Those suffering from low self esteem and depression should constantly look to post positive affirmations about self and try to brag about life. They should write down positive things and journal. They should set realistic goals and avoid comparisons. They should also and most importantly be kind to oneself. Those with low self esteem and depression are their own worst critics. Self love is critical in these cases.
Self image needs to be balanced. It cannot become narcissistic but it cannot become deflated. It needs to find a happy balance with reality that is optimistic and able to help a person reach one’s fullest potential. Unfortunately, many suffer childhood bullying, criticisms and abuse which greatly affects their development and hence self esteem. This can lead to bad physical, emotional and mental health which can develop into possible depression or even suicide. It is important to identify low self esteem find help and incorporate strategies to improve self image. If dealing with depression or other trauma, a licensed counselor can help one find better self image.
AIHCP also offers a certification in Grief Counseling for qualified professionals in the healthcare and mental healthcare fields. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a certified Grief Counselor.
“9 Tips for Strengthening Self-Esteem When You Have Depression”. Coelho, S. (2022). PyschCentral. Access here
“11 Signs of Low Self-Esteem”. Cherry, K. (2023). VeryWellMind. Access here
“Self-esteem: Take steps to feel better about yourself”. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2022). Mayo Clinic. Access here
“Signs of Low Self-Esteem”. WebMed Editorial Contributers. (2022). WedMed. Access here
Dissatisfaction with self and the primal need to eat or not eat are closely tied together. Maslow’s first need is to satisfy hunger and thirst, but while meeting these needs is necessary for existence, other abstract dissatisfactions with self can create mental disorders in fulfilling these needs. A person may deal with depression or great sadness over how he/she physically appears and proceed to great maladaptive approaches to rectify through unhealthy eating habits. Hence due to emotional mindsets, grief, depression and other views of self, one can fall into a variety of different and unhealthy eating disorders. Some may distort their eating habits to produce a certain physical look while others may distort themselves due to an addiction to food during intense grief and depression.
The Body and Eating
The necessity to eat is a need that is closely monitored by the body. When glucose drops, the body and the brain send signals. The hormone, Ghrelin secretes in the stomach to alert the brain of hunger. In addition, the Hypothalamus triggers the hormone Orexin to create the feeling of hunger. Consequentially, the body also reduces hunger through the hormone insulin which reduces sugar in the blood. The body also produces the hormone Leptin from fat cells and when in abundance relates to the brain to increase metabolism.
Beyond the physiology also is a psychology that surrounds hunger. Individuals have different taste preferences due to experiences and cultural influences, which can create certain pleasures or aversions to certain tastes. In addition when upset, the desire for carbohydrates found in comfort foods increase the neurotransmitter serotonin. When stressed, individuals crave sweets or chocolates to reduce stress. In addition, friends and the one’s environment can also produce needs to eat when one does not really need to eat, as well as serving size and proportions and numerous selections. These stimuli push one to eat things one may regret later or should not eat for health reasons. Hence peer pressure, food selection and availability, previous experiences, as well as emotional moods can all play big roles in how one eats or does not eat.
Over-eating and Obesity
Overeating can be due to depression or even bullying. Individuals may retreat to food and solace to escape the sadness of life. This is commonly associated with the term binge eating. Individuals when they feel bad, may find recourse in eating in great excess or a variety of unhealthy foods. There is usually a deep remorse following binge eating. This maladaptive way to cope with stress or depression while temporarily fulfilling causes more guilt and remorse but also physically is unhealthy. Binge eating is bad for maintaining healthy weight and can be a serious issues with those who suffer from diabetes.
Many who suffer from this need to learn better ways to cope with stress, grief and loss. It is important for those who experience higher levels of stress or facing loss to find other ways to express themselves. Better coping strategies can be implementing that are void of food security but help one find relief though healthier outlets such as exercise, hobbies, and activities with friends. Having a friend to call or a person to contact can also be beneficial in removing the psychological temptation to turn to food. Like any addiction, there is a mental crutch that manifests and a false need. Breaking the habit with healthier life styles, other options and a conscious effort is key.
Individuals can shop more healthy, limit portions, eat smaller meals throughout day, and exercise more. The important thing to remember when depressed or addicted to a maladaptive practice, one does lapse. When one does lapse, one needs to be too hard on oneself. A lapse is not a complete collapse and one needs to continue to work towards finding better ways to cope with stress and grief in life.
Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa
Some individuals deal with stress and loss differently and under eat. Some are bullied about self image through school mates, while others face sharp criticism at home about their appearances. Competition with siblings or friends can lead to a drastic alteration in one’s body and shape through unhealthy and maladaptive eating habits that reduce intake of food for thinner appearances. In Western modern culture, obviously thinner appearance is the desired result but other appearances in other cultures can also be sought after in unhealthy ways as well.
Those seeking a thinner appearance resort to Anorexic behaviors. Starvation diets are implemented due to a false image of being fat. Again due to bullying, competition, criticism, abuse, or depression, individuals will look to control the only thing they can via their appearance. It is again important to note that all cases of anorexia are not due to sexual abuse but can also be due to bullying or competitive and hyper critical families that push a unattainable perfectionism. This leaves a longing within the individual that can never be satisfied leading to maladaptive eating habits that harm the body and strip it of nutrients and growth. Primarily an issue with teens and younger women, the person will either starve oneself or in the case of Bulimia nervosa, eat and then vomit, excessively fast, or utilize laxatives to prevent weight gain. Both Anorexia and Bulimia share a common origin and look to fulfill the same end but through a different strategy.
Eating disorders can be hereditary and psychological. They can be an over indulgence of food or a self imposed starvation. They can stem from abuse, depression, bullying, competition, poor self image, family criticism or a disproportioned perfectionism. They are ineffective ways to cope with stress, loss and grief. Individuals who deal with these issues, regardless of their spectrum, need to find the root cause of their eating disorder and find better ways to cope with the mental issues that are haunting them. Professional licensed counselors can determine the root cause of their eating disorder and help them discover better ways to reduce eating or find self esteem in the way they are.
Whether addiction to eating too much or various mental issues to eat too little, individuals need to learn the root cause of their issues and re-discover healthier eating habits to incorporate into their life. Unhealthy eating in either extreme can have severe long term health consequences. Again, licensed counselors can help individuals better cope with stress or grief or properly understand their core issue that cause an eating disorder. Friends can also help by building up self esteem.
Obviously discontent, grief and depression can all be causes that lead to a variety of eating disorders. Licensed counselors can also become certified in Grief Counseling and help individuals sort out the grief issue and help them cope better with the loss. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.
“Exploring Psychology” 11th Edition. Myers, D. & Deall, N. (2019). Worth Publishing, NY, NY.
“Eating Disorders”. (2023). Mayo Clinic. Access here
“6 Common Types of Eating Disorders (and Their Symptoms)”. Petre, A. (2022). Healthline. Access here
“What are Eating Disorders?”. (2023). APA. Access here
“Eating Disorders and Depression”. Grave, R. (2023). Psychology Today. Access here
“Can Depression Lead to Eating Disorders?” Lebow, H. (2022). PsychCentral. Access here
Neuroscience illustrates the critical importance of sleep. The brain cells and neurons within the brain are able during sleep to carry out numerous functions during REM sleep that help the over functioning of the brain and body. Sleep plays pivotal roles helping the body recuperate as well as restore and rebuild memories from throughout the day. In addition, sleep helps promote growth and stimulates critical thinking. Hence when sleep is deprived or greatly reduced it weakens the entire human organism from thinking and reflexes to basic functions. In addition, it weakens the immune system opening one to various illnesses.
One other negative effect without sleep is the chance of depression. Due to impaired cognitive functioning, the brain is less able to cope with stressors and grief. Furthermore, neurotransmitters are weakened in their function, while the weakened immune system leads to one feeling less energized, prone to stress and its eventual consequences. The article, “Sleep Quality Is A Stronghold Against Depression and Anxiety” from Neuro Science News takes a closer look at how lack of quality sleep ties with depression and anxiety. The article states,
“Chronic stress is a major risk factor for a number of mental health disorders, including depression and pathological anxiety. Adaptive cognitive emotion regulation (CER) strategies (i.e. positively-focused thought processes) can help to prevent psychiatric disturbance when enduring unpleasant and stressful experiences, but little is known about the inter-individual factors that govern their success. Sleep plays an important role in mental health, and may moderate the effectiveness of adaptive CER strategies by maintaining the executive functions on which they rely”
“Sleep Quality Is A Stronghold Against Depression and Anxiety”. Neuro Science News. (2023). NeuroScienceNews.com
Sleep is an essential aspect of our well-being, playing a crucial role in maintaining our physical and mental health. We often underestimate the impact that sleep deprivation can have on our overall well-being, particularly on our mental health. Recent studies have shed light on the strong link between sleep and depression, revealing a vicious cycle where lack of sleep fuels the flames of depression. Understanding this connection is vital in addressing the silent struggles that many individuals face.
Understanding the effects of sleep deprivation on depression
Sleep deprivation is known to have detrimental effects on our mood and emotions, and this is especially true for individuals struggling with depression. When we don’t get enough sleep, our emotional regulation is compromised, leading to heightened levels of irritability, sadness, and anxiety. The lack of sleep disrupts the delicate balance of neurotransmitters in our brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which play a vital role in regulating our mood. As a result, individuals who are sleep deprived are more prone to experiencing depressive symptoms and finding it difficult to cope with daily challenges.
Moreover, sleep deprivation also affects our ability to handle stress. When we are sleep deprived, our stress response becomes hyperactive, making it harder for us to manage and recover from stressful situations. This prolonged exposure to stress further exacerbates the symptoms of depression, creating a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break.
The impact of sleep deprivation on cognitive function
In addition to affecting mood and emotions, sleep deprivation also takes a toll on our cognitive function. Lack of sleep impairs our ability to concentrate, make decisions, and think clearly. It becomes harder to focus on tasks, leading to reduced productivity and performance. Sleep-deprived individuals often struggle with memory problems, finding it challenging to retain information and recall it when needed.
Furthermore, sleep deprivation affects our executive functions, which are responsible for planning, organizing, and problem-solving. When these functions are compromised, it becomes harder to navigate the challenges of daily life, leading to increased frustration and a sense of helplessness. These cognitive impairments can significantly impact our overall well-being and contribute to the development and persistence of depression.
Sleep deprivation and the risk of developing depression
While lack of sleep can exacerbate existing depression, it can also increase the risk of developing depression in individuals who are otherwise healthy. Sleep deprivation disrupts the delicate balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can trigger the onset of depressive symptoms. Chronic sleep deprivation also affects the regulation of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which further contributes to the development of depression.
Additionally, sleep deprivation weakens our immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to infections and illnesses. The physical toll that lack of sleep takes on our bodies can contribute to feelings of fatigue, low energy, and a general sense of malaise, all of which are common symptoms of depression. Therefore, prioritizing healthy sleep habits is crucial in reducing the risk of developing depression and maintaining good mental health.
Strategies for improving sleep quality
Improving sleep quality is essential in breaking the cycle of sleep deprivation and depression. Here are some strategies that can help:
Establish a consistent sleep schedule
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is key in regulating our internal body clock. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, helps train our bodies to recognize when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. This consistency promotes better sleep quality and overall well-being.
