AS@W
AS@W Antidepressant Skills Workbook: Heling You Deal With Depression
What causes depression?
Physiology

Depression is accompanied by a variety of physical symptoms. One of the most powerful physical changes accompanying depression is impaired sleep. Usually, this involves an inability to get enough sleep, whether because the person has difficulty falling asleep, repeatedly wakes during the night, or awakens much too early. Sometimes the person may sleep too much, caused by a desire simply to hide away in sleep or a fatigue so pervasive that there never seems to be enough sleep. When sleep is “non-restorative” – that is, the person does not awake feeling refreshed and rested – it becomes harder to face the day and deal with problems. Depressed people often feel that they lack energy and are exhausted by everyday activities.

One theory of depression is that it is caused by changes in brain function, a “chemical imbalance”. There is research showing that, for some depressed people, certain neurochemicals in the brain are less active. It is unclear, however, whether these changes in brain chemistry commonly cause depression. All we know is that depression is often associated with changes in brain chemistry.

The physiological changes of depression make it harder to cope with life problems or even to follow the steps of a depression management program like this one. Antidepressant medication can often be quite helpful in restoring sleep and regaining your sense of physical energy. It can allow you to actively learn and try out the new skills needed to overcome depression.

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