Speaking of depression, it is necessary to distinguish its clinical definition from that used in everyday speech. People often talk about their own or someone else’s depression, referring to a depressed or simply bad mood. In the clinical sense, depression is not just a bad mood, it is a real disease requiring treatment.
According to the International Classification of Diseases of the 10th Revision, depressions can be diagnosed if a person has three or more of the following symptoms for at least two weeks:
- Mood decline;
- Change in appetite;
- Fatigue, fatigue;
- Feeling of guilt, worthlessness;
- Decrease in interest and / or pleasure from previously pleasant activity;
- Decreased ability to concentrate;
- Change in sleep quality;
- A decrease in self-esteem, dissatisfaction with oneself;
- Weight change;
- Changes in sexual life;
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
Why do depression and its types appear?
Often, depression occurs amid severe stresses or long-term severe traumatic situations. Sometimes it develops for no apparent reason. A depressive state can accompany somatic diseases (cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, etc.).
Depression can occur in the form of single episodes or occur in the form of repeated exacerbations. In some people, depression can be chronic and last for many years. Depression can also be masked: in this case, the typical symptoms of the disease may be absent or manifest slightly, while the patient is concerned about bodily manifestations: discomfort, pain, functional disorders.
A person may suspect depression, but only an expert can make an accurate diagnosis who not only confirms the presence of the disease but also helps to cope with it. Recently, cases of self-diagnosis of depression have become more frequent using, for example, the Beck scale, which can be easily found on the Internet. This method cannot be called effective since this scale was developed not for the independent diagnosis, but for assessing the effectiveness of the therapy.
It is not easy to describe a typical patient suffering from depression – the manifestations of the disease and the severity of symptoms are different for everyone. Depression affects people of all ages and both sexes. It is expected that women more often seek help from psychotherapists than men – males are not accustomed to complaining and suffering openly, masked depression is found in them much more often than in women. However, in recent years there has been a tendency toward an increase in the number of men venturing into therapy.
Of the non-drug methods, the main approach for treating is the cognitive-behavioral approach. However, with complicated or chronic depression, it is recommended to combine psychotherapy with medical treatment.
How to treat. People often try to cope with the disease on their own, using not the most sophisticated methods for this – some are immersed in work, others are torturing themselves with sports, and others are looking for a way out in drugs and alcohol. It is possible to cope with mild depressive episodes on your own, in other cases, you can not do without the help of a specialist.
A patient in serious condition needs help. Such people refuse to communicate, avoid going outside, such people have no motivation for treatment and they do not want any therapy. There are people who have been ill for 20 and 30 years – they simply do not remember themselves outside of depression and cannot imagine life without this condition. Fortunately, the condition of even such patients can improve and in my practice, there are such cases.
Awareness of Depression
In general, treatment is much simpler if the patient realizes that he is sick, recognizes that he is depressed. Sometimes just one session is enough to make improvements. But all patients are different: someone gets better after one or several sessions, and someone needs lifelong therapy. In any case, the prognosis for treating depression is generally favorable.