Memo for patients with depression

Memo for patients with depression

“I absolutely do not want to get out of bed in the morning. I don’t want to go to work, the mood is lousy, I don’t want to communicate with anyone ”

“I don’t want to eat anything, I’ve lost weight, I think all the time that I’m a failure. Colleagues say that I am appreciated at work, but I am sure that I am about to be fired. “

“I often have a headache, everything has become completely uninteresting. I began to sleep badly.
I can’t understand what’s wrong with me “

What unites these people? All of them, in one form or another, suffer from depression. Now this word can be heard very often, but what is depression really?

What is depression?

First of all, depression is a disease. But how can you tell depression from just being in a bad mood?

In a state of depression, a person’s mood decreases for a long time, what used to be enjoyable and interesting ceases to be so. Physical weakness appears, sleep is often disturbed and appetite disappears, weight decreases. Ideas of guilt arise, the future looks bleak, self-esteem and self-confidence are diminished.

Not every depression in mood is depression. For a diagnosis, this condition must last at least 2 weeks. In a chronic course, periods of depression can last for 6 months or more. The depressive state varies greatly in severity: from depressed mood to severe depression in which a person cannot get out of bed. Depression is often combined with anxiety; this is the so-called anxiety depression.

Sometimes a person does not feel depressed at all, but instead complains of bodily symptoms – heart pains, migraines, skin and gastrointestinal tract diseases. This happens when a person does not know how to react to a situation with the help of their emotions.

What is the cause of depression?

“It all started for me for no reason, like everything in life was normal, and suddenly – depression”

In fact, depression does not happen without a reason. It’s just that in some cases, the reasons for it are obvious – some serious life shock (divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of job), and in others, depression occurs for no apparent external reason. But even in this case, there are reasons.

Scientists now believe that depression occurs due to a combination of several factors. In some patients with depression, genetic factors play a role, i.e. a predisposition to depression can be inherited. But it is not the depression itself that is transmitted, but only the predisposition. If you have a predisposition to depression, this means that it can manifest itself only under certain adverse circumstances. Psychological factors play an important role in the development of depression, in particular, upbringing, family environment, severe stress during childhood (for example, separation from parents).

A significant factor in the development of depression is the particular style of thinking that contributes to depression.

Thinking traits that contribute to depression

“I have been working for the company for 3 years. He rose to the head of the department. But I feel like a complete failure, because I set myself the goal of becoming a deputy director … “

“I failed the interview. It seems to me that people like me are not hired “

Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways of thinking that can lead to depression.

Perfectionism. You are sure that you should achieve only the best results in everything. People with depression are rarely satisfied with what they do because they set themselves very high standards. Perfectionism forces them to work with overexertion, which causes severe exhaustion and constant anxiety about the result.
Black and white thinking. You think on the principle of “all or nothing” – “If I did something by half, then I did not do anything”, “Either I won or I lost.” This way of thinking is very dangerous, because it does not allow a person to see intermediate options for the development of events.
Catastrophization. When some minor nuisance occurs, it seems to you that a catastrophe has occurred. “If my child gets a grade at school, it means that he will not be able to study!”. Catastrophic thinking is very anxiety-producing and energy-consuming.
“I should”. You constantly tell yourself that you should: be a good husband / wife, parent, employee, always keep up with everything, don’t get angry with other people … The list goes on and on. The so-called “tyranny of obligation” does not allow a person to enjoy life and take time for himself.
These are not all thoughts that contribute to the development of depression. Anyone has many of them, but they take up most of the time in patients with depression. Psychotherapy can help combat these thoughts and develop more realistic thinking.

How can depression be treated?

If you are suffering from depression, the first thing you should do is see a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, very often in our country people are accustomed to referring to psychics and fortune-tellers rather than to medical specialists. Only a psychiatrist can correctly diagnose you and decide if you suffer from depression.

Depression is treated both with the help of psychotropic drugs – antidepressants prescribed by a doctor, and with the help of psychotherapy (it can be carried out by a psychotherapist or clinical psychologist). In severe depression, antidepressant medication is essential. in this state, thoughts of suicide and attempts at suicide are not uncommon. It is best when antidepressant treatment is accompanied by psychotherapy. In milder forms, psychotherapy alone can be dispensed with.

“The doctor prescribed antidepressants for me, but I am very afraid to take them, I heard that they are addicted to drugs, and they also make you very fat”

Antidepressants are medications for depression. There are many types of antidepressants now. Modern antidepressants are much more easily tolerated by patients and have fewer side effects. Only a psychiatrist should prescribe and stop antidepressants. He will also tell you about the peculiarities of taking and acting on these drugs.

The belief that antidepressants cause drug addiction is a big misconception. With proper treatment under the supervision of a psychiatrist, this does not happen. It is very important that you are in constant and regular contact with your doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your treatment, how the drug works, and side effects. The various side effects of antidepressants are relatively easy to deal with and reversible.

“I started taking antidepressants, drank for three days, no result –
I quit .” The fact is that antidepressants begin to act gradually, accumulating in the body and the full effect appears after about 2 weeks. You can not independently cancel antidepressants and change the dose yourself.

Do not think that you will have to drink these medicines all your life. With proper treatment, you will be able to manage without them over time. But at the same time, you must tune in to a long process of treatment. It is also important to understand that there can be some ups and downs in the treatment of depression. If, despite taking antidepressants and psychotherapy, you feel worse for a while, do not despair. Such periods are associated with both external circumstances and with the individual action of the antidepressant. Talk to your doctor so that he can change the treatment regimen as needed. If you are undergoing psychotherapy, do not be afraid to tell the therapist about the deterioration in order to develop further strategies.

