Negative Thoughts Can Lead to Bouts of Depression
“Life is unfair.” “I’m never going to get a raise.” “No one cares about me.” Do these thoughts sound familiar?
When it comes to mental health, how we think is one of the most important indicators of how we feel. If people tend to dwell on the negative aspects of their circumstances or surroundings, this can be a sign they are suffering from depression. Conversely, prolonged negative thinking can directly contribute to the development, recurrence, or worsening of depression disorder.
But which came first – the negative thoughts, or the depression? Although causation can be difficult to determine, depression treatment seeking to counteract negative thoughts often helps improve symptoms and gives patients a more positive outlook.
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How Negative Thoughts Can Cause or Exacerbate Depression
In healthy people and those coping with depression, a balance of negative and positive thoughts throughout the day is to be expected. However, when the balance tips too far toward negativity, it can trigger an extended period of depression, the symptoms of which may include:
- Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness or self-hate
- Excessive fatigue or lethargy
- Difficulty making decisions and concentrating
- Slower thought, movement or speech
- Loss of interest and pleasure in once enjoyable activities
- Suicidal ideation or thoughts of death
Individuals already facing these symptoms may find their condition worsening as a direct result of habitual negative thinking. Although the depression is not the patient’s fault, he or she may not fully comprehend the role thoughts play in feelings.
Counterbalancing Negativity during Depression Disorder Treatment
Coping with depression is never easy, especially with a negative voice in the patient’s brain, telling him or her life will never get better. However, treatment methods increasingly utilize “brain training” techniques to get individuals to learn how to think in more positive, constructive ways.
Therapists working to help patients counteract negative thoughts use tools such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With or without antidepressant medication, CBT has been quite effective at helping patients see improvements in depression symptoms. The method seeks to replace negative thinking patterns with alternative, useful thoughts to help them deal with feelings and situations more constructively.
- Relaxation techniques. Disciplines such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, and deep breathing help patients train their minds and bodies to control their feelings.
- Lifestyle changes. When individuals adopt healthier diets, obtain regular exercise, and cease alcohol or drug use, they find negative thoughts easier to combat.
- Journaling. Writing down negative thoughts help patients record and evaluate emotional triggers and their reactions to them. It also helps them track their perspectives as they change over time.
Choosing a Positive Treatment Option
For patients struggling with negative thoughts, simply seeking treatment is a significant accomplishment, even if they are not sure whether it will work for them. The staff at Bridges to Recovery respects and appreciates this decision, and we strive at every turn to show our patients recovery is possible.
At our unique, all-encompassing inpatient treatment facility, you or your loved one will experience a balanced mix of traditional and non-traditional techniques to help bring about individualized healing. To learn more about how we can help restore a sense of hope and positivity, contact us today.