Neurodivergent Depression (an alternative approach)

In this article, we will talk about the neurodivergent approach to understanding depression and other related disorders.

Neurodivergent is a new movement that believes that cognitive impairment and learning disabilities like ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and other neurodevelopmental disorders do show brain differences but these differences are not a flaw or a defect in the person. 

Neurodiversity usually refers to developmental and learning disorders such as autism, speech problems, and Asperger’s syndrome. It can refer to these because as far as they tend to be aspects of human cognitive development. Also, we should use the social models of impairment to provide for the disabilities and suffering that those diagnosed have endured.

Thus, the emergence of the paradigm of neurodiversity is viewed as a threat both to the definition of mental illness and to the commercialized records of cognitive impairment. There is a good explanation for this since a crucial part of the idea of neurodiversity is that it is normal and beneficial for humans to have a range of differences in cognitive functioning.

Neurodiversity is a concept that takes into consideration changes in the human mind in terms of knowledge, temperament, awareness, socialization, and other behavioral processes that do not influence conditions, implying that they’re not being viewed as uncommon or unhealthful, but as anomalies to be recognized and dealt with. The scientific method of disabilities is widely dismissed. Although not everyone uses this concept on themselves, it has encouraged those on the continuum to live their lives, instead of seeing them as a place of alienation.

Neurodivergent Depression

Neurodiversity covers people with depression, Behavior problems (Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder), autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, learning disabilities, and other disabilities involving the brain and mind. The advocates of the neurodiversity claim that there are beneficial implications of possessing brains that appear different; thus, they tend to view these discrepancies merely as disparities rather than disabilities.

Psychiatric diagnosis of depression, autism spectrum disorder, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or learning disabilities does not always mean that an individual has a particular set of measurable features. Each condition occurs on a continuum, such that some conditions are more noticeable than others—which weakens the evaluation and also the client’s well-being.

Probably the most researched psychiatric condition, but the least frequently seen in terms of neurological disability or distinction is depression. While also closely correlated with neurological disorders, the symptoms of depression are distinct from those of autism spectrum disorder, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and learning disabilities. Neurological explanations of depression suggest that it must be triggered by defects or inefficiencies of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, that is thought to regulate moods. The most popular class of antidepressants is selective serotonin reuptake blockers, such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, which increase serotonin levels within neurons by stopping cells from reabsorbing them. This helps to sustain the level of activation and fire between the neurons.

The drawbacks of depression, autism, ADHD, and dyslexia are very significant and cause them to be considered disabilities. Although what those who assert remedies frequently forget, and what the word “neurodiversity” attempts to understand, is that these conditions often give birth to extraordinary abilities.

Although depression can appear essentially unstable, even this disorder has some benefits to all those who struggle with it. It is hard to determine a biological correlation between the effects of depression and the strengths of everyone who struggles from it. These skills appear to be similar to the closely associated condition of bipolar depression.

Research and study on Neurodivergent Depression

Kay Redfield Jamison, a specialist who has published widely on this topic, suggests that bipolar depression is associated with creative disposition. In Touched with Fire (1993), she describes many reports that indicate that musicians have a much higher risk of bipolar depression than the public at large. Jamison herself researched forty-seven British authors and graphic artists who were particularly successful in their particular fields and discovered that 38% of them had been hospitalized for mood disturbance, most of them needing treatment or hospital admission. In the 1970s, several studies at Iowa University looked at thirty talented writers and noticed that 80 percent all have at least one depressive episode.

Jamison also quotes Harvard researcher Ruth Richards, who observed that manic depressants, and also their families, displayed a greater degree of imagination than people without any of these family records. The state of mania enhances the output of some imaginative tests, such as the ability to generate innovative replies to word-association exercises. Individuals in manic phases also have improved potential to create rhymes, puns, and sound comparisons.

Furthermore, while many individuals accept that strong artistic output contributes to high moods and low artistic expression causes depression, findings tend to indicate that order operates the other way around: in what appears like a scientific restructuring of the old notion of appearance by the Muses, Jamison finds that ‘authors and musicians… registered marked mood swings just before their time. Discussing the biological nature of the manic-depressive mindset in Science America, Jamison states that it is “a warning, responsive mechanism that responds intensely and rapidly. It reacts to the environment across a wide variety of mental, sensory, analytical, behavioral, and power shifts.”

There is a chance, though, of glorifying the benefits of cognitive illness and ignoring how debilitating and complicated these conditions can be. Glorifying the correlation between depression and creative talent, for example, is not only questionable but also risky.

These elevated imaginative abilities are often correlated with mania—which happens only in some depressants, and then only occasionally with others. Not everyone depressed people will compose poems or songs, and the pain of the writers themselves is at least as profound as the creations that it produces. Since there are unique benefits conferred on the suicidal mind, it appears troublesome, even unfair, to extend the word neurodiversity to those of us who require intensive treatment and medicine simply to survive and enjoy life.