Create a sleep-friendly environment
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep. Make sure the room is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Remove any distractions, such as electronic devices, and create a calming atmosphere that promotes relaxation.
Practice relaxation techniques before bed
Engaging in calming activities before bed can help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Try incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle stretching into your bedtime routine. These practices can help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep.
Avoid stimulants and electronics before bed
Caffeine and electronic devices can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and limit your screen time before bed. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep.
The role of sleep hygiene in managing depression
Sleep hygiene refers to the habits and practices that promote healthy sleep. It encompasses various aspects of our lifestyle and environment that can influence the quality of our sleep. For individuals struggling with depression, prioritizing good sleep hygiene can significantly contribute to their overall well-being.
Establish a bedtime routine
Having a consistent bedtime routine signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Engaging in calming activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques can help you relax and transition into sleep.
Create a sleep-friendly environment
As mentioned earlier, creating a sleep-friendly environment is crucial for quality sleep. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that support your body. Make your bedroom a peaceful and inviting space that promotes relaxation and restful sleep.
Limit daytime napping
While a short power nap can provide a temporary boost in energy, excessive daytime napping can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Limit daytime napping to 20-30 minutes and avoid napping too close to your regular bedtime.
Limit alcohol and nicotine consumption
Alcohol and nicotine can interfere with your sleep quality. While alcohol may make you feel drowsy initially, it disrupts your sleep cycle and can lead to fragmented and restless sleep. Nicotine, on the other hand, acts as a stimulant and can make it harder for you to fall asleep.
Seeking professional help for sleep-related issues and depression
If you’ve tried implementing healthy sleep habits and are still struggling with sleep-related issues and depression, it’s important to seek professional help. A healthcare provider or mental health professional can assess your symptoms, identify any underlying causes, and recommend appropriate treatment options.
They may recommend therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which focuses on identifying and changing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to sleep problems. Medications may also be prescribed to help regulate sleep and manage depressive symptoms.
Remember, reaching out for support is a sign of strength, and there are resources available to help you on your journey towards better sleep and improved mental health.
The importance of addressing sleep issues in mental health treatment
Addressing sleep issues should be an integral part of mental health treatment. Sleep deprivation can significantly impact the effectiveness of other therapeutic interventions and medications. By addressing sleep problems, healthcare providers can optimize the overall treatment plan for individuals struggling with depression.
Moreover, improving sleep quality can have a positive ripple effect on other areas of life. When we are well-rested, we have more energy, better cognitive function, and improved emotional regulation. This, in turn, can enhance our ability to engage in therapy, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and make positive lifestyle changes that support our mental well-being.
Conclusion: The importance of prioritizing sleep for mental well-being
In conclusion, the link between sleep and mental health is undeniable. Lack of sleep can fuel the flames of depression, exacerbating symptoms and making it harder to manage daily challenges. Understanding the effects of sleep deprivation on mood, emotions, and cognitive function is vital in addressing the silent struggles that many individuals face.
By prioritizing good sleep hygiene, seeking professional help when needed, and integrating sleep-focused interventions into mental health treatment, we can break the cycle of sleep deprivation and depression. Remember, a good night’s sleep is not just a luxury; it is an essential investment in our mental well-being. Let us prioritize sleep and take the necessary steps to nurture our minds and bodies for optimal mental health.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in grief counseling.
“The Link Between Sleep and Depression”. Krouse, L. (2023). VeryWellHealth. Access here
“Sleep and Depression”. Fulghum Bruce, D. (2022). WebMD. Access here
“Depression and Sleep: Understanding the Connection”. John Hopkins Medicine. Access here
“Depression and Sleep: What’s the Connection?”. JeWell, T. (2019). Healthline. Access here
Psychiatry is seen primarily as a tool to aid with mental maladies. It looks to the brain and its functioning to resolve issues mental problems. It looks to utilize therapies and medications that help balance the brain or correct issues that are brain related to the pathology itself. Holistic or Functional Psychiatry looks not just at the mind but looks at a variety of other social, physical, and diet related issues that may also overlap and play issues in mental pathology
Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Professionals look at a broader spectrum of the human person and how it relates to specific issues. In addition to mental therapies or only medication, Functional or Holistic Psychiatrists will employ meditation, changed diets, different social interactions and even adjustment to sleeping issues that may also reflect upon the primary problem. This more broad range approach encompasses the idea of holistic medicine as being something that just does not analyzes one aspect of human health but numerous aspects that target just not one specific area but multiple fronts. In this way, it can be less intrusive with side effects and also not merely mask the symptoms but find a long term cure that prevents future issues.
The article, “What Is Holistic Psychiatry?” by Susan Trachman emphasizes many of these points regarding Holistic Psychiatry and its many uses in helping individuals with mental maladies. She endorses a more broad range approach that includes meditation, diet, exercise and better sleep patterns. She believes that this more broad approach can produce better results for mental issues such as depression. She states,
“Functional or holistic psychiatry is an emerging approach to mental healthcare that emphasizes the underlying biological, psychological, and social factors contributing to mental health issues. It considers the unique genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors influencing each individual’s mental health. Functional psychiatry is an approach to mental illness that considers the whole individual when treating psychiatric conditions like depression or anxiety.”
“What Is Holistic Psychiatry?”. Susan Trachman. April 22nd, 2023. Psychology Today.
Depression for many is an issue that has no direct correlation with loss itself. While depression can grow from pro-longed grief and unresolved grief issues directly related to loss, many suffer from depression based solely on genetics or issues within the brain and its production of various chemicals. Imbalances can cause a sense of lost and lack of meaning in life. It can lead to all the symptoms associated with loss but without the specific reason. Hence a person suffering from depression usually requires counseling and medication to rectify the imbalance. For many this is a life long journey with reoccurring bouts of depression.
The same holds true for anxiety. Unlike stress which has a direct correlation with a stressor, anxiety is an extreme nervousness and uneasiness when nothing is wrong in one’s life. One can feel extremely paranoid, nervous, and uneasy to the point one is crippled from even leaving one’s own bed. This mental ailment also requires professional guidance and the imbalance created in the mind is usually treated with a variety of medications, including Xanax.
Many individuals unfortunately cope improperly when dealing with depression or anxiety. They can turn to drugs and alcohol or turn to other unhealthy life choices when looking to escape the depression or anxiety. This is why if dealing with anxiety and depression it is important to face it with the aid of a licensed counselor, or a healthcare professional with the appropriate training and legal abilities to help one learn better coping strategies and also provide, if necessary, the required medication.
Holistic and Integrative Mental Care
When dealing with these intense issues, one should finding a professional who is also well versed in holistic and integrative health care. Some licensed mental care providers are also trained and certified in Holistic and Integrative healthcare. Functional Psychiatry is an excellent source to help individuals receive the care they need when facing depression, anxiety or other health maladies. As stated above, these healthcare providers can supply an individual with a more broad based plan that goes beyond just analyzing one’s mental state and brain but also look at other social and behavioral aspects in one’s life. While medication is still pivotal, Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Professionals can also guide individuals with proper exercise, sleeping patterns, meditation and even diet. Sometimes, issues within the mind are interconnected with one’s own social and behavioral patterns and diet, meditation, lack of sleep and exercise can be big issues in finding peace and calm from depression, anxiety and other mental maladies.
Those who utilize this type of broader review of mental malady have an interest in a more whole view of health instead of merely analyzing one’s mind and the symptoms. Instead, providers of this nature look to treat the entirety of the person and look to find any interconnections within the totality of the person. Instead of masking symptoms with medication, one looks to find the source of the issue and attempt to fix it with better life style and healthier diet.
Numerous healthcare professionals approve of a holistic approach, one just merely has to research and find those who adhere to those principles. Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners with Psychiatric training, Physicians, Social Workers and Licensed Counselors, as well as Psychologists and Psychiatrists can all play key roles in applying holistic principles. Many of these healthcare professionals also have additional training in Functional Psychiatry or Holistic and Integrative Health and can apply it to treatment.
Treating the entirety of the human person is a core principle in holistic health. It looks not just at the symptoms but looks to discover the source through a multifaceted investigation of the totality of the human person. Functional Psychiatry looks at the entirety of the human person beyond merely the mental aspect, but also ones physical, emotional and behavioral self. In this way it looks at exercise, meditation, sleep and diet as additional areas of concern when dealing with depression, anxiety or other mental ailments.
AIHCP offers for professionals who are seeking an additional certification in holistic health, a Holistic Nursing or Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Certification. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Holistic Nursing. Please review the program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.
“What Is Holistic Psychiatry? (And Why You Should Consider It!)”. A Radiantly Healthy Life. Access here
“Holistic Therapy: Treating Body, Mind, and Spirit for Whole Person Healing”. Ann Mayer. February 9th, 2022. Healthline. Access here
“Is Holistic Therapy Right for You?”. Kendra Cherry. April 13th, 2023. VeryWellMind. Access here
“A Holistic Approach to Treating Depression”. Ellen Greenlaw. July 6th, 2010. Access here
“Holistic Approach to Anxiety and Depression Treatment”. Dr. Joseph N. Ranieris D.O. November 5th, 2020. Discovery Institute. Access here
If one is dealing with grief or loss it can be a difficult time to balance oneself emotionally. Adapting to loss can take a long time. Unfortunately, complications in the grieving process can occur which can lead to depression. Clinical Counselors can help individuals deal with depression however sometimes medication are required to help balance the brain during depression. Many prefer healthy coping strategies or herbal remedies.
One successful strategy is exercise. Exercise has an ability to release endorphins that elevate one’s mood and grant a higher sense of self and accomplishment. Of course the biggest problem is motivation to work out or exercise while depressed but for those who are able to find the ability to exercise, will find rewards during depression. Exercise has been shown to be more effective for individuals dealing with depression. The article, “Move Your Mind: Exercise Outperforms Medication for Depression and Anxiety” by Ben Singh, Carol Maher, and Jacinta Brinsley from University of South Australia reviews the benefits of exercise to cope with depression over various medications. The article states,
“Exercise is believed to impact mental health through multiple pathways, and with short and long-term effects. Immediately after exercise, endorphins and dopamine are released in the brain. In the short term, this helps boost mood and buffer stress. Long term, the release of neurotransmitters in response to exercise promotes changes in the brain that help with mood and cognition, decrease inflammation, and boost immune function, which all influence our brain function and mental health.”
“Move Your Mind: Exercise Outperforms Medication for Depression and Anxiety”. Ben Singh, Carol Maher, and Jacinta Brinsley. April 11th, 2023. SciTechDaily.
Holistic and Integrative Health Care Specialists look for alternative and other ways to help individuals face mental and physical issues from a more natural standpoint. Grief Counselors also look to help individuals cope with grief through support and advice. The simplicity of exercise alone can play a key role in a grief counseling plan as a well as a holistic perspective in dealing with loss and if worst depression.
A Closer Look at Grief and Exercise in Holistic and Integrative Practices
Depression is a complex mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, trauma, and environmental stressors. Symptoms of depression can include persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and difficulty concentrating.