What is psychotherapy?

What is psychotherapy? To put it simply, psychotherapy is a word heal. A psychotherapist helps a person to independently understand what his feelings and actions are dictated by. Precisely on their own, because many people have a misconception about a psychotherapist as a person who will give specific instructions on how to live correctly. In fact, many can give advice, but they rarely make life easier, since they are most often based on the experience of the advisor. And the role of a psychotherapist is completely different – he creates conditions in which a person makes decisions himself, begins to better understand what is really behind his problems.

The most recognized and widespread throughout the world are two types of psychotherapy – psychoanalytic psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is the oldest form of psychotherapy in use today. One of the main ideas of this type of psychotherapy is the existence of an unconscious sphere of the psyche. Thoughts and desires that are unacceptable to us are often not realized by us. For example, you cannot understand why, for no apparent reason, you have a strong dislike for someone. This person may remind you of someone significant to you, but this similarity is not recognized. Until you remember who you are really angry with, it will be difficult to get rid of the irritation.

Relationships are another important target of psychoanalytic therapy. They are often built on the experience of previous relationships (early childhood experiences are especially important). Most often, in adults, memories of childhood are greatly distorted and their connection with current relationships is not obvious. Moreover, it is very difficult to realize some repetitive stereotypes in the relationship of an adult. For example, some women regularly have close relationships with alcoholic men. During psychotherapy, these stereotypes are realized and their connection with past experience is established.

Psychoanalytic therapy is a lengthy procedure. It can last for several years with a frequency of two to five times a week. There are relatively short-term forms – 1-2 sessions per week for several months to a year.

Cognitive – behavioral therapy is a younger trend in psychotherapy. The main idea of CBT is the dependence of a person’s emotions and behavior on his thoughts.

All people have so-called automatic thoughts. These are thoughts that come to our minds automatically, and are not disputed by us. For example, a patient says that her mood turned badly after being looked at by her boss. After analyzing this situation, it turned out that an automatic thought flashed through her: “If the boss looked at me, then he is not happy with me!”, And it was she who spoiled the woman’s mood.

If you learn to catch these thoughts, check their correctness (“What does it say that my boss is unhappy with me?”), And challenge, then you can get a powerful means of regulating your own emotional state. Behind automatic thoughts there are deep beliefs about oneself, about people, about the world around them, which are formed in childhood and are often not realized. You can also work with them, being aware and changing, if necessary. In CBT, a system of homework and behavioral exercises is widely used. CBT is shorter-term than psychoanalytic therapy (20-40 sessions once a week).

What happens if depression is not treated?

“Bad mood, you think that now every trifle is being treated or something”, “You are a man, pull yourself together, why did you mock?” – this can be heard all the time. Many people suffering from depression do not seek help because they feel that it is embarrassing to cope with problems on their own. This is a very big mistake. Why?

Firstly, depression is difficult to cope with on your own, and advice to pull yourself together will not help here. Seeking help is not a weakness; on the contrary, you need to have a lot of courage to admit your problems and fight them. Seeing a specialist is your first step towards recovery. Turning to a specialist, you make a conscious choice in favor of health.
secondly, depression without treatment leads to dire consequences:
People who have not received treatment for depression for many years may lose their jobs, lose friends. Also, they often have family problems, up to the destruction of the family.
If a person has suffered from depression for many years without receiving any help, their treatment may be more difficult and time-consuming.
Alcoholism can be a dangerous consequence of depression without treatment. According to some reports, up to half of people suffering from alcoholism are diagnosed with depression, but have never received appropriate treatment. Alcohol has a short-term antidepressant effect. But over time, it only intensifies depression, not to mention the emergence of alcohol dependence.
Finally, the most dangerous consequence of depression without treatment is suicide attempts. If you have suicidal thoughts, see a psychiatrist immediately.
Can you work when you are being treated for depression?

“The doctors diagnosed me with depression. I decided not to work, because overexertion, stress at work is harmful to me. I’ve been sitting at home for two years, sadness “

“I decided to fight depression. I thought that if I worked harder, there would be no time to think about nonsense. I overburdened myself with work, but realized that I could not cope “

So after all, which is more correct – to work or not? In fact, moderate activity is essential for a person suffering from depression.

It is very important to try to entertain yourself, go to the store, walk, meet friends, even if it does not bring the former pleasure. The following paradoxical principle is important here – “I will have to live with depression for a while.” This means that you do not have to wait until you are fully recovered in order to start doing something. Many patients say: “When I feel that I have been cured, then I will move mountains, and now I am not capable of anything.” It is not right. You need to start trying to do some business, being in a state of depression.

If you are being treated for mild to moderate depression, you may well be able to work. But it is very important to adjust your work schedule. Avoid unrealistic deadlines and rush jobs. Try not to work overtime. Do not try to cope with depression by loading yourself with a lot of things. This can lead to rapid exhaustion and worsening of your condition. It is important to understand that depression is not a time for big changes and decisions. Give yourself permission to take small steps.

If you are undergoing treatment for severe depression and cannot work, do not despair. Let your treatment be your job for a while.

In any case, discuss work-related issues with your doctor or psychotherapist.

Can you help yourself on your own?

As mentioned above, depression is a disease that specialists treat. And your first task is to find those who will provide you with qualified assistance. But you must understand that without your efforts, the results of treatment will be much worse or appear slower. So what can you do to ease depression treatment?

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