Depression Treatment Program
Are you feeling down all time? In a constant state of sadness? Lost your interest in your favorite hobbies? Well, if you are, then you are probably suffering from depression.
Happiness and sadness both are part of life. Feeling down after losing a dearer one, losing a job, or ending a relationship, is normal at times. There are some times when we feel sad, lonely, and scared. Time heals us. These feelings are normal to life stressors. But the individuals diagnosed with depression, the presentation of low mood and sadness is much worse.
Depression affects all age groups. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), people aged between 18-25 years are most affected. Depression affects women more than men.
Are you interested to know about depression? Well, keep reading this article, and you will get all the information you need about depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is a common and serious mood illness. It causes symptoms that negatively affect the way you feel, think, and act. Depression is a mood disorder associated with persistent feelings of sadness, loss, or anger.
You may feel sad and pessimistic at times which is completely normal. But if you’re suffering from these feelings for a longer period, you could have depression. Major Depression can cause severe impairments, which hinders one’s ability to maintain work and other activities.
Without treatment, depression becomes hard to deal with. But with a proper treatment program, your symptoms can improve in just a few weeks.
Symptoms Of Depression
Symptoms of Depression can categorize based on severity into mild, moderate, and severe symptoms.
Following are the symptoms of depression:
- Mood changes such as irritability, anger, restlessness, and aggressiveness
- The feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Disturbed sleep patterns such as restless sleep, waking too early, insomnia, excessive sleep
- Loss of interest, using drugs, or engaging in high-risk activities
- Change in eating behavior; either eating too much or less eating
- Difficulty to concentrate
- Difficulty to make important decisions
- Physical symptoms such as fatigue, tiredness, pain, indigestion and headache, weight gain or loss
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms present for more than two weeks are categorized as depression.
Are depression and sadness/grief being the same thing?
Sadness and grief are normal human emotions. Grief and depression can exist simultaneously; for example, any trauma as loss of job, broken relationship, or death can lead to a wave of emotion resulting in depression. But it is more difficult to overcome the grief with depression.
Although grief and depression are similar in some ways, like intense sadness and loss of interest, depression is something more.
In depression, a person experiences the feeling of hopelessness and self-loathing. Low self-esteem is common in depression.
In brief, a person’s feeling is a mixture of sadness due to loss and positive memories of good times. But in depression, a person is in a constant state of sadness.
Due to persistent sadness and hopelessness, a person may have suicidal thoughts, but in grief, a person fantasizes about death to join the deceased.
It is difficult to differentiate between grief and depression to get help or treatment at the right time.
Who would be suffering from depression?
Any trauma or tragedy may cause depression, but there are some among us who are more prone to depression. These includes:
- Low self-esteem
- Family history of mental illness
- A stressful environment such as economic problems, family problems
- Troubled childhood or early childhood trauma
- History of drug use
- Certain medical conditions, for example, chronic illness, thyroid disorder, or insomnia.
Types of Depression
Depression is of different types. Mainly depression is classified into two types – Major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder. The main types of depression are:
Major depressive disorder (MDD) – or clinical depression is the more severe form of depression. A person may experience classic symptoms of depression, including low mood, loss of interest, disrupt sleep and eating, difficulty concentrating. If you have experienced 5 or more symptoms of depression for more than 2 weeks, you have clinical depression. Thoughts of death and suicide may be present.
Dysthymic or persistent depressive disorder (PDD) – is milder than MDD. But PDD can affect you more because it is a chronic form of depression. PDD is characterized by having low mood and other symptoms for 2 years.
Bipolar disorder (Maniac depression) – associated with episodes of depression. The person suffers from maniac-like symptoms; high energy, high self-esteem, etc. A depressive state follows this.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – usually occurs when winter arrives. The days get shorter, and the intensity of natural daily light changes. Mood changes due to this cause depression. Sitting near a light source helps improve symptoms.
There are other types, such as postpartum depression and perinatal depression, which affect women.
Diagnosis for Depression
Your physician makes a diagnosis on your symptoms. A thorough examination is needed because depression is linked to many other conditions. He may ask you questions about your mood, sleep, eating, and thoughts.
