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Depression is an insidious mental illness that exacerbates every worry and insecurity. When those side effects are coupled with the deeply ingrained social stigmas that surround serious mental illness, many patients who are dealing with depression withdraw into themselves. They may be afraid of censure or simply ashamed of what is happening to them, but this withdrawal is incredibly harmful to their recovery. It becomes vital to stop feeling ashamed of depression.

In order to begin the process of overcoming depression, patients first have to deal with the external factors that are making their symptoms worse.

The Origin of Shame in Depressed People

Every person experiences depression in a different way. They may exhibit different symptom sets based on their own responses to the condition and based on the severity of the condition. However, shame and self-loathing are quite common despite the range of experiences, and practically all people dealing with depression will experience them to some degree. Now, the reason behind this is two-fold.

  • Self-loathing is a by-product of depression itself. There are many factors that can contribute to depression, but extreme fatigue and loss of self-worth tend to come as a result.
  • In many modern societies, especially our own, mental illness is broadly associated with people who are weak in some way. To add an additional layer, many religious groups within the United States emphasize mental illness as a sign of moral laxity. The insinuation is that a person dealing with mental illness is lazy, unintelligent, or immoral. THIS IS FALSE.

Depression can be caused by traumatic life events, complex brain chemistry imbalances, medications, etc. No mental illness can be accurately tied back to a personal flaw. Therefore, the easiest way to start challenging your shame is to reject the assumptions of ignorant people. There are so many people out there who understand what you’re going through, so don’t sell yourself short.

Taking Baby Steps toward Self-Acceptance

It isn’t easy to learn self-love when you’re struggling with everyday life, so it’s best to start small. For anyone with a mental illness, the most important initial step is asking for help. It can be really challenging to discuss your state of mind with friends and family, so professional therapy is a great way to step towards recovery.

Of the many types of therapy available to patients with depression, one viable option is cognitive behavior therapy. If you were to have CBT for depression in LA, you would find it is designed to help us deal with those ultra-negative thoughts. Those ideas that crop up in the backs of our minds without warning. During sessions, your licensed therapist will talk you through some of your most harmful thoughts. At the same time, they teach you a framework for logically challenging them.

How to Stop Feeling Ashamed of Depression

Gaining the ability to challenge your own negativity and learning to recognize your own triggers is just one step on a long path, but it’s a start. The process of CBT is built with that in mind. Everyone at Cognitive Behavior Associates understands that your recovery will not be easy and it will not be linear. You are going to have days where you feel like you’re falling right back down to where you started. The important thing is that you will have a team waiting to help pick you back up.

Moving Forward

Once you’ve taken that first big step by asking for professional help, your specialist will help you to re-learn self-acceptance. Over time, your shame becomes more controlled. Then we can help you to expand your support network while introducing you to healthier coping mechanisms. By having a professional in your corner, you’re giving yourself the best chance of recovery.

We are currently living through one of the most challenging years in recent world history. The combination of economic distress, isolation, and the widespread loss of human life has naturally resulted in increased rates of mental illness across the board. However, it would be disingenuous to suggest that this trend is new. The truth is that organizations devoted to addressing mental illness in the United States have noted for several years that the rates of mental illness are continuously increasing. And we want to look at the link between sleep disorders and mental illness.

 

For the best cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia in Los Angeles, visit CBA. We provide treatment for a range of disorders, with high rates of success. When you visit our insomnia specialist in Beverly Hills, you can get back to a better quality of life.

Link between Sleep Disorders and Mental Illness

In 2018, Mental Health America found that 19% of American adults experienced mental illness that year. That is a 1.5 million person increase over the previous year. These same trends appear to replicate themselves among youth in the United States. Both are matched by increased rates of suicide ideation. Therefore, it is clear that mental illness is a prevalent and growing issue in the United States, one that we need to tackle to protect the health of the community.

The Chicken and the Egg

Previously, it was widely believed that mental health disorders were largely responsible for the fact that an astounding percentage of mental health patients also suffer from a sleep disorder. Continued research has clarified that perception, leading scientists to see the relationship as far more complex. Essentially, the link between sleep disorders and mental illness is a circular one, much like the proverbial chicken and the egg.

Researchers now realize that mental illness and sleep disorders are inextricably linked and often reinforce one another. This reinforcement may actually explain why mental health disorders can be so difficult to overcome. Lack of sleep makes it difficult to regulate our thoughts and emotions. Then the resulting struggle makes it more difficult to sleep. For many people, this is a serious problem that can make their struggle feel impossible. Fortunately, there are research-driven approaches that can help to relieve this burden.

Getting the Help You Need

Cognitive behavior therapy is a complex approach to treatment that works to help patients recognize harmful thoughts while developing coping mechanisms. This form of therapy can be paired with medication and additional counseling if appropriate. Still, your cognitive behavioral therapist’s primary aim will be to have you examine your own thoughts critically.

Analyzing your own anxieties and fears is a helpful way of undermining their connection to reality. Your therapist will help you isolate the thoughts that trigger your symptoms based on your mental illness’s nature. From there, you can discuss what validity those thoughts have, if any. By learning to recognize the thoughts and feelings that aggravate your mental illness, you can start deconstructing them to build a healthier relationship with yourself.

Applying Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Sleep Disorders

At Cognitive Behavior Associates, the staff understands that mental illness and sleep disorders go hand in hand. Their goal is to treat the whole person and that includes resolving sleep disorders that may make it harder for you to recover from your mental illness. Insomnia is the most common complaint, but there are several sleep disorders that commonly coexist with mental illness.

Working on Thoughts

For the most part, the general approach of cognitive behavior therapy can apply directly to patients suffering from insomnia. The CBA experts recognize that the harmful thoughts you have are often most clear as you lie awake in bed. However, there are some additional forms of treatment that your therapist may suggest in addition to your CBT treatment.

Programmable daylight lamps and blue light filtering lenses are some of the most common. These are useful because they limit the effect of external stimuli and maximize your natural circadian rhythm. Regardless of what approach you choose, CBT will give you everything you need to tackle your insomnia and your mental illness at the same time.

According to the Sleep Foundation, depression affects around 20 million Americans. Still, many experts believe that depression remains an under-reported condition. On the one hand, the long-surviving negative attitude surrounding mental illness is a contributing factor. But, the subtle nature of depression itself is responsible for patients going undiagnosed for months or even years. And, insomnia and depression often appear together.

Depression is characterized by its gradual onset and the mixed appearance of symptoms. The result is that it can be difficult to know that you have it before it becomes severe. This is true even if you are the one affected by depression. Recognizing your depression can be tougher than you might expect.

The difficulty of diagnosis becomes worse when loss of self-worth is a common symptom. As a result, many individuals with depression are too worried about wasting another person’s time. They see their problems as insignificant. This mindset prevents them from seeking the help they need. 

Factoring in Sleep

There are many symptoms regularly associated with depression. These can include physical symptoms like tiredness and changes in weight. But the more dangerous ones are mental. These include difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, loss of self-worth, and suicidal thoughts. 

Almost all depression patients experience one symptom: sleep disorders. You can have trouble sleeping, called insomnia. Or, you might find yourself sleeping for extended periods, called hypersomnia. In either case, sleep disorders are repeatedly associated with depression. Experts see it both as a contributing cause and a core symptom, according to Duke Health

What the Research Says

In fact, people who experience constant insomnia are ten times more likely to develop depression. An academic article in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience comments on sleep disturbance. It says that it is “prevalent…and often unresolved by treatment” in cases of existing depression. 

In plain English, sleep disorders contribute to the start of depression. Not only that, but they make it worse over time. Unfortunately, current treatment plans often fail to treat the sleep disorder. Doing this opens the patient up to continued periods of depression until you can address the sleep disorder fully.

The Added Trouble with Insomnia and Depression

All sleep disorders have the potential to interfere with quality of life. Hypersomnia can negatively impact your ability to hold a job or succeed in school, but insomnia has yet another effect. 

Being unable to sleep prevents your body from getting enough rest. So, first, your depression affects your interactions with other people. Then it limits your ability to focus. Finally, you’re also fighting the added effects of exhaustion. 

How Common is Insomnia?

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that chronic sleeplessness affects 10-35 percent of the US. Obviously, people all over feel its effects. Research shows that sleep loss has noted effects on attention and working memory. This serves to compound already existing symptoms of depression. 

In addition, sleep loss from insomnia impairs physical parts of the brain. Specifically, it harms the brain’s waste disposal symptom. What this means is patients become vulnerable to physical brain diseases. Such illnesses can even further weaken their ability to manage the symptoms of depression as they age. And they are difficult to treat.

Start With Sleep

Even if you are currently managing your depression, don’t ignore the importance of treating your sleep disorder. Don’t think of it as a separate entity. It can be contributing to your condition. But, your condition also might cause it. 

You may need a small team to help you through this, and that is okay. 

Depression is a multi-faceted disease. So, it naturally requires a wide range of expertise to treat it on all fronts. At Cognitive Behavior Associates, your care providers work with your doctor and therapist to manage your condition from multiple angles. Such an approach gives you the best chance at extended recovery.

For anyone reading this who hasn’t found aid, there are people ready to help. Please call the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Hotline at 1-800-662-4357. 

If you are contemplating self-harm, remember your life does matter. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.