Sometimes when people feel “down” or sad, they say that they are feeling “depressed”. Depression is a common reason why people seek for psychological help for themselves or for a close person. Even though depression can take many forms, it substantially differs from mourning or melancholy and it requires different treatment than the other two. Sometimes psychotherapy for depression also includes medication. Some typical signs of depression are:
- Low mood or low interest in previously pleasurable activities,
- Reduced or increased appetite,
- Reduced or increased need for sleep
- Loss of energy
- Thoughts that one is worthless, useless or unable
- Loss of courage and hope
- Suicidal thoughts
However, depression may differ in intensity from case to case or it may coexist with other mental disorders, like anxiety or phobias. In any case, the psychologist is eligible to determine the type and degree of depressive affect and propose the most suitable type of therapy for every client. Sometimes the psychologist may cooperate with another specialist, for example a psychiatrist or a general practician, in order to make use of the benefits of medical treatment.
- Is depression a disease?
Depression is a type of mental disorder and it is considered to be a kind of disease, but a curable one. This means that with the right treatment or with the right combination of different treatments, the client may regain his/her lost energy and return to his/her previous level of quality of life.
- If I have depression, is it necessary for me to take up medication or visit a psychiatrist?
The answer depends on the type and the degree of the disorder. It is common for mental health professionals to combine different types of therapies. The combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy is often suggested. The is because medication helps patients make the maximum use of psychotherapy without having to deal with uncontrollable affective symptoms. In case of suicidal ideation, the use of medication is necessary and obligatory.
- How do I know if I suffer from depression or not?
This is something that psychologists and psychiatrists are eligible to judge with safety. The safest way to determine whether you suffer from depression or not is to address a mental health professional, especially if you have noticed changes in your functionality level, in your mood or in your thoughts’ content (“dark” thoughts, thoughts of suicidality).
- Depression does not need treatment. It will pass.
Depression does need treatment and it is quite impossible to heal by itself. Mourning is a healthy type of sadness that goes away after a certain period of time. On the other hand, depression tends to become chronic, if not treated properly.