It is estimated that one in every five adults will have at least one episode of major depression in their lifetime. But depression comes in many forms.
At one extreme end of the spectrum is severe clinical depression. Characteristics include profound despair, hopelessness, and the complete inability to take pleasure in anything (anhedonia). Severe depression may also cause cognitive confusion, memory loss, the inability to make simple decisions, and even forgetting where you are going after starting the car.
At the other end of the depression spectrum are people who are “mildly” depressed, or “dysthymic”, on a long-term, chronic basis. They may function well in the world, but feel uninspired and unfulfilled; that they are not living up to their potential. Like severely depressed patients, dysthymics are prone to persistent negative thinking, endless recrimination, and repetitive rumination.
The traditional treatment for depression has been medication and/or therapy, which can mean years of mixed efficacy. Clients may develop certain personal insights. But even “insight” doesn’t prevent negative or anxious thinking.
Some of us are learning that the belief that negative thinking causes depression is backwards. In reality the physical brain (not the mind) is more often than not the origin of negative thoughts. A depressed brain will generate depressing thoughts, not just the other way around. By working directly with the nervous system, Direct Neurofeedback can help. As such, Direct Neurofeedback offers a fresh approach to depression.