People suffering from depression often feel worthless, helpless or hopeless. They exhibit a loss of ability to find pleasure in usual activities or hobbies. They have changes in appetite, sleep disturbance, and fatigue. As well, some people experience difficulties with their memory, concentration and their ability to make decisions.
Treatments that work for depression include Cognitive Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy.
Cognitive Therapy lowers future risk of depression and is effective in approximately 70% of cases. Cognitive therapy focuses on:
- Identifying automatic thoughts
- Disputing these thoughts
- Making reattributions
- Learning to avoid ruminative behaviour
- Challenging core beliefs that limit the person’s ability to grow and be happy
Psychotherapy focuses on social relationships and interpersonal problems. This includes current disputes, frustrations, anxieties and disappointments. It looks at 4 problem areas: fights, role transitions, social deficits, and grief. Like cognitive therapy, it is short-term and brings relief to approximately 70% of cases.
Sometimes depression is best treated with a combination of therapy and antidepressant medication. Therapy has a great advantage in that it has been shown to decrease the frequency and severity of relapses.
People suffering from bipolar disorder experience extreme and unpredictable mood swings that range from hypomania or mania to full-blown depression. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is often missed and people tend to get treated as if they are experiencing depression. It is very important to note that treatment for bipolar disorder is different than treatment for depression. In addition to therapy, bipolar disorder frequently requires use of medications.
People with dysthymic disorder feel depressed for at least two years. It usually starts in childhood, early adolescence, or early adult life. People with dysthymic disorder usually suffer from very low self-esteem, feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and loneliness. Dysthymic disorder tends to be present for so long that people start to see it as part of their own personality. Symptoms are usually significant enough to cause social and occupational impairment. Dysthymic disorder is the kind of disorder that requires psychological intervention. Medication is usually not effective as a standalone treatment.