The classical approach to depression

Depression is a mental condition that entails a constant sense of distress and lack of drive. It’s far from the mood swings that individuals feel like part of their lives daily. Stressful life events, such as trauma or work loss, may lead to depression. Physicians, nonetheless, only believe negative emotions to be evidence of depression if they last. Depression is a recurring epidemic, not a temporary one. It consists of periods under which the signs persist for at least 2 weeks. Depression can go on for weeks, months, or years.

Depressive symptoms may include:

  • Depressed moods
  • Reduced engagement or enjoyment in an activity once enjoyed
  • Loss of sexual impulses
  • Appetite shifts
  • Involuntary loss of weight or gain
  • Sleeping too often and too less
  • Discontent, irritability, and running back and forth.
  • Decelerated action and expression
  • Fatigue or capacity loss
  • A feeling of worthlessness or shame
  • Difficulty with thought, focusing, or making choices
  • Recurrent fears of death or suicide, or suicidal behavior

Treatment of depression

Depression can be treated, and effects treatment typically includes three elements:

Support 

These will range from exploring potential ideas and potential reasons for teaching members of the family.

Psychotherapy

Also called talk therapy, other services include personal counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Drug treatment

Your doctor can recommend antidepressants.

Medication

Antidepressants may help in treating depressive symptoms.

There are many types of antidepressants accessible:

Each class acts on a separate neurotransmitter or a mixture of neurotransmitters. An individual will only take these medicines as prescribed by his or her doctor. Any medications may take a while to affect. An individual may not experience the advantages that he or she may offer by quitting the medication.

Some patients avoid taking medications after their symptoms change, but it can contribute to the symptoms getting worse.

Dietary changes

Consuming a variety of sugary or refined foods will lead to several physical ailments. The findings of the 2019 research stated that a food that contains all of these forms of food could affect the mental health of adolescents.

The study also showed that consuming more of the following ingredients helps alleviate the effects of depression:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetable
  • Fish
  • Olive oil

Psychotherapy

Psychological or conversion therapy for depression encompasses CBT, behavioral psychotherapy, and problem-solving therapy, amongst many others. Psychotherapy is typically the first-line intervention for certain types of depression, although some patients respond best to a mixture of counseling and medicine. CBT and behavioral psychotherapy are the two primary forms of depressive psychotherapy. A person could have CBT at personal interviews with a psychiatrist, or in groups, by phone, or online. 

Interpersonal counseling is intended to help individuals recognize interpersonal difficulties that influence interactions and intimacy, how these concerns often affect their behavior, and then how all this can be improved. 

Brain stimulation therapy is another therapeutic choice. For instance, repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation delivers magnetic waves to the brain, which can help to relieve major depression. If depression may not lead to pharmacological treatments, an individual may benefit from electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. This could be useful where there is psychosis or depression.

In this article, we talked about the neurodivergent approach to understanding depression and other related disorders.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

FAQs: Neurodivergent Depression

What does it mean to be Neurodivergent?

Neurodiversity is the perception that brain variations are normal instead of just deficits. The principle of neurodiversity will help children with cognitive and thought disabilities.

What conditions are Neurodivergent?

Neurodiversity supporters reject the portrayal of autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and other neurodevelopmental conditions as seeking psychiatric attention to “diagnosis” or “correct” them, and instead encourage help programs such as inclusion-focused facilities, housing, interaction, special equipment, and vocational help.

What mental disorder is depression?

Depression is a disorder of the Mood. These disorders, also known as affective disorders, include constant feelings of hopelessness or periods of over-happy mood, or swings from intense joy to profound sadness. Depression, bipolar mood disorder, and cyclothymia depression are the most common mood problems.

Is anxiety a Neurodiverse?

Anxiety is a very likely comorbid disorder in the neurodiverse group. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of adult males across the continuum have higher anxiety levels. Women with autistic spectrum disorder show a much greater degree of anxiety.

Is Neurodivergent a disability?

Neurodivergent is not a disability rather a movement. It believes that autism, as well as other developmental conditions (learning disorders, ADHD, and so on.), can be impaired, but they are not shortcomings. Individuals with brain differences aren’t defective or imperfect copies of ordinary people.

Is OCD on the autism spectrum?

A few of these kids have also been identified with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and another with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—but their overt recurrence of compulsive behavior throughout the cases is almost similar. Autism and OCD are different disorders, even though certain behavioral manifestations correlate.

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

https://www.differentbrains.org/tag/depression/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neurodiverse-age/201907/mental-disorder-within-the-neurodiversity-paradigm

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