Richard G. Petty, MD

Social Supports, Sense of Coherence and Recovering from Depression

After writing about the importance of trying to establish a personal sense of coherence, I was just able to look at an important piece of research.

The authors are from Sweden, a country in which, from my experience, there is still a great deal of social cohesion, despite all the experiments that have been going on there in recent years.

So unlike countries in which there are terrible social supports for everyone, they had the opportunity to study the good and the bad.

Though only a small study, the conclusions are unsurprising but important. They were looking at people with a first episode of major depression, and 71% of the patients had recovered at follow up.

The sense of coherence scores were low at baseline, although the patients who recovered significantly increased their sense of coherence. Another factor of importance for recovery was a significant increase in social support.

It is intuitively obvious that social support is an important part of the restoration of a person’s sense of coherence. It can be used in interventions that include the patient’s family or close social network in combination with support to assist the patient to view his/her situation as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful, thereby promoting or improving health.

The bottom line: professionals need to identify people’s strengths and weaknesses so that the support and interventions provided can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual.

And one of the best ways of staying healthy is to maintain your social supports, to provide them for other people, and to work on increasing your own sense of coherence.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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