The Root Causes of Anxiety and Depression Can't Be Oversimplified

A friend sent along an interesting article on depression and anxiety - the research cited in it is similar to the research in the book A Mind of Your Own by Dr. Kelly Brogan. I highly recommend the book and that you take a peek at the article. Below is a quote from Is everything you know about depression wrong? which I agree with to a certain extent...

"If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs – for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life."

While I appreciate the idea that humans are wired for connection and we can all do a better job of taking care of each other, I think the root causes of depression and anxiety can't be oversimplified as only related to a lack of connection and other context-related issues. Feelings of any kind are simply information that we need to pay attention to - they are telling us something isn't right. There are numerous physiological possibilities for experiencing anxiety and depression (autoimmune diseases, gut imbalances, etc.) as well as negative core beliefs and thought patterns as well as environmental stressors such as work, a lack of connection and/or sense of purpose.

I do believe context plays a role but I don't recommend only focusing on only changing context because we often get stuck in the negative behavior pattern of trying to control external things in order to manage our internal chaos and anxiety. Meaning I might change my job or relationship status believing I'll feel less anxious or depressed, yet if I haven't done the personal work of changing limiting thoughts and beliefs to limitless, helpful thoughts and beliefs then the changes I make in my external world won't have a sustainable, positive impact on my life. In fact, I wouldn't recommend making any life changing decisions until internal improvements are initiated. You may find you don't need to change anything externally (job, relationship, etc.), you just need to change how you think about those things as well as make some dietary and lifestyle changes to support a healthier body and mind.