Depression is a condition that plagues millions of people throughout the world. Some will only experience fleeting episodes, but for many of us, bouts with depression can be a long-term chronic condition. Depression is linked to numerous negative health outcomes and can destroy lives. Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact causes and mechanisms of depression. Common thought used to be that it was caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. More recent understanding suggests multiple causes and internal mechanisms are to blame.
There are several biological aspects of depression that are well-understood, however. We know that most people suffering depression have a deficit of the neurotransmitter serotonin in their brains. Serotonin is actually produced in the gut, not in the brain. So we realize that a healthy gut is essential for managing depression symptoms. We also know that certain parts of the brain are structurally different in those dealing with depression. For example, the hippocampus appears to be smaller in people with depression. The evidence is also clear that trauma and depression go hand and hand.
I also use my background as a cultural anthropologist to understand and contextualize depression. Throughout the vast majority of human history, we lived in small groups of fifty to a hundred individuals. We would have known these same people throughout our lives, forming deep, intimate, and supportive bonds. All members of the group would have the same access to food and housing, so if tragedy struck, everyone was in the same boat together -not simply some who have nothing, while those around them are comfortable. Since so much of our time on this planet was spent this way – millions of years, versus a few hundred of modern society – we haven’t fully adapted. This isolating and difficult experience of surviving in this day and age has taken its toll. Even if we don’t struggle with housing or food insecurity, many of us have challenges connecting meaningfully to others, much less finding the time to do so. Add to this mix the complexity of modern technology, and many of us find ourselves overwhelmed. Even though modern life feels very normal, in the grand scale of history, it is still new and often challenging.
That being said, this is the world we’re living in, so managing it is essential for the best quality of life possible. Whether your someone whose depression is mostly situational, to those whose depression is chronic, neurofeedback is incredibly effective for beginning the process of healing. Typically the day of a neurofeedback training, the person leaves feeling relaxed and experiencing fewer symptoms. This effect can last for the day or days at first. With each session building upon the next. intervals of calm stretch out and become the new normal. Several sessions can speed up the recovery process and help you feel better sooner.
For many of us, medications and therapy alone have done little to solve the problems. Those suffering are looking for solutions. Often a holistic approach that combines different types of treatment can be best. If medication and therapy are working for you, those should be continued. But if your quality of life isn’t where you want it to be, there are a wide variety of ways to manage depression symptoms. It takes time to find what works for you, because these issues are multi-faceted and generally take a variety of treatment methods combined. I can help with understanding options. But I began practicing neurofeedback because I see it as an excellent place to begin healing. Since it helps you calm your nervous system, a more-centered you feels more motivated to make other changes, like eating better, exercising and sleeping well.
For more information on specific holistic wellness methods beyond neurofeedback, check out my live-shot videos on my Restorations Neurofeedback and Wellness Facebook page. http://Facebook.com/restorationsneurofeedback