Monday, July 8, 2013

Depression and Rage - A Painful Psychological Partnership

Depression and rage are intricately intertwined with one another. Both depression and rage are predisposed, although the exact calculus is still unknown. Beneath depression, whether it is readily observed or darkly obscured, there is rage. Rage can wait decades to erupt. Rage lies at the bottom of the psyche and appears to be dormant or non-existent. When the timing is right, it moves with the force of a psychological juggernaut.

Most of us admit that from time to time that we are depressed. We have low energy, are aggravated with ourselves and others, have problems getting motivated and feel sad and listless. There are many legitimate reasons to be depressed in our high stress, demanding, fast-paced, often alienating contemporary world.

Clinical depression is different. It is a psychophysiological state that is characterized by some of the following symptoms and behaviors:deep sadness, insomnia, problems with concentration, low motivation, fatigue, a sense of isolation, and emotional irritability. The experience of clinical depression is deep and disruptive to our relationships, our work and our lives.

Anger is "a feeling of displeasure resulting from injury, mistreatment, opposition, etc., and usually showing itself in a desire to fight back at the supposed cause of this feeling." Anger is specific to a particular issue and is generally time limited. Rage travels a different trajectory. Rage is an intense volatile, unrestrained anger that appears to have no redress.

The roots of depression and rage begin to fuel in early childhood. Infants and children who are emotionally and/or physically deprived, neglected and abused, believe that no one cares about them because they are unwanted, worthless, or defective. In many instances the child turns himself inside out to become the perfect little person that the disturbed parent expects him to be. In order to fulfill parental demands, the child unconsciously disregards the core of his authenticity, the real self. The child is forced to live behind a false self that is acceptable to the parent to avoid abandonment and abuse. This false identity that the small child is forced to play to survive, returns to consciousness and is acted out in the parallel dance of depression and rage.

Out of the depression that is enervating and immobilizing, unexpressed unconscious rage that has been waiting at the bottom of a pool of conflicting emotions, rises to the surface and depression and rage coalesce to create a psychologically toxic mixture.

When depression persistently intrudes on an individual's personal and professional life, it is vital that he/she seek professional psychological consultation. There are a variety of effective ways to treat depression today. Depending on its severity, some individuals benefit from different forms of psychotherapy, including psychoanalytic psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Other patients require the advice of a psychiatrist who is an expert in psychopharmacological medications. The new serotonin re-uptake anti-depressants have shown to be very effective in treating many patients suffering from clinical depression. Treatment requires patience and cooperation between psychiatrist and patient. Finding the exact medication and dosage may take some time. The knowledge, understanding and empathy of the therapist is essential to successful treatment together with the cooperation and positive attitude of the patient.

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