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The Connection between Childhood Experiences and Adult Depression

As professional psychologists, we come across people suffering from some form of depression and/or anxiety on a routine basis. Whether it’s about relationship issues or problems at the workplace – the underlying cause in most cases of adult depression are connected with some form of adversity the patient faced in their childhood.

When we talk to people involved in substance abuse, addicted to alcohol, or struggling with low self-esteem in adulthood, one thing is usually common – they’ve all been victims of painful events in past. These events become the root most of their problems stem from. There are usually two types of events that lead to adversity later in life:

  • The absence of necessities
  • The presence of hurt
  • These events could include severe bullying, the absence of love and attention, alcoholic parents, sexual abuse, loss of a loved one, lack of appreciation, and more. Time and over, there have been various clinical studies conducted on this subject and the findings have been unanimous: traumatic or stressful events occurring in the early developmental phase of a child’s life can have a continuing impact on their brain. It is also known that depressed people with a history of childhood trauma tend to be more reckless and suicidal than people with depression without childhood traumas. Roughly around 20% women and 10% men in the United States recall being victims of physical or sexual abuse when they were young. However, these figures are conservative because sexual abuse is often not reported. These children, when they grow up into adults, report depression, somatic, substance abuse, and anxiety symptoms far greater than those without a history of abuse. These people are also more suicidal than their counterparts.Negative childhood experiences have an adverse effect on the developing mind of a child. These events scar them for life and the symptoms become clearly visible once the child grows up and develops a personality – that is, of course, tainted.At Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling, we explore and discuss the causes and symptoms of your anxiety and depression to understand your condition better. This helps us talk you through and overcome your suffering.

Depression and the Absence of Intimacy

Depression is not confined to the mind alone. It affects every single aspect of your lives. Prolonged depression takes its toll on your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. This sometimes leads to problems in personal relationships and the one that takes the worse hit is your relationship with your partner/spouse.

Depression can cause a perfectly healthy relationship between partners to go sour. This only adds further trouble in the lives of people going through a rough patch (depression in this case), because let’s face it – a strong relationship between partners/spouses is therapeutic. It is a source of love, comfort, support, and closeness.

When a person is depressed, they tend to become withdrawn. They feel lethargic and are often unable to find the energy or motivation to do even the most normal things in life – this includes sex too!

Loss of appetite, sleeplessness, loss of intimacy, mood swings, and inattentiveness are common in people with depression. Most of the times these acts make the other partner feel unloved and/or unwanted – this is where the problem begins – this is where relationships begin crumbling.

Depression and Intimacy

Depression tends to upset the routine systems and functions of your body, either slowing them down or displacing them. This impact is most vivid in the case of sleep. You might have noticed how a person with depression has trouble with sleep – either they sleep too less or too much – in each case, sleep is invariably disrupted.

Similar is the case with intimacy and sex. Having sex requires good co-ordination, spontaneity, and most importantly – it requires energy – lots and lots of energy. Unfortunately, people suffering from depression aren’t really up for things that require “too much effort”, which is why intimacy between couples is the first thing hit by adversity.

Depressed men experience a loss of libido and may even face problems with getting an erection. Women on the other hand, lose their interest in sex and have trouble reaching an orgasm.

The good thing is that these problems disappear when one starts improving their condition. As depression wears off, people may find their interest in sex renewed, which happens to be one of the first signs of recovery.

Through couples’ therapy, we at Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling can help you overcome depression and bring back intimacy to your relationship. After all, everyone deserves to be happy in life.