Combating Depression with Wilderness Therapy
Written by Greg Hitchcock, in Section Articles
About 15 million people every year suffer from depression in the United States. It is one of the most complex psychological issues anyone can face and affects all age groups: From adolescents to elders, depression captures sufferers in a seemingly inescapable cage of sadness.
Depression is a web of many factors. We know, for example, that brain chemistry plays a role. Recent research has pointed to other biological factors, including immune function and intestinal bacteria, as potentially making some people more vulnerable to depression.
There are also familiar social and psychological factors. For young people, bullying is part of more and more cases of depression. Today’s social media landscape multiplies the pressure to fit in and reduces a person’s ability to feel safety and relief from that pressure.
And, of course, loss and trauma can lead to depression even for those who have never had it before.
What Does a Depressed Teen Go Through?
Everyone has down days – even, now and then, down weeks. Depression, however, is more than just a mood. The depressed person experiences everything through a prism of hopelessness. They lose interest in things they once enjoyed, and even if they try to do those things, activities simply do not produce the characteristic good feelings they did before.
Many teens report feeling “numb” when depressed. They may lose their appetite or find that, when they eat, they are no longer sensitive to the taste. In fact, all of the senses can be affected in different ways. This combines with a lack of energy, making sufferers feel they are truly losing the ability to relate to the world around them normally.
In severe cases, teens can suffer episodes of depersonalization. This is a feeling of being so disconnected, it feels like you are observing yourself from outside. The world around the sufferer seems strange and unreal. Often, short-term memory loss follows these episodes.
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