guilt and depression

New Findings on the Origins of Depression

As New York City’s premiere source for analytic depression therapy, we hear and read a lot of research about the causes of clinical depression. Recently a pair of stories caught our eye: two studies that have each found a link between the struggles of childhood and depression in adulthood. The one article addresses a strong connection between feelings of excessive guilt in childhood, and depression in later life:

Some scientists now believe that extreme feelings of guilt in children, such as the ones Thomas felt, can be a strong warning sign for mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and bipolar disorder later on in life . . . The question is whether guilt causes later life mental disorders or if a biological predisposition to mental disorders causes early symptoms of excessive guilt.

That is indeed the question. The study focused on a particular part of the brain, the anterior insula, whose development may influence emotional health in both stages of life. But the jury is still out on whether biology precedes psychology in this case, or whether it works the other way around. Ultimately the question is moot; what matters is how therapists can treat depression armed with this new knowledge:

Luby says that they are in the early stages of looking at how psychotherapy affects child behavior and how it affects brain function. "We are still in the first year, but my clinical impression is that these kids are getting a lot better," Luby said.

Similar findings have appeared in a second study linking childhood trauma to depression in adulthood. This study perhaps states the obvious, but the accompanying article makes a few valuable points about how patients respond to medical versus talk therapy:

These new studies also have implications with regard to the treatment of depression. Psychiatry, viewing depression for the most part as a chemical imbalance, treats it with chemicals (medications), or in severe cases with electroshock therapy. However, psychotherapists focus on the traumas of childhood and try to bring about change by helping clients to talk through those traumas. Psychotherapy has proven to be effective with all but the most severe cases.

To learn more about how you can find a good depression therapist in New York, including low cost therapy, contact PPSC today.