Everyone feels sad at one time or another. This feeling may even linger for quite a while. Clinical depression, however, is much more. It’s not a temporary experience. It is a diagnosable condition that impacts as many as 15 million people.
That’s almost 7 percent of adults, at any given time.
Overall, roughly one in five adults suffers from depression at some point. And this number continues to rise.
Common Depression Symptoms
Physical changes may include:
- Drastic change in sleeping habits
- Sudden increase or decrease in appetite
- Low energy, frequent fatigue
- Unexplained pain (particularly headaches and back pain)
Emotional issues may include:
- Bursts of extreme anger
- A sense of emptiness or hopeless
- Overwhelming sadness
- Easily becoming agitated
- Lack of concentration
- Memory loss
- Recurring thoughts of death
- Thinking and talking about suicide
There is also something called “Walking Smiling Depression”, where the individual disconnects from sadness, grief or depression and appears to be emotionally balanced to others while disconnecting from their feelings and perhaps making unhealthy choices.
Current Treatments for Depression
We’ve learned so much about the brain and its many conditions. Over the years, effective treatment options have been discovered and are evolving. These include medications, talk therapy, and a combination of both. Some common medications (e.g. Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft) have become household names.
As for therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common treatment choice. Results are often quite positive. However, as much as 30 percent of patients suffering from depression do not respond to these treatments. That’s where brain training comes in.
What is Brain Training?
In simple terms, brain training for depression treatment involves the following:
- Positive Imagery or Self-Hypnosis
In a recent study, people with depression were asked to activate areas of their brain that regulate positive emotion. How did they accomplish this? They figured it out on their own through a process called “real-time self-regulation.” Researchers gave some patients feedback on their performance. These patients showed marked improvement. Those not receiving feedback did not fare as well.
Researchers then gave some patients feedback on their performance. Those patients showed marked improvement. Those not receiving feedback did not fare as well or feel as good.
Then, the patients receiving feedback learned how to control perspective with their minds. At first, this may appear to be a simple activity. Yet, it marks a dramatic shift in mindset. Being able to make a mental image grow or shrink is no small task. You are teaching your brain to do more. You are also reminding yourself how much control you can have—even in the darkest of times.
Self-Hypnosis or mental imagery happens every day to all of us, only most of the time it is negative as we have wandering negative thoughts, feelings and memories with our default program running. With guided exercises, negative self-talk and mental imagery or self-hypnosis can be turned into positive thoughts and images and help to train the brain and central nervous system to use this as a healthier default program in life.
Neurofeedback, in particular NeurOptimal neurofeedback, is a way for the brain and central nervous system to become balanced and more resilient. It is an effective, easy and safe way to train your brain and optimize brain function for optimal emotional and mental balance.
How Brain Training for Depression Can Work for You
1. You’ll feel more in control over your emotions.
By putting the onus on the patients themselves, control is being handed over. Suddenly, those suffering from depression obtain a sense of power. Essentially, you see yourself as the director of your emotions with a choice of responses to depressive thoughts. This allows for more freedom, self- awareness, relationship, and emotional expression.
2. Improvement becomes part of your daily life.
Imagine yourself in a slouched position. Then imagine suddenly catching sight of yourself in the mirror. What would you do? Most likely, you’d straighten up in a hurry. This is not unlike the impact of neurofeedback.
Your brain begins to self-regulate and eventually, this really helps decrease negative emotions and increase optimism.
3. Hope re-enters the picture.
Depression can create new mental connections, driving new emotional responses.
Perhaps you try all the treatment options but cannot maintain positive energy. Brain training for depression reminds us that yes, we can reconnect with our best selves. The re-emergence of hope then creates its own momentum.
Again, clinical depression is a serious but common condition. Many skilled professionals have developed powerful treatment methods.
If you or someone you know is depressed, it’s important to seek help.
If you want to play an active role in your treatment, ask about Brain Training. It may be the most important tool in your journey towards recovery.