While depression is often treated with medication and therapy, these methods may not be enough for some individuals. That’s where a holistic approach comes in. Rather than simply addressing the symptoms of depression, a holistic approach takes into account the whole person and aims to treat the root cause of the problem.
The Limitations of Traditional Treatment
Traditional treatment methods for depression can be effective, but they often only address one aspect of the problem. Medication, for example, can help alleviate symptoms of depression, but it doesn’t address the underlying causes of the condition. Similarly, therapy can be helpful in providing coping mechanisms and support, but it may not be enough to fully address the problem.
That’s why a holistic approach that considers the whole person is so important. By addressing all aspects of the problem – physical, mental, and emotional – a holistic approach can be more effective in treating depression.
What is a Holistic Approach to Depression?
A holistic approach to depression is one that takes into account the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. Rather than simply treating the symptoms of depression, a holistic approach aims to treat the root cause of the problem. This can include addressing physical health issues, such as poor nutrition or lack of exercise, as well as emotional and spiritual issues.
A holistic approach to depression may include a variety of different treatments, such as therapy, medication, and alternative therapies like acupuncture or massage. The goal is to create a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses all aspects of the problem.
The Importance of Exercise for Mental Health
Exercise is a powerful tool in the fight against depression. Research has shown that regular exercise can be just as effective as medication in treating mild to moderate depression. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters, and can help reduce stress and anxiety.
In addition, exercise can have a positive impact on self-esteem and confidence, both of which can be negatively affected by depression. By incorporating exercise into a depression treatment plan, individuals can improve their overall mental health and well-being.
How Exercise Affects the Brain and Body
Exercise has a powerful impact on both the brain and body. Physically, exercise can help improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle strength and flexibility, and improve overall physical fitness. Mentally, exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and increase cognitive function.
Research has also shown that exercise can help promote the growth of new brain cells, which can help improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. By incorporating regular exercise into a depression treatment plan, individuals can improve both their physical and mental health.
The Benefits of Incorporating Exercise into Your Depression Treatment Plan
Incorporating exercise into a depression treatment plan can have a number of benefits. First and foremost, exercise can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. In addition, exercise can help improve overall physical health and well-being, which can have a positive impact on mental health.
Regular exercise can also help individuals develop a sense of routine and structure, which can be helpful in managing depression. Exercise can provide a sense of accomplishment and can help improve self-esteem and confidence.
Types of Exercises Recommended for Depression
There are a variety of different types of exercise that can be effective in treating depression. Aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, can be particularly effective in reducing symptoms of depression. Yoga and other mind-body practices can also be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety.
Strength training, such as weightlifting, can help improve overall physical fitness and can have a positive impact on mental health as well. Finding an exercise routine that you enjoy and can stick to is key in incorporating exercise into a depression treatment plan.
Incorporating Other Holistic Practices into Your Routine
In addition to exercise, there are a variety of other holistic practices that can be helpful in treating depression. These can include therapy, meditation, acupuncture, massage, and more. By incorporating a variety of different practices into a depression treatment plan, individuals can address all aspects of the problem and improve overall health and well-being.
Additional Resources for Holistic Depression Treatment
If you’re interested in a more holistic approach to depression treatment, there are a variety of resources available. Talk to your doctor or mental health professional about incorporating exercise and other holistic practices into your treatment plan. You can also look for local support groups or classes that focus on holistic health and wellness.
Conclusion: Taking a Holistic, Whole-Person Approach to Depression
Depression is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive treatment plan. While traditional treatment methods can be effective, they often only address one aspect of the problem. By incorporating exercise and other holistic practices into a depression treatment plan, individuals can address all aspects of the problem and improve overall health and well-being.
It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to depression treatment. What works for one person may not work for another. That’s why it’s important to work with your doctor or mental health professional to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and circumstances.
If you’re struggling with depression, know that there is hope. By taking a holistic, whole-person approach to treatment, you can improve your mental, physical, and emotional health and live a happier, healthier life.
Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program as well as AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals. Please review and see if the programs meet your academic and professional goals.
“Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression”. February 2nd, 2021. Harvard Health Publishing. Access here
Exercise and Depression. Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD. April 1st, 2022. WebMD. Access here
“Here’s How Science Says Exercise Helps Depression”. Cathy Lovering. May 21st, 2022. PsychCentral. Access here
“What Is the Link Between Exercise and Depression?”. Sara Lindberg. January 4th, 2021. VeryWellMind. Access here
While society teaches that males should keep sadness to themselves, psychology teaches that like all human beings, males, as females, need to express their feelings and grieve their losses in order to heal and properly cope with grief. Social taboo prevents this for many men and it prevents healthy grieving and can lead to complications within grief itself. With that said, men, like women can become depressed and need the same outlets and aid that women need.
The article, “8 Surprising Signs of Depression in Men” by Valeria Martinez Kaigi, PhD. takes a closer look at depression and men. She points out that depression exhibits itself differently in men and one needs to notice the signs. She relates that aggression and frustration and substance abuse are some of the many signs of depression in men, as well as sexual dysfunction. She laments though that many men are reluctant to seek help unlike women. She states also that suicide tied to depression is 4 times higher with men then women due to impulse and risk taking of men. She remarks,
“First, depression is associated with more impulsive and risk-taking behavior and substance misuse in men, which can quickly escalate to behaviors that lead to suicide. Second, men are less likely to talk to a healthcare provider or therapist about their mental health and get the support they need, such as medications or talk therapy. Finally, the symptoms of depression in men are not often recognized by men themselves, their healthcare providers, or loved ones. Which means that many men — and the people closest to them — may not realize they need help in the first place. That’s why it’s so important to know, and share, the above signs of depression.”
