Depression

Alarmingly many Aspies and neuro-atypical people are or have been depressed. Having at one time or another been suicidal is more of a rule than an exception. Common reasons (listed in order of frequency among those I have polled):

Feelings of hopelessness or frustration due to involuntary loneliness (lack of friends and/or partner) or inability to find a suitable job. (Most common reason.)

Being misunderstood/mistreated/outcast by family and/or peers. Many may have developed PTSD or social phobia from having been more or less severely bullied or abused.

Feelings of inadequacy due to lack of encouragement, being put down, or not having found a life situation where one’s particular skills and personality traits are considered an asset.

Emotional hypersensitivity. Innate tendency to take things personally that aren’t meant to be, and being totally devastated when they are.

Sensory hypersensitivity. Extreme stress due to noise, clutter, bustle, bright light, smells, ugly surroundings, pressure to hurry, perform or conform; for example at home, work or school.

Extreme fatigue. Having gotten more responsibility than one is designed to handle (for some, just having children or an unsuitable job, may be way too much). Lack of sleep due to atypical sleeping patterns; malnutrition; chronic infections; toxic overload in the body; stress etc.

Other possible causes:

Mitochondrial dysfunction. Dr Ann Gardner, Swedish M.D., has found mitochondrial dysfunction in people with depression and specific somatic complaints such as auditory & visual symptoms (hyperacusis, hearing impairment, tinnitus, photosensitivity), muscle pains and chronic fatigue.

Sugar blues. Probably a more common reason for depression than most people realize. Especially among those of us who are more physically sensitive in general and sugar sensitive in particular.

Seasonal Affective Disorder. Lack of sunlight in the winter-time for those who live far north. Though some are light sensitive and actually prefer the dark season; they may get more depressed during spring or summer instead and find light therapy intolerable.

Bipolar personality type, or genetic tendency for pervasive Dysthymia that persists irrespective of diet, environment & life circumstances, and which may require life-long medication.

Other reason.

Types of depression

Actual depression is the most common form of depression. It can be either mild, moderate or severe. (…) It can be very difficult to determine the type of depression and one should turn to health professionals to get a proper assessment. The degree of severity is determined by now much it affects one’s daily life.

Some rules of thumb in the assessment:

In cases of mild actual depression one can, despite difficulties, still perform daily chores like working.

In cases of moderate actual depression one cannot manage daily chores.

In cases severe actual depression the symptoms may be so severe that one doesn’t even care about basic needs like eating and drinking. Strong suicidal thoughts are common.

Dysthymia is similar to the mild actual depression, but milder. Sometimes dysthymia is called pathological melancholia. To get the diagnosis one has to have had the condition for at last two years.

Translated to English from: http://www.sbu.se/upload/Publikationer/Content0/5/SBU_Depression_fragor_svar/index.html (thanks to MsTibbs)

Treatment

Which treatment is most effective of course depends on the cause of the depression. If the problem is only an imbalance in the brain and everything else is fine, then medication (or herbal remedies for milder types) may help. If there are other problems medication may just mask those temporarily, if it works at all.

If the cause is dietary, one must of course change diet. If due to lack of light, then light therapy will likely help. If the main cause is loneliness, the reasonable option is to try and find new friends. If one is frequently misunderstood, perhaps a course in communication. If due to social phobia, CBT may help. If emotionally crippled by childhood traumas then classical psychotherapy or EMDR therapy is probably what is needed. If due to sensory overstimulation, then a quieter enironment and/or occupational therapy for hypersensitivity may alleviate the problem.

Unfortunately, in many countries medication has become the first choice whether appropriate or not – often adding obesity or other side effects on top of the already existing problems – when it should be the last, after everything else has been tried.

“When I got SSRI, finding the underlying problem and helping me solve that, was never even considered.

I should have SSRI because, well? It’s the first choice, obviously.

Some compulsions can be removed with KBT but you get SSRI instead.

Aspies need help getting things organised at home, but no, SSRI instead. When the Aspie gets the needed support at home, no checking if SSRI dosage can be reduced.

When you want to phase it out, you get no support whatsoever, if you don’t want to continue with SSRI all responsibility is dumped on the patient.

The Aspie has a dysmal social life, for this the cure is SSRI.

There just has to be other things to do before you so quickly perscribe SSRI.

There are various psychotherapies, especially against compulsions. Analysing psychotherapy could help one understand oneself better, or if one already does, help one accept and sort oneself out.”

– ‘Bror Duktig’, female Aspie from Sweden

LINKS

Info-page about ASD & depression

BOOKS

Beating the Blues: New Approaches to Overcoming Dysthymia and Chronic Mild Depression

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know

1 Comment »

  1. K said,

    I want to change this. I don’t know how, or whatever I need to do to get rid of depression in the world, but I want to do it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: