Depression often has multiple causes, and these causes are generally intertwined — which means there is not just one way of dealing with it.
From what I've seen during 46 years of working with clients who are suffering from depression, medication has been the least effective treatment. In fact, many of my clients come to me because the medication isn't working and is causing multiple detrimental side effects.
So what does cause depression, and what's the best way to treat it? These are the five major causes of depression that I've discovered.
1. Emotional self-abandonment
The most common cause of depression is self-abandonment, both emotional and physical.
You are emotionally abandoning yourself when you stay focused up in your head — ignoring your feelings — rather than being present in your body, attending to your feelings.
You emotionally abandon yourself when you judge yourself, allowing your programmed ego mind to be in charge, rather than your present, loving self.
When you turn to addictions to avoid and numb your feelings, you are emotionally abandoning yourself, and you may be physically abandoning yourself — depending on the addiction.
When you blame others for your feelings and try to make another responsible for your happiness, safety and self-worth, you are emotionally abandoning yourself.
If you treated an actual child this way, he or she would likely be depressed. The same thing happens on the inner level with your inner child.
2. Physical self-abandonment
You abandon yourself physically when you:
Regularly eat sugar and processed foods
Overconsumption of sugar likely contributes to depression, and most processed foods turn to sugar in the body. You are physically abandoning yourself when you don't eat fresh, clean organic food.
Don't get enough sleep
It's also well known that a lack of sleep causes depression. When you aren't disciplined enough to get adequate sleep — or you're putting too much caffeine or other stimulants in your body, preventing sleep — you are physically abandoning yourself.
Don't get adequate exercise
Studies indicate that exercise itself is often enough to decrease depression. When you are not disciplined enough to get regular and adequate exercise, you are physically abandoning yourself.
Don't drink enough water
A lack of adequate hydration can cause both anxiety and depression. You are physically abandoning yourself when you don't drink enough water. Try to drink a half ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.
Expose yourself to toxins
Consistently exposing yourself to toxins, such as chlorinated drinking water, GMO products, pesticides, food additives, asbestos or household mold, is physically self-abandoning and can cause or add to depression.
3. Unhealed trauma
Severe depression can result from unhealed trauma from childhood abuse and neglect, or from unhealed traumatic events that occurred as an adult. You're abandoning yourself when you don't do all you can to get the help you need to heal trauma.
There are many excellent trauma therapies currently available to support you in healing trauma. When you allow fear or self-judgment to get in the way of healing trauma, depression may result.
4. Lack of connection with others
Loneliness is often a major cause of depression. Keeping yourself isolated from others, or not doing all you can to meet like-minded people, is unloving to yourself. We are social beings and sharing with others is vital to our well-being.
Being in a disconnected relationship can be as lonely as being alone — and sometimes even lonelier. If you are often lonely in your relationship, then you need to find a way to get the help you need to either improve your connection with your partner or leave the relationship.
5. Over-reactive microglia
Microglia are cells in our brain that are part of our immune system. In his book, Total Recovery, Dr. Gary Kaplan says all trauma to the body — whether it's from self-abandonment, abuse, illness, surgery, junk food, chemical exposure or environmental toxins — has a cumulative effect on the microglia.
When trauma has accumulated in the microglia, a single triggering incident, such as a minor surgery, can cause the microglia to become over-reactive, which then causes depression and chronic pain. All of the causes listed above can be contributing factors in causing the microglia to up-regulate. In order to down-regulate the microglia, you need to focus on healing each of the above issues.
Instead of avoiding these issues with medication, why not learn how to heal them? The results might amaze you!