“8 Surprising Signs of Depression in Men”. Valeria Martinez Kaigi, PhD. December 1st, 2022. Hartford Health Care.
It can be difficult for men to recognize the symptoms of depression, let alone ask for help. With the right understanding and resources, however, it is possible to recognize the signs of depression in men and get them the help they need. In this blog article, we’ll explore the common symptoms of depression in men, how to recognize them, and where to find help.
Grief Counselors can help identify signs of depression and guide individuals to licensed therapists.
Introduction to Depression in Men
Depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions of people across the world. It’s important to recognize that even though men and women can experience similar symptoms of depression, the experience of depression can be very different between genders. Depression in men is often less recognizable than it is in women, and men are often less likely to seek help or talk about their feelings.
Depression in men can be particularly difficult to recognize because men are often expected to be strong and self-reliant. As a result, men can feel like they can’t express their emotions or seek help for their depression. This can make it difficult for men to recognize their own symptoms of depression, or for those around them to recognize them.
Common Symptoms of Depression in Men
When it comes to understanding depression in men, it is important to recognize the common symptoms of depression. These symptoms can be divided into four main categories: physical, behavioral, emotional, and mental.
Physical Symptoms of Depression in Men
Physical symptoms of depression in men can include changes in appetite, changes in weight, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and digestive problems. Men with depression may also experience a decrease in libido, or a lack of energy and motivation.
Behavioral Symptoms of Depression in Men
Behavioral symptoms of depression in men can include withdrawal from activities they once enjoyed, changes in eating patterns, increased substance use, and increased risk-taking behavior. Men with depression may also have difficulty focusing or making decisions, and they may become easily agitated or irritable.
Emotional Symptoms of Depression in Men
Emotional symptoms of depression in men can include feelings of guilt and worthlessness, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, sadness, and difficulty feeling pleasure. Men with depression may also experience changes in their mood, such as feeling anxious or tense, or feeling flat and disconnected from their emotions.
Mental Symptoms of Depression in Men
Mental symptoms of depression in men can include difficulty concentrating and making decisions, racing thoughts, negative thought patterns, and suicidal thoughts. Men with depression may also experience intrusive thoughts or images, or they may become overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks.
How to Recognize the Symptoms of Depression in Men
The best way to recognize the symptoms of depression in men is to look for changes in behavior and mood. It is important to note that not all men will experience the same symptoms of depression, and that symptoms can vary from person to person. It is also important to recognize that the symptoms of depression in men can be subtle, and that men may not express their feelings in the same way that women do.
If you are concerned that a man you know may be suffering from depression, it is important to be aware of the common symptoms of depression in men. Look for changes in their behavior, such as a decrease in energy or motivation, changes in their eating patterns, or an increase in substance use. Also, keep an eye out for changes in their mood, such as feelings of guilt or worthlessness, or feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.
How to Help a Man Who is Depressed
If you are concerned that a man you know is suffering from depression, it is important to let them know that you are there to support them. Offer to listen without judgement, and let them know that they can come to you for help. Encourage them to seek professional help, and let them know that there is nothing wrong with seeking help for their mental health.
It is also important to recognize that sometimes it is not enough to just be supportive. If you think that the man you know is at risk of harming themselves or others, it is important to seek professional help immediately.
Where to Find Help for Men with Depression
There are many resources available for men who are struggling with depression. The best place to start is to speak to a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. They will be able to assess the severity of the depression and recommend the best course of action. A certified Grief Counselor can also supply help in guiding someone through loss or directing one to a licensed therapist.
In addition to speaking to a mental health professional, there are many support groups and helplines available that can provide support and advice. These helplines are often available 24/7, and they can provide a safe space to talk and share experiences.
Depression in men is a serious issue that can be difficult to recognize. It is important to be aware of the common symptoms of depression in men and to be supportive of those who are struggling. If you are concerned that a man you know may be suffering from depression, it is important to encourage them to seek professional help and to provide them with resources and support. With the right understanding and resources, it is possible to recognize the signs of depression in men and get them the help they need.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling. Certified Grief Counselors can help men become more aware of their feelings and how to better cope with loss and properly grieve. Grief Counselors can also help men it is OK to grieve and that public stigma against a man who cries it not only outdated but also untrue.
“Male depression: Understanding the issues”. Mayo Clinic. December 21st, 2022. Mayo Clinic. Access here
“What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Men?”. Erica Cirino. April 7th, 2021. Healthline. Access here
“Depression in Men”. Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD. September 4th, 2022. WebMD. Access here
“Understanding the Signs of Depression in Men”. Alison Yarp, MD, MPH. December 17th, 2022. VeryWellHealth. Access here
Depression is a pathological mental issue for many Americans. It can make many adults, as well as teens, feel worthless and aimless in life. The ironic nature of this disorder is that it usually owes its source to no particular loss. It is a more a general feeling of low self-esteem, lethargy, and sadness. One feels hopeless. One loses interests in activities or being around others in general. One loses energy to move sometimes even out of bed. The disorder can come and go, persist or move with the seasons.
Understanding the differences between depression and normal grief, even complicated grief is important. The American Academy of Grief Counseling has posted numerous blogs and videos on the issues of depression, complicated grief, prolonged grief and normal grief. It is very important to understand when one has a pathological grief. While no one person is the same in grieving, there are signs that can lead to what is more nefarious forms of grief or sadness.
In general, grief over a particular loss, consists in a period of 6 months to 1 year. Note already, even complications in grief are usually associated with a particular loss or event, something which depression is not. For those who experience a loss that is more traumatic, or sudden, there is always a greater chance of complications than if the loss was “normal”. Even if perceived as normal, complications can exist.
