May 27, 2010

Dreaming Links to Depression

Filed under: coping with depression,Depression,sleep — Tags: , — drwatson @ 12:08 am

Dreaming and DepressionDepression has become a relatively common condition in the modern society. In North America alone, it is estimated that over nine million people struggle with depression on a day to day basis. For some people, dealing with depression will involve fighting what is usually described as a “black curtain” of despair, while others experience constant irritation or find that they have no energy to complete their daily tasks. Although depression is not caused by one single factor, sleep patterns and dreaming have been directly linked to those who suffer from depression.

The dreaming component of sleep is called REM sleep (short for rapid eye movement sleep), and usually occurs after a couple hours have passed since the time when you fell asleep. During REM sleep, only the chemicals that are responsible for the emotions and visual imagery of your brain are activated, while the other chemicals in your brain that are associated with rational thought and reasoning remain turned off. Because of the “emotional overflow” which occurs as a result of depression, many people who are struggling with depression will often dream more – causing the symptoms of exhaustion that are associated with depression to occur, and effectively creating a twenty-four hour cycle of depression.

If you find that you are experiencing any symptoms of depression, especially over-exhaustion, vivid dreaming and what may feel like an “emotional overload”, you can talk to your doctor about treatment methods to help treat your condition. These methods may include anything from relaxation techniques and practices such as yoga or taking naps to compensate for lack of restful sleep due to over-dreaming, to speaking to a therapist in order to relieve what you may perceive as an “emotional overflow”, to taking anti-depressant medications. Your doctor will choose the method that will treat your depression most effectively.

 

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