DEPRESSION: SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT
Depression may develop unnoticed
We often imagine people with depression as tearful, apathetic and finding it difficult to perform even very basic duties related to their job, housework or studying and school work, but depression may take various forms. Yet, difficulties to perform at work, at home or at school are the basic criteria for diagnosing depression.
However, a person with depression may apparently function quite well: go to work and perform their duties well, take care of children, take care of his or her body and the way he or she looks, smile at people and tell them that “everything is ok.” People, while looking at such person, do not think about depression (unless they are really insightful or know the person very well). At the same time, what the person feels inside may be very different from what his or her environment see. Inside, they see the world all in grey, former passions or things that made them happy seem senseless and any sort of joy is impossible to achieve. Such person, despite despair hidden inside evoked by the disease and suicidal thoughts, tries very hard to keep appearances for the sake of their environment and not to put on them “additional burden of his or her depression.” Such person may also drink every night seeking some comfort. On the other hand, people in depression may be overreacting, easily irritable or even aggressive. We can see the anger but are not able to see the pain beneath.
There are, of course, typical symptoms that are signs for psychologists and psychotherapists to recognise depression and other similar disorders. Psychiatrists also look for those symptoms to diagnose or exclude such problems as depression episodes of various intensification (mild, moderate or severe), recurrent depressive disorders and persistent mood disorders.
People concerned about their condition or condition of people close to them or wondering whether depression is an issue in their life may also look for the symptoms. The indications describing most common depression symptoms may help to make decision on beginning an individual or a group therapy, consulting a psychiatrist, a psychologist or a psychotherapist. It is important, however, to remember that only a certified psychiatrist may diagnose depression.
Depression is a disease, and disease should be treated. “Pulling yourself together”, “thinking positive” or resolution “not to exaggerate and to be tough” does not work. Effective combating depression often requires combining two methods of treatment by two specialists:
- pharmacotherapy: treatment with drugs conducted by a psychiatrist, who decides on the best drug for a specific patient, doses the drug and controls the effectiveness of the treatment
- psychotherapy: conducted by a certified psychotherapist or psychologist regular meetings and discussing with the therapist the psychological aspects of the disease and coping with it, often over a longer period of time
Combining those two methods (pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy), especially in a more severe forms of depression, may prove to be beneficial, easing and accelerating the treatment, making it more effective, easing the suffering the clients experience. It may also prevent future depression episodes or facilitate their overcoming .
A psychotherapist and a psychiatrist cooperate for the client (patient) benefit:
- the psychotherapist conducts psychotherapy, according to the knowledge and modalities of a given psychotherapeutic approach, tailored to the needs and current situation of the client. If the psychotherapist decides that psychotherapy alone is not sufficient, proposes to the client a consultation with a psychiatrist
- the psychiatrist is certified to diagnose or exclude depression or related health disorders. The psychiatrist decides on drugs that should help the patient to function better, and, if needed, issues a certificate of incapacity for work. When a patient who may enter into psychotherapy and benefit from it visits a psychiatrist, the doctor usually proposes a consultation with a psychotherapist and entering into psychotherapy
If the situation requires and the client agrees to it, a psychotherapist or a psychologist may contact a psychiatrist to agree the treatment method most beneficial for the client. For example, a psychiatrist may inform the psychologist about the specifics of the drug the patient is currently being treated with, or a psychotherapist may inform the psychiatrist on his or her comments on the patient’s state and functioning as well as comment on the insufficient or excessive action of the drug recently introduced into the treatment.
I am very open to the clients’ needs, including the clients fighting depression. Using the therapy offered at my office, you support the treatment of your disease and recognise and solve the problems that are underlying the depression. Specialist psychotherapeutic assistance may be an efficient addition to pharmacotherapy or an alternative mood disorder treatment.
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