The Lowdown on Depression Counseling and the Global Context
Depression is a relatively common medical illness which can affect most people at any time of their life. The causes of depression can be varied. What is now getting clearer is that >50% of major depression can be genetically linked. Another large part can be due to stressors during childhood or in the present. Whatever the cause, we also know that depression leads to alteration of certain hormones in your body.
- Cortisol level
- consistently elevated level
- consistently low Brain Volumes in severe untreated depression
- Low on Imaging studies
How do people with depression feel? What do they describe it as?
Let’s look at a few ways people describe depression:
- I have lost the ability to enjoy life
- Nothing is enjoyable
- I can’t imagine my future
- Like being stuck in a Small box which I can’t get out of
- I feel like I don’t matter at all
- I feel like my mind is breaking
- I feel shame and embarrasment
- I have forgotten who I really am and can’t have fun anymore
- I feel like I’m an actor playing me and am being forced to smile when I don’t feel like doing so
- I feel miserable without any reason at all
- I feel hopeless and that life has no meaning
- I don’t know why I feel this way
These are just some of the ways people describe what they are feeling.. As you can see Hopelessness, Inability to experience enjoyment, feeling trapped and Sadness are just some of the symptoms
Let’s take a deeper look at Depression
Are there different types of depression?
DISRUPTIVE MOOD REGULATION DISORDER
MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER (INCLUDING MAJOR DEPRESSIVE EPISODE)
PERSISTENT DEPRESSIVE DISORDER (DYSTHYMIA)
PREMENSTRUAL DYSPHORIC DISORDER
SUBSTANCE/MEDICATION INDUCED DEPRESSIVE DISORDER
DEPRESSIVE DISORDER DUE TO ANOTHER MEDICAL CONDITION
SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
What are the risk factors for Depression?
What are the types of treatment for depression?
A. Psychological/ talk therapy treatments for depression
All of these help you in changing your thinking patterns. Here are the various types:
1.Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) & Rational Emotive Bevaviour Therapy (REBT) :
It is a structured psychological treatment which recognises that the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) affects the way we feel. CBT is one of the most effective treatments for depression and has been found to be useful for a wide range of ages, including children, adolescents, adults and older people. It works to change your thoughts and behaviour by teaching you to think rationally about common difficulties, helping you to shift negative or unhelpful thought patterns and reactions to a more realistic, positive and problem-solving approach.
2. Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
IPT is another structured form of therapy which focuses on the interpersonal relationship aspect in a situation. It takes into consideration the fact that a relationship has a huge impact on the emotional and mental well being of a person either in terms of being a cause of depression and also coming in the way of recovery from depression
3. Behaviour therapy
Some component of this is covered in CBT(point 1). The major difference is that this kind of therapy focuses on encouraging behaviour which is helpful, rewarding and reducing the avoidance which sets in when one has depression
4. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
This is a form of meditation where it helps you to focus on the present irrespective of whether it is positive or negative or pleasant\\unpleasant. This kind of meditation starts with tapping your physical sensations such as breathing, your chest moving in and out, the air through your nose and then moves on to your thoughts. This basically helps you to focus on the present, not let your mind wander off into negativity and identify early warning signs of depression so you can deal with them at an early stage.
B. Medication i.e Anti depressants:
So there is a lot of incorrect information floating around the web with respect to anti depressants but they can be used for moderate to severe depression. I say Moderate to severe, since only psychotherapy might not be adequate in these cases (especially those of Bipolar). They will require a two pronged approach of medication + therapy.
1.Maintaining a healthy lifestyle 2.Support groups & Forums 3.Relaxation techniques 4. Help from friends and family
AM I ALWAYS GOING TO FEEL LIKE THIS ?
This is a common fear. It’s important to know that it will pass. Depression can be successfully treated and that you will feel better in time and with the right treatment.
CAN DEPRESSION COME BACK ?
Of people diagnosed with major depressive disorder, who are treated and recover, at least half are likely to experience a recurrent episode sometime in their future. It may come soon after or not for many years. It may or may not be triggered by a life event. After several episodes of major depression, a psychiatrist may suggest long-term treatment.
HOW LONG SHOULD I WAIT BEFORE I SEEK HELP ?
If your symptoms are mild, do not impair your work or home life, or adversely affect your health, and you do not think about suicide or self-harm, you could wait a week or two before visiting a professional to see if the symptoms may improve on their own. But more serious symptoms need immediate attention.
FAMOUS PEOPLE AND DEPRESSION
Depression doesn’t spare the famous ones either. Have a look at this infographic to tell you who else suffered from depression