Depression is an illness that increasingly afflicts people worldwide. It often interferes with concentration, motivation and many other aspects of everyday functioning, therefore feeling depressed is often complex, involving many systems of the body, including the immune system. Depression disrupts sleep, and it interferes with appetite. In some cases it causes weight loss, in others weight gain. Because of it’s complexity, a full understanding of depression has been elusive.
Everyone experiences an occasional blue mood; but feeling depressed is a more pervasive experience of repetitive negative thinking, a bleak outlook, and lack of energy. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better.
Even in the most severe cases, depression is highly treatable. Many studies show that the most effective treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy, which addresses thought patterns. In addition, regular mindfulness meditation, on its own or combined with cognitive therapy, can help by disengaging attention from the repetitive negative thoughts that often set in motion the downward spiral of mood. Therefore, counseling is an important part of breaking the negative cycle, changing thinking and feeling better.
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