Why am I Depressed? - Center for Evidence Based Treatment Orange County DBT and CBT
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Why am I Depressed?

I have talked to several depressed people who have expressed irritation with this question because the answer to them is because they have Major Depressive Disorder. They have come to view it as a condition, rather behaviors that contribute to feeling depressed. The model of Behavioral Activation, created by Christopher Martell, focuses on context, rather than internal factors. Depression is triggered by low levels of positive reinforcement in one’s life caused by life events – even everyday hassles, as well as biological predisposition. Individuals may seek temporary relief with avoidance behaviors, such as staying in bed, taking off of work, and avoiding friends and family, which in the long-run worsen depression. These behaviors seem to make sense because their mood dictates it, but it lessens the opportunity for positive reinforcement in the long run.

Behavioral Activation, works from the “outside-in” and targets inactivity by scheduling activities and using graded task assignments to increase opportunity for activities being positively enforced. Behavioral Activation targets avoidance and implements alternative coping behaviors.
Behavioral Activation is simple, but can be difficult to begin. Many individuals with depression have been taught that they have an illness and are looking for something to treat the illness rather than change behaviors. Also, are emotions want to dictate our actions and in Behavioral Activation we are asking you to do opposite to what you feel in order to feel better. Again, we are trying to increase opportunity for positive reinforcement, whether that be socializing, doing something pleasant, or working towards achieving goals and approaching obstacles with problem solving skills.

At the Center for EBT Behavioral Activation is used as a stand-alone treatment for depression and incorporated into DBT for Borderline Personality Disorder and depression.