What is depression?
Most of us have forgotten (or were never taught) that our emotions are actually an expressions of our natural "feelings" system. As expressions of our feelings, emotions should be considered as a "Language" which is learned and varies with each of us. This deep internal language, which comes from inside, is intended for our unconscious mind to direct our conscious mind's attention to attend to whatever is needed.
|For some:|| "Fun" =||"Laughter" - an obvious expression |
|For others:|| "Fun" =||"Internalized Contentment" - a not so obvious expression|
Both are different expressions, but similar "feelings". Both direct our conscious mind to continue the activity that promotes our inner sense of fun, enjoyment, and well-being.
Depression is a natural expression of our "feelings" system that says there is something disconnected. We are drawn inside to reflective thought in order to find new ways to correct the external world/situation so that we can "reconnect". When we disregard this inner communication, and persist with the activity (business as usual) we then tend to create natural adverse affects, i.e.: neuro-fatigue.
As a naturally occurring condition we can begin to experience these "feelings" and disconnects as a reflection of our quality or lack of quality of life. Are we missing something in life? Is our life out-of-balance with too much work and not enough fun or pleasurable activities. Or do we feel we do not have 'purpose' of life? Have we forgotten that one of the prime dictates in life is to develop strength of character? With adversity comes the opportunity to develop strength of character.
Most of us have never been taught to distinguish between our feelings and the language that is expressed to our conscious mind in order for us to "wake up and take action".This language is called emotions and as in all languages it is a learned behavior.
The Crossroads Approach
Crossroads Institute and Center's therapy is very different from other treatments of depression. Crossroads does not believe medications "fix" the problems but rather masks the symptoms. When the medication is stopped the issues or symptoms return. Medications by their very nature are neuro-inhibitors (Xanax) or re-uptake inhibitors (Prozac) and are designed to block off feelings. They enable you to escape from the pain. Medication inhibits the ability to perceive those states of pain and feeling. But more than pain is lost.... pleasure in life is also diminished. And once the drug wears off, the problems are still there.
Through the use of brain maps, neurodevelopmental assessments, metabolic and biological tests, Crossroads' team determines what is the root cause of the depression. The objective measurements, medical and biochemical assessments help determine whether the depression is an organic or psychological or processing issue.
The brain map gives an excellent image or "road map" of where to focus our attention for treatment and what the underlying root cause for the depression may be. It will pick up which type of depression is being experienced. Our assessment has built in "discriminants" that compare bipolar brain wave patterns and monopolar (unipolar) brain wave patterns with typical or normal brain wave patterns. So, not only will the brain map indicate if the brain is truly experiencing depression, but also which type of depression.
The neurodevelopmental assessment will indicate the current functional processing ability of the brain and whether it is processing to capacity.
Medical testing will indicate if their is a health issue that is compounding the depression or its effects.The health of the body dictates whether we are connected with life...if health is poor we need to correct the health issue not numb it out with medications...we need to pay attention to what our body (through lack of health) is telling us. We need to look at nutrition, diet and the metabolic systems of the body to determine the appropriate action to fix it.
Do we have depression due to neuro-fatigue? Is the central nervous system over stressed due to lifestyle, natural aging, or brain processing inefficiencies? Is our body telling us to correct these issues through "depression"?
When we look at depression from a "pharmacological" point of view, there are indeed specific biological markers which are highlighted. If the overall neuro-function of the individual has been over-strained we begin to develop neurofatigue. Our system is supposed to alert us into "changing" our world to create a healthy lifestyle. If we don't correct what is out of balance but merely continue to "mask" the issues with medications and sometimes multiple medications, then we are caught in an endless loop of pharmacological dependence.
To correct this issue, our biggest challenge is overcoming the mis-impression that depression is a chemical imbalance.
Types of Depressions
If we look at depression from a neurofunction point of view we know that there are many factors that need to be addressed simultaneously in order to correct the issue. Typically, we will have to address not only lifestyle issues but also the underlying physiological mechanisms that have been the cause of the over strain. Is the body producing the proper balance of neurotransmitters? How is this in turn affecting the brain's ability to function effectively and efficiently with sleep, stress, and daily demands? Measuring the determining what is out of balance is the first step to learning what is out of balance with the brain and body. The next step, which is equally important is to determine why these imbalances are taking place.
By "shutting off " through medications the brain's ability to naturally take in and balance what it needs will not correct the issue, merely mask it. That is why multiple medications at increasing doses are often necessary to continue the numbing effect.
Another type of depression can occur in individuals who experience hypo-pain (decreased levels of pain sensation) within the nervous system. This individual will not register a lot of pleasure and will find themselves staying within a painful situation much longer than needed. The nervous system itself is sending signals to the brain but the brain is not registering those signals. Therefore, the individual does not perceive life as very stimulating. They require more stimuli to activate their system. They look at life as not very much fun...but rather as depressing.
That's why we look at depression from a cognitive neuro-function point of view...what is in balance and what is out of balance. If there are imbalances, why? Based upon our objective measurements we chart an appropriate course to correct the physiology by making the person healthy and strong. We offer guidance, mentoring and counseling when necessary to help the individual improve their quality of lifestyle which in turn enhances their desire to engage passionately with life.
For most the depression will not return after treatment if they make the necessary life changes. Remember, if negative situations continue to occur due to poor choices then similar negative experiences will occur until changes are made. If the depression was caused due to a traumatic condition, health or nutrition it can be eliminated once the root cause is eliminated.
Crossroads Institute believes with our comprehensive approach and support the actual issues can be corrected...for the long term.