How Negative Thinking Can Quickly Turn into Depression

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Clinical depression starts with negative thinking. If those thoughts can be stopped, millions of people could be saved from mental illness and the expense and heartache that comes along with it.

According to a new research study from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at case Western Reserve University, early intervention is possible and may be easier with a short survey health care providers can use with their patients.

Jaclene Zauszniewski, associate dean for doctoral education, has developed a short 8-item survey meant to help healthcare providers identify depressive thinking patterns which could lead to depression if not addressed early on. The Zauszniewski Depression Cognition Scale (DCS) asks people to respond to questions about helplessness, hopelessness, purposelessness, worthlessness, powerlessness, loneliness, emptiness and meaninglessness.

“Clinicians need guidelines and measures to know when negative thinking has reached a tipping point and has begun to spiral into clinical depression,” she explained.

While the DCS was effectively used to screen for serious depressive symptoms in individuals around the US and the world, researchers thought they could do more by identifying the point at which negative thinking became enough of a pattern that it turned to clinical depression. They found that point.

Researchers compared DCS scores to scores on the CES-D, the gold standard for measuring clinically significant depressive symptoms. They looked for the point at which individuals may benefit from learning ways to change negative thinking in order to prevent serious depression. Apparently, 7 is the magic number. Prior to achieving that score, individuals can learn new coping techniques to avoid significant depression. Beyond that, individuals would need more significant intervention.

Zauszniewski is hopeful this new scale will help healthcare providers better serve their patients and prevent depression from taking over lives.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Western Journal of Nursing Research

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