“The only thing more exhausting than being depressed is pretending that you’re not.”- Anonymous
Very often we get to hear people say, “I am under depression”, “My child is depressed”, “So and so is depressed”, so on and so forth.
Someone is said to be suffering from the mental illness, depression, if he/she has the depressive symptoms for at least 2 weeks.
Do you know this?
Do you know the symptoms of depression?
Before further discussion, let us discuss a case of a client.
Mrs. Y, 30-year-old female graduate, married house wife was brought by family members with two months history of getting tired easily and not doing her household work as before. She would sleep poorly. She had lost interest in previously enjoyable activities like watching television, chatting with neighbours etc. She would feel gloomy almost all day and felt like crying for no apparent reason. She would worry excessively about welfare and future of her children. Gradually, she had stopped going out of her house and meeting her friends. Her appetite reduced and neglected personal hygiene. She would express death wishes, would blame herself for being burden on the family. She had also expressed that she would never become alright as there was no cure for her problems. She would remain in the bed most of the day complaining of tiredness even on doing some minor work.
Depression is prolonged periods of excessive sadness.
For diagnosis of depression, following symptoms should be present continuously for at least 2 weeks.
At least 2 out of 3 most typical symptoms must be present:
- sustained depressed mood to a degree that is definitely abnormal for the individual, present for most of the day and almost every day,
- largely uninfluenced by circumstances, loss of interest or pleasure in activities that are normally pleasurable
- decreased energy or increased fatigability should be accompanied by several other symptoms like
- reduced concentration and attention
- reduced self-esteem and self-confidence
- feeling of helplessness
- ideas of guilt and unworthiness
- bleak and pessimistic views of future
- ideas of acts of self-harm or suicide
- decreased appetite or increased appetite
- disturbed sleep
The episode should not be attributable to substance abuse or any organic mental disorder.
Depression can be of mild, moderate or severe based on the number of symptoms and functional impairment.
Going back to the above patient’s case. On examination, Mrs. Y. had decreased psycho-motor activity. She was feeling sad and hopeless. She spoke in low tone and volume. She had ideas of guilt and expressed death wishes. She also had lost interest in previously pleasurable activities and low energy. She had these symptoms for more than 2 weeks. Mrs. Y, has depressive episode.
One must consult a mental health professional if the above symptoms are found in them/their near or dear ones.
How we can help?
Empathetically listen to the clients without judging and giving hope to them that “I understand what you are going through”
Use of Psychometric tests- We use Psychometric tests to identify the illness, so that the assessment is standardized, reliable and valid.
Educating and empowering the clients and families by providing relevant information about depression in simple and clear language and guiding them to apply this information to their own situation.
Help the client to find his/her own ways to cope with the present situation and teach different strategies and self-care techniques.
Support mechanisms, clients are encouraged to develop support mechanisms to deal with problems encountered.
Counselling/Talk therapy is directed at a specific problem.
Supportive psychotherapy aims at extending rapport to patients and their families during and also after the course of illness.
Guidance and rapport is offered at each and every step aimed at improving the condition of the patient as well as to prevent relapse after recovery.
Supportive psychotherapy is very important as it conveys to the patient and family that help and support is available whenever there is a need for it. Through supportive psychotherapy, we offer guidance and reassurance which is important for preventing relapse.
Few Techniques used are:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help the clients to identify the automatic negative thoughts and testing the validity of such thoughts. Educating them about cognitive distortions.
Homework assignments are given between sessions.
PCT-Person Centred Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy.
Treatment options: after diagnosing, if client requires pharmacological treatment then client will be referred to Psychiatrist.
These are just some of the techniques for depression. However, every client is special and come with their own unique challenges. At Three Waves, the treatment is based on client requirements and we make it suitable to help and support the client.