If you do much research on sleep deprivation you will find that one of its many risks and long term effects is that it can raise the risk of developing mood disorders, including major depression. So it doesn’t seem to make sense that there is also something called the Depression Sleep Deprivation Treatment.
How can something that can cause depression also be used to treat it? The answer is complicated only in understanding the unruly nature of the brain, and its love for patterns.
Once you begin to understand how powerful patterns are, and how powerful sleep deprivation acts on the brain you can see how it can be both positive and negative – depending on whether the deprivation is managed or not.
Understanding how sleep deprivation can cause depression
When people talk about the dangers of going for prolonged periods without sleep, or with a lack of quality sleep, they always bring up that it can create major depression. This is very true. One of the most common outcomes of experiencing long term sleep deprivation is that the person has an increased risk for a major depressive episode.
These episodes are not considered to be a genetic or hereditary depression but one that is considered to be created “environmentally.” The problem with depression is that to create it, one must change the chemical balance in the brain. Once that balance is changed, changing it back can be very difficult.
The changes to the brain caused by sleep deprivation
Even just one night’s bad sleep will cause radical chemical and processing changes to the brain’s ability to function. Sleep deprivation interrupts the process of neural regeneration which is how the brain recovers itself. This recovery occurs during the stepped stages of sleep that science is only just beginning to understand.
What we do know is that even the most minimal sleep deprivation period will diminish the ability of the temporal lobe to work correctly. While the activity of the temporal lobe diminishes, the parietal lobe and cerebral cortex increase their activity to try and compensate for its lost ability. What this does is create an even greater strain on the neural resources of the brain that are then not regenerate unless there is adequate quality sleep achieved.
Add into this that as the parietal lobe is striving to impersonate some of the temporal lobe functions, the I function that controls the imaginative process necessary for judgment is becoming overly active.
Without the control of the parietal lobe, the world that should be kept to dreams begins to wash forward. With it comes a great deal of misinterpretation of sensory input that can cause physical responses to stress that is perceived, but does not exist in reality.
What all of this unusual, and dysfunctional activity in the brain creates is a chemical imbalance and a dysfunction sensory processing routine that then is thought to encourage or cause a major depressive episode. The depressive episode then allows for thinking that is using the damaged I-function process to reaffirm interpretations that then reinforce the depressive state on a physical, mental and emotional level. All of this can come from simply not getting enough sleep, or getting good quality sleep.
What is Depression Sleep Deprivation Treatment?
If sleep deprivation can cause depression then what is the Depression Sleep Depression Treatment? It is a method of using sleep deprivation to change the chemical balance and activity levels in areas of the brain to disrupt a depressive episode.
If you think about all the changes that can occur during sleep deprivation that can cause depression it is safe to assume that whenever there is sleep deprivation there will be a similar acute effect on the brain’s balance and activity. One of the hallmarks of depression is a state in which the person is always exhausted, over sleeping or just fatigued.
This is usually coupled with a form of insomnia that may or may not include interrupted sleep patterns. What happens during depression is that the brain adopts the depressive sleep pattern as the normal sleep pattern. This is essentially the core of how the brain works – it seeks patterns and follows them. Change the pattern and the brain will change. It never asks what is right or healthy, it just follows the path of least resistance and that is the path that is most repeated.
How is it done?
When a person has depression they may be told to try a depression sleep deprivation treatment. Studies have shown that subjects who have successfully done the treatment seen a reduction of their symptoms by almost 40 to 60 percent. The process is very simple.
The subject begins to keep a sleep journal in which they record their sleep hygiene and habits, this lets them identify what their current sleep patterns are. Then, the sleep pattern is deliberately interrupted. One of the most common ways of doing this is to set multiple alarms throughout the night. By constantly waking the person up you are disrupting the depressive brain wave path.
This forces the brain to change how it is moving through the brain states and can force the brain wave states out of the depressive abnormality and into a healthier range. Some people also will keep themselves up for several days and then go back to sleeping on a normal schedule. The whole idea behind the depression sleep deprivation treatment is to force the brain out of what has become its normal habits and make it do something that is “abnormal” but that may relieve the depression.
Who should try it?
It is always best to speak with your doctor before trying anything that promotes relief from a diagnosed depression. With the sleep deprivation techniques you will want guidance as far as the limits of interruption that you can explore safely without placing yourself in danger of creating other problems or a deeper depression. It cannot hurt to try one night of changing up your sleep habits to see what happens. If it relieves your symptoms, talk to your doctor about pursuing the process in a more structured manner.