Individuals who suffer a loss can experience prolonged grief within the 6 month period and it can persist well beyond the 1 year period. These sudden feelings of sadness once associated with depression, are in themselves their own pathology. The emotions in prolonged grief are more intense over an extended period of time and they center around the loss. Lack of association with others or places that correlate with the individual are avoided. Disinterest in life is generally focused and centered around the loss too, as well as extreme emotional guilt or regret centered around the loss of person. All of these intense feelings flood into the person’s overall life. In contrast, depression is a more general loss of hope, a more general dissociation from places and activities.
Individuals can also, unfortunately, suffer from both depression and prolonged grief. Certified Grief Counselors need to send any clients who show these symptoms to therapists or Licensed Professional Counselors. A Certified Grief Counselor who is not also a Licensed Professional Counselor is not permitted by law to work with these cases.
Due to this, diagnosis of depression or any type of grief complications are reserved for therapists.
The article, “Detecting and Diagnosing Depression: It Can Look Different in Men and Women and in Teenagers, Too” by Joseph Bennington-Castro takes a closer look at diagnosing depression and the extreme importance of detecting depression early. He lists the numerous symptoms for depression in adults and teens as well as in men and women. He also gives additional resources for help for those who feel depressed and think these symptoms may match their behavior. The article states,
“Depression doesn’t affect all people in exactly the same way, but the illness is associated with particular signs and symptoms. There is a minimum number of symptoms needed for a clinical diagnosis of depression, but the combination and exact number of symptoms in each person can vary. If you have been experiencing some of the following symptoms for most of the day, almost every day, for two weeks or more, you may be struggling with depression”
“Detecting and Diagnosing Depression: It Can Look Different in Men and Women and in Teenagers, Too”. Joseph Bennington-Castro. September 6th, 2022. EveryDayHealth.
Bennington-Castro in his article lists a variety of symptoms for depression that occur within a day to two week period or more. If someone experiences many of these symptoms without any root loss or cause, then one should seek professional help to treat depression.
Types of Depression
There are several types of depression that researchers have identified. The most common types are major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder. Major depressive disorder is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities that lasts for at least two weeks. Dysthymic disorder is a less severe form of depression that can last for years. Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of depression alternated with periods of mania.
Signs of Depression
The symptoms of depression can be divided into two categories: somatic and psychological. The somatic symptoms of depression include fatigue, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, sleep disturbances, and slowed thinking and movement. The psychological symptoms of depression include feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and hopelessness, as well as loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Some people may experience thoughts of death or suicide when they are depressed.
There are a number of conditions that must be met in order to diagnose someone with depression. First, the person must have a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Second, the person must have at least four of the following symptoms: changes in appetite or weight, sleep problems, fatigue or low energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide. These conditions are based on a period of time persisting over two weeks. Unlike complicated grief, most cases of depression have no primary source of loss, although depression can coincide with an already existing loss and amplify it.
Causes of Depression
Depression is a mental disorder that is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression can be caused by a number of factors, including genetic predisposition, brain chemistry, life events, and medical conditions. It could be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, it could be due to stressful life events, or it could be a combination of both. Depression is also often hereditary, so if you have a family member who suffers from depression, you may be more likely to experience it yourself.
Treatment for Depression
Depression is a serious mental illness that affects millions of people around the world. While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for depression, there are many effective treatments available. These include medication, psychotherapy, and self-care strategies. Medication can be an effective treatment for depression, especially when used in combination with psychotherapy. Commonly prescribed medications for depression include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers.
Depression can affect all genders and ages. It can be caused by numerous factors but usually has no true source in itself. The feelings of despair and loss of hope are more general than acute and persist for over 2 weeks. There are a variety of physical and mental symptoms. It is important to note that Grief Counselors that are not Licensed Professional Counselors cannot treat depression. While Prolonged Grief can seem to appear as depression, it is a different disorder, hence it is extremely important to have an accurate diagnosis if one has some type of depression in order to receive the necessary counseling and medication that may be needed.
Please also review The American Academy of Grief Counseling’s, Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Grief Counselor.
“What distinguishes prolonged grief disorder from depression?”. Pål Kristensen, Kari Dyregrov, Atle Dyregrov. November 16th, 2022. Tidsskr Nor Legeforen 2017. 137: 538-9. Access here
“Complicated Grief vs. Depression”. Tim Jewell. December 8th, 2017. Healthline. Access here
“Conditions Related to Depression”. Julie Davis. July 17th, 2021. WebMD. Access here
Human happiness is very subjective and objective. It is objective in that ultimately, human happiness exists in a state of complete love that can never be taken away. In this ideal state of happiness, love is ever present and all desires and gains can never be stolen or taken. Of course, this type of happiness is in impossible in a fallen world. It is impossible to find love without the haunting thought of loss. Everything gained, can be taken back.
With this type of fear, objective true happiness can never exist in this fallen world but only parts of it here and there in the present. Yet, in this search, others turn to even less tenable forms of happiness that pend upon materialism, fame and success. These aspects are even more fragile than the objective search of love. Love, at least true love, exceeds human limits, albeit it can be taken in the temporal world, but material and social sources of happiness are even on more insecure ground. In themselves, they are not worthy of an end but only means to an end.
Hence, human beings look for happiness in many wrong places and find usually only fleeting moments in happiness, especially if “means” are designed as “ends”. Human beings will always face tragedy and loss but it is important to understand happiness cannot be found in this world in its complete sense. So it is extra crucial to place our values and love in only the most important people and ideals. Loss of anything, even the most valued, produces grief, but when value is over placed in only objects, then one opens oneself to greater grief over small things. This is why it is crucial to understand the importance of attachment to only the most valued ideals or people. Some would contend this is placing ultimate happiness in God or a form of life philosophy.