Your doctor may also ask you to fill out a questionnaire to evaluate your condition. Low mood and other negative thoughts, fatigue, loss of interest, or disturbed sleep for more than two weeks are categorized as depression.
How depression affects daily life activities and relationships?
Depression affects people in different ways. Your daily life may disturb which decrease your productivity. It also disrupts your sleep and eating routine and interferes with relationships. Your condition can worsen if you have chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, or obesity.
You may struggle at work, can’t meet deadlines, and daily life activities become overwhelming. You may also feel distant from others. Well, these are all because of Depression. Depression is treatable if detected timely and correctly.
What should you do?
The first step is always difficult. Encourage your loved ones to accept their condition and discuss it with a healthcare provider and get help. Take an appointment with the medical expert for yourself or your loved ones to see a health care provider. It’s crucial to understand depression and when to get support. Depression can be better treated if recognized earlier.
Before each visit, write down any question which is bothering you. At the visit, write down any instructions your provider gives you. Also, know why a test or medicine is recommended and how it’ll assist in the treatment plan. Don’t forget any follow-up visits and know why it is important. Also, know how to contact your health care provider in case of an emergency.
Treatment of Depression:
Of all mental illnesses, depression is most treatable. Almost 80-90% of people get better through treatment. When timely diagnosed and treated, a person can have a stable and happy life. Long-term, continuous treatment programs can help to treat depression and maintain stability.
Every person responds differently to treatment because of their body chemistry. Mild symptoms can be improved by
- Regular physical activity (exercise, running, etc.)
- Psychotherapy or counseling
- Moderate and severe depression requires medical interventions such as drug therapies alone or in combination with other therapies.
- FDA (Food and Drug Authority) has approved many antidepressant drugs to treat clinical depression. The combination of both medication and psychotherapy provides better results.
Antidepressant medications can treat depression. Medicines take 2-4 weeks to reduce symptoms. So, you have to wait for some time to get results. Your symptoms become better. Every person responds differently to medicine. Hence, your doctor may try different drugs to find the best one that works for you.
These medications have side effects. Don’t stop a medicine on your own instead, talk to your provider about side effects thoroughly. Medicines are usually not prescribed in children. Some patients may experience negative symptoms with antidepressants. So, they should be monitored closely.
Sudden discontinuation can cause more harm than good. It results in withdrawal symptoms. It is best to gradually stop the drug under expert supervision.
What should you know about medications?
Learn when and how to take your medication, for example, on an empty stomach or with food, before bedtime or in the morning.
- learn what to expect from the treatment and how the medicine will work
- Know what are possible side effects of this drug
- Know how long will it take to show positive results
- Any change in medicine and why
Psychotherapy for Depression
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is an effective option to treat depression. Psychotherapy focuses on changing one’s distorted views of themselves and one’s environment. It also helps in improving coping skills to deal with life’s stresses. This therapy gives confidence to patients to express themselves before others.
It also helps the patient to improve his relationship skills and thinking patterns. Psychotherapy addresses the changing unhelpful and negative thoughts; a person can have during depression. It also makes you well-equipped to deal with stressors in the environment and remain calm and positive.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
- Behavioral therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) are evidence-based psychological treatment, which is proven effective for treating depression.
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is time-limited therapy (usually lasting 14-16 weeks). It focuses on the present, what a person thinks rather than being judgmental. It is the most commonly used psychotherapy for all age groups.
Your mood is directly related to how you think. A person suffering from depression has thoughts characterized by dysfunctional negative views about oneself, the world, and one’s future. Hence, a clinically depressed person considers themselves helpless and unworthy of love, success, and affection. He also believes others around them to be judgmental and critical.
CBT is goal-oriented and structured therapy. It teaches you how to get rid of maladaptive thinking and to identify triggers that worsen your symptoms. The patient and professional works together to improve thinking patterns and individual-specific problems. Patients are actively involved in this process.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychological treatment that focuses on the patient’s social and personal relations. IPT reduces depressive symptoms by improving patients’ communication skills. You can feel confident enough to address the problems which lead to your depression.
