Therapy for Depression with Wellness Road Psychology
The Impact of Depression
Depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide due to its ability to disrupt all aspects of life — from work performance to interpersonal relationships and overall happiness. In addition, individuals with depression have a higher risk of developing physical illnesses like heart disease and stroke and an increased mortality rate.
Depression can manifest itself in many forms, such as feeling overwhelmed or exhausted for no reason, losing interest in activities previously enjoyed, difficulty concentrating and remembering details, appetite and weight changes, persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
Fortunately, there are effective treatments available that can reduce symptoms and help individuals lead healthy lives. Treatments such as psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and medications (e.g., selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs) are designed to restore balance in brain chemistry and provide essential insight into how individuals perceive themselves and their environment to begin the road to recovery.
How Depression Is Diagnosed
To be diagnosed with a depressive disorder, a person must meet the criteria in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In addition, therapists will ask questions to see if you exhibit at least five symptoms.
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day;
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all activities;
- Significant weight loss/gain;
- Sleep disruptions such as inability to sleep or oversleeping
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Loss of energy or feelings of fatigue
- Daily feelings of excessive guilt or worthlessness
- Experiencing indecisiveness or reduced ability to focus, think, or concentrate
- Suicidal ideation and recurring thoughts of death.
If these feelings last over two weeks, they may be classified as a depressive disorder. Additionally, these symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning and must not be attributed to physiological conditions such as disease.
Effects of Depression
One of the primary effects of depression is isolation. This can be difficult to overcome, as many people with depression find it hard to reach out and form meaningful connections with others. This isolation can lead to a vicious cycle of depression and hopelessness. Therapy helps someone facing depression to take steps to connect better with the outside world.
Depression can also impact physical health, including fatigue, decreased motivation, irregular sleep patterns, and digestive problems. A therapist helps bring awareness to this and offers a structured way to build healthier habits.
When untreated, depression can lead to other mental illnesses like anxiety or eating disorders. In severe cases, depression may lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
How Depression Impacts Social Activities
Depression can significantly negatively impact an individual's ability to work, attend school, and participate in activities. This has far-reaching consequences on their quality of life and ability to care for themselves.
At school, depression can interfere with learning by making it difficult for someone to process new information or remember taught material. Additionally, the lack of energy and social withdrawal associated with depression can make it hard for a student to interact with teachers or peers normally.
At work, depression can lead to absenteeism, poor performance, and lowered productivity. In addition, they may have reduced self-confidence and have feelings of guilt, isolation, and worthlessness that can prevent them from performing their best.
Finally, depression can remove individuals’ motivation to engage in social activities and even basic self-care tasks. This can make it difficult for a person with depression to take part in activities that would bring them joy or provide necessary interaction with other people. It can also leave someone isolated from family and friends who may not understand their condition. With proper treatment and support, however, it is possible to improve functioning in all areas of life impacted.
Types of Depression
Depression is classified into several types: major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is characterized by a period of at least two weeks in which an individual experiences low mood or loss of interest or pleasure, accompanied by other symptoms such as changes in appetite or sleep patterns, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, feelings of guilt or worthlessness and thoughts of death.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) involves similar symptoms, but they last longer - typically more than two years.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating periods of extremely high and low moods, ranging from mania to depression. It may also include episodes of mixed symptoms involving manic and depressive features.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs during specific seasons, typically in the winter months when there is less sunlight. Symptoms often include fatigue, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and hopelessness. Treatment involves light therapy and lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity and improved sleep hygiene.
Post Partum Depression
Post Partum Depression (PPD) is a specific type of depression in new mothers. This type of depression can be complicated to manage, requiring medical and psychological treatment. Common treatments for PPD include counseling, psychotherapy, nutrition and lifestyle modifications, and anti-depressant medications. Therefore, it is important for women suffering from PPD to seek appropriate help to ensure their well-being and the health of their babies.
Types of Therapy for Depression
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is a form of talk therapy that focuses on changing the negative thought patterns associated with depression by encouraging more balanced thinking. This can help a person identify, challenge and modify any negative thoughts about themselves or their circumstances. CBT is often used in combination with other therapies and can be very effective in reducing symptoms of depression.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT) focuses on helping individuals resolve conflicts within relationships that contribute to their depression. It also allows people to develop better communication skills and interpersonal boundaries and improve problem-solving abilities and overall self-confidence.
Psychodynamic therapy looks at the underlying causes of depression by looking at past experiences and relationships. Then, the therapist works with the individual to explore how these early events might affect current life situations and behaviors, which can help the individual better understand their feelings.
Interpersonal Therapy focuses on helping clients understand and work through their relationship issues, as these can sometimes be at the root of depressive symptoms. Finally, Psychodynamic Therapy concentrates on uncovering past unresolved conflicts that may contribute to current moods and behaviors.
Behavioral therapy helps individuals identify and change behaviors contributing to their depression. Examples might include avoiding certain activities or people, overeating, or overspending, among other treatments that can be effective in reducing depressive symptoms by helping individuals gain insight into how their behavior is impacting their mood, as well as empowering them to make changes that will improve overall functioning in all areas of life affected by depression.
Cognitive Therapy focuses on changing the thought patterns that exacerbate depressive symptoms. This type of therapy helps individuals recognize and challenge distorted thinking and replace negative thoughts with more balanced perspectives. In addition, Cognitive Therapy can help people learn to identify and modify unhealthy behavior patterns.
Psychodynamic Therapy addresses the underlying causes of depression by looking at psychological issues contributing to depressive symptoms. It can help individuals increase insight into their feelings and behaviors, as well as gain a better understanding of their relationships with others.
Light therapy is a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) treatment involving exposure to full-spectrum light. It effectively treats SAD symptoms and can help individuals with non-seasonal depression. Light therapy works by triggering the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which helps to regulate mood and other bodily functions.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) aims to help individuals become more mindful of their thoughts and feelings while also developing the skills they need to manage them. This type of therapy emphasizes acceptance and commitment instead of avoidance or change, helping individuals create a sense of purpose in life. Through this process, individuals can learn to tolerate better difficult emotions, such as those associated with depression.
Marriage and Family Therapy
Marriage and family therapy can be beneficial for individuals with depression. This type of therapy helps families work through conflicts constructively and identify areas where individual members may need additional support or guidance. Additionally, Marriage and Family Therapy allows all family members to share their feelings in a safe environment, which can help to reduce depressive symptoms by improving communication and understanding within the family system.
Art therapy is another form of treatment that can be used to help manage depression. This therapy combines traditional psychotherapy with creative expression and allows individuals to explore their feelings through art, such as drawing, painting, music, or sculpting. It can help provide a sense of mastery over difficult emotions and can also give insight into areas that may need further exploration. It also allows the patient to engage in the joy of creative output.
Medication therapy is often used in conjunction with psychotherapeutic treatments for depression. Antidepressant medications increase the availability of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps to regulate mood. Different classes of antidepressants are effective for treating various types and severities of depression, so it is essential to consult with a doctor about what style would best suit one's individual needs.