Due to human beings seeking happiness in every venue, people experience loss and grief in immaterial and material things. When these attachment, whether worthy of love or not, are taken from the individual, a sense of dread and grief is experienced. This type of dread and loss in the search of happiness can also manifest in things that are not tangible or connected to person, but can be losses associated with something that is not even in one’s possession. Ideas that surround the ideal of happiness in life can also haunt and cause discord and grief in a person. Unfulfilled dreams, lack of opportunities, poor life choices, and non touchable ideals that would grant happiness are not found.
The person hence possesses an nonfinite grief. A gnawing grief that chews upon the person’s existential quest of perfection and happiness.
The article, “Grieving the Life You Expected: Nonfinite Grief and Loss” by Litsa from “What’s Your Grief” explores the many facets of nonfinite grief. The article explores various schemas of how one wishes a particular life may have turned out and how this can cause discord and sadness in life. The article continues to look at how one can face infinite grief in life and attempt to find happiness in the life that exists. The article states, ”
“Nonfinite grief is the grief we feel when we lose these non-tangible things, watching our imagined future dissolve. In Nonfinite Loss and Grief, Bruce and Shultz define the grief that exists when life falls short of our expectations. They say that nonfinite losses are losses “contingent development; the passage of time; and on a lack of synchrony with hopes, wishes, ideals, and expectations”.
“Grieving the Life You Expected: Nonfinite Grief and Loss”. Litsa. October 16th, 2022. What’s Your Grief
From what we understand then about nonfinite grief, it is not tangible in itself, but is something that exists within the deepest parts of our souls. It is a discontentment with how life or our trajectory of life has unfolded. Some may be unware of it, but it is an overall unhappiness sometimes with existence itself. Wishes, dreams, or what should have been start to play a central role in the life of the person. This can be a life of the road not taken but also of the road that one wishes would have been available. Individuals who have heavy crosses to bear, or wish to live a regular life due to an illness or a loved one with a disease. In some ways for those, this becomes similar to secondary losses of opportunity.
Learning to handle this general displeasure with life can be more for others. Some individuals may carry a different life view. It is not necessarily based upon how much money someone has or how many cars one owns. While for some, these material gains may be a measuring stick, for many, we see unhappy wealthy people and very happy poorer people. Hence it is based upon one’s own convictions and beliefs in what life means and should be. It is about the ability to cope and adjust. It is about possessing a world view philosophy or spirituality that guides one through the turbulent waters of life. Many individuals do not possess an anchor that holds them still in the sea of life and they fall victim to many false faces of happiness. They find regret and sadness in things and unfulfilled expectations.
Does this mean we should dismiss such general sadness? While it is important to find a life view that guides a person, it is equally important to help those who do not possess an anchor in life. Those with anchors can suffer enough, but those without, can find themselves in far more restless situations of unhappiness.
First, it is important never to dismiss any type of negative emotion. Why someone is unhappy needs to be addressed and validated. “Whats Your Grief” discusses that many schemas in life do not turn out how one wanted one’s life to turn out. For example, someone who always envisioned a family and children, who never married or had children can live an empty life. Others who envision a successful career but are struggling due to the market may also find displeasure with life. So, the life or road not travelled can become a painful reminder about the current life itself.
It is OK to mourn the life you do not have. It is OK to look and see what is currently wrong in the existing life. This is important for a variety of reasons. First, it is critical to acknowledge feelings so they do not gnaw at oneself from the inside. Second, reflection leads to real change and adaptation. While not everything can be changed in life, there are many things that can be improved or altered in a life style to maybe align oneself more closer to the desired end.
However, in acknowledging these feelings and looking for change, one must also realistically separate fact from fiction. Certain things may not be able to be changed, or improved. To be at peace with reality and adjust to the reality is key in finding happiness. Somethings were not meant to be and when acceptance of that finally occurs, there can a be a peace. This peace can also lead to alternate opportunities. Furthermore, one does not need to completely despise the existence one possesses in contrast to one’s desired path. There are good and bad in both viewed existences.
Again, a strong life view, spirituality or philosophy can help anchor an individual with these nonfinite losses and ghosts, but one needs first to understand what matters most in this fallen world. If one chases objects and worldly things, then grief and loss and discontentment will be a constant in life. We grieve too much over what matters and what life has given to worry over alternate losses. This again does not mean to denounce or not try to find change if possible. It does not mean that these feelings do not need validated either, but it does mean, we can reshape our ideas of hope and our own personal identity to fit the existence we have. We can change what we can but we can also shape the existence we have into something better.
Nonfinite grief is real. It is the road not traveled. It is the life not fulfilled. It is the career never started or the child never had. It is a life long sadness. Sometimes it is placed in more valuable pursuits, while other times it is placed upon trivial worldly things. Regardless, it needs to be validated, understood and utilized to either help with current contentment or adjustment to something better.
Grief Counselors can help the sad of heart validate their feelings regarding “what if” or “how it should have been”, but grief counselors also need to help individuals reshape their identity and hope to the existing situation. These acknowledgements can help a person fix certain things or at least adjust to the existence that is given and find the good in it. Again, grief counselors can also help guide individuals to things more worthy of attention and within one’s own control.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.
“What Is Happiness?”. Psychology Today Staff. Psychology Today. Access here
“Intangible grief”. Heather McEwen. August 25th, 2014. By Heart and Hand. Access here
“What’s Intangible Loss? Definition + How to Cope”. Dr. Alejandra Vasquez, JD, CT. May 2nd, 2022. Cake. Access here
“What Is Happiness and Why Is It Important? (+ Definition)”. Courtney Akerman. February 16th, 2019. Positive Psychology. Access here