A typical IPT program involves 20-week one-hour therapy sessions to improve the quality of a patient’s current relationships and social functioning. Several studies show the effectiveness of IPT along with medication and other therapies.
Family care and support play an important role in depression treatment. In family therapy, education is provided to family members about depression and its symptoms. Family therapy creates an opportunity for everyone to express their feelings and restore their relationship with the patient.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is more rapid in action than drug treatment. Results are often seen within 1 week. However, ECT is for those who
- Don’t respond to drug therapy
- Are psychotic
- Previously shown good results with ECT
- Are suicidal or harmful to themselves or others
Treatment with ECT takes 2-4 weeks, three sessions per week. Some side effects are associated with ECT, such as confusion and memory loss. Hence, it is less preferable. Before ECT, a patient is provided with anesthesia and a muscle relaxant. The patient is awake under 1 hour of the session.
Self-Management Education Programs
Self-Medication Education (SME) helps people with chronic conditions live life with less stress, more productivity, and more energy. Participating in an SME program can improve your symptoms and allow you to control your mood, and make you feel better.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers various SME programs to help patients manage their depression. The cost of this program varies with organizations.
PEARLS for Older Adults
PEARLS is an SME program specifically for older patients (60 years or above) having depression. You can get all the services at your doorstep. A PEARLS counselor evaluates your symptoms and makes a plan to rescue your symptoms by designing enjoyable social and physical activities. The purpose of this program is to improve the quality of life by reducing symptoms.
Exercise and mindfulness activities:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical activity improves depressed mood. A 30-minute activity, 3-5 times per week, can prevent depression. These activities include walking or running, cycling, swimming, gardening, and sports.
Exercise helps your body to produce Endorphins – a hormone that uplifts mood. Relaxation techniques (meditation) and yoga also help. Meditation helps you to stay in the present. Some techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, are useful.
Rehab for Depression:
Medication along with therapy sessions with a psychiatrist is a commonly used approach to treat depression. Although psychotherapy, medication, and support groups can help you manage depression, some patients require more comprehensive treatment. Rehab for depression is the best option for those.
Rather than struggling with maintaining everyday life and depression, going to a treatment center will help you focus solely on getting better all day without any pressure from the outside world. You will get counseling and support from talk therapy and support groups in a home-like atmosphere.
Don’t know if rehab for depression is right for you? Having an awareness of depression symptoms will be useful to decide.
Rehab for depression is the best option if you have the following signs
- Difficulty maintaining work and important tasks
- Using drugs and alcohol to cope
- Struggling at relationships
- Suicidal thoughts
Depression treatment programs in Arizona generally used in the very best substance abuse healing consist of:
In more serious cases of depression, a person is more focused on endings one’s life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living. Having suicidal thoughts and acting on such thoughts are considered acute medical events and require immediate care. Family support also matters a lot. If you know any person at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting others, then:
- Call emergency help
- Stay with the person until help arrives
- Try to talk to him but don’t argue, judge, or yell
- Remove any objects that may cause harm
Treatment at an inpatient facility is extremely important for these patients. Crisis care is available 24 hours a day and includes family therapy, support group, counseling, and individual therapy to eliminate these thoughts and get back to feeling safe.
Beyond Treatment – Coping and Recovery:
- Besides medicine and psychotherapy, some tips may help you or your loved ones get better and stay well.
- Write down your thoughts, address each concern and realistically think about it. Explore alternate options.
- Be realistic; focus on the present.
- Pen down your problems and possible solutions to these problems. Go through the pros and cons of each solution. Realistically choose the best one.
- Exercise daily and eat a healthy diet.
- Get good sleep.
- Give yourself time – your mood will improve gradually.
- Improve your communication skills and try to spend time with other peoples.
- Positively engage yourself in activities you like.
- Plan one activity per day.
- After an activity, write what you enjoyed most about this activity.
- Don’t make big decisions at this time.
Depression is a serious mood disorder, which affects the way how you think and act. Depression is treatable; the earlier, the better. Psychotherapy, counseling, support groups, and treatment plans have proven effective in treating depression. With proper therapy, a person can live a happy and stable life.