Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis and Treatment

















Diagnosis and Treatment

Depression is a state of overwhelming sadness, which makes people lose pleasure in life, and interest in the things they used to enjoy. It tends to occur more in women than in men, and appears in children and adolescents. People with depression become apathetic, and are not able to make decisions. They feel worthless and consider themselves failures. They blame themselves for the problems they encounter. In serious cases, depression may cause people to lose their interest in food, and leads to loss of concentration and insomnia. People with extreme depression have suicidal thoughts and some of them may try to commit suicide (Morris & Maisto, 2010).

DSM-IV-TR has identified the symptoms to expect when diagnosing depression. The symptoms include having a depressed mood, losing interest in pleasure, significant weight loss or gain, trouble sleeping, fatigue, feeling worthless or having excess built, disturbances in motor activities, loss of concentration, and recurring thoughts of death. A person with depression should show low moods or loss of pleasure, and at least four of the symptoms identified. Some of these symptoms are common when a person is suffering from other conditions, such as thyroid problems and adverse drug reactions. Doctors may confirm tests to rule out such conditions (Morris & Maisto, 2010).

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment option for mild psychological problems. It works best for patients who are willing to change their condition by seeking treatment. Cognitive therapies are effective for treating depression. Using these treatments, the therapist concentrates on changing the patients’ perception and beliefs. The therapist identifies the reasons for the patients’ negative thoughts and rectifies them by teaching the patient how to think positively. The therapist helps the patients to know and understand their behaviors, thoughts and ways to improve them. Through therapy, patients learn how they can solve problems and cope better in life. The therapist works together with the patients to identify ways of getting pleasurable experiences and interests in their lives. They learn how they can control their lives by managing the situations they encounter (Mayo Clinic, 2012).

Cognitive behavioral therapy is especially effective for treating depression. Using this form of therapy, the patient identifies the negative thoughts and beliefs in his life, and replaces them with positive ones. The therapist helps the patient to understand that his feelings and behavior depend on his thoughts, and not on the situation that he is or may have experienced in the past, or on other people. This helps the patient to have a positive outlook in life even in unfavorable situations. By learning how to think positively and to have healthy thoughts, the person develops a new outlook in life (Mayo Clinic, 2012).

Other forms of therapy such as rational-emotive therapies are effective in treating depression. This form of therapy addresses the irrational and self-defeating beliefs that a person has. People with depression may appear irrational, as they tend to blame themselves for the problems they encounter. They are stressed whenever they encounter a situation they cannot handle. Rational emotive therapists deal with such situations using different methods, which can include persuasion and theoretical arguments. The therapists tend to be highly confrontational when talking about different situations that patients are undergoing or when discussing matters concerning their negative beliefs. This helps in reducing depression, as it enables the patients to have a different perspective of the negative situations in their lives by having a positive outlook. Beck’s cognitive therapy addresses depression by examining the unrealistic expectations that the patient has. This form of therapy recognizes the negative mindset of the patient, as he/she tends to interpret all the situations they encounter negatively. They continuously see their failures and rarely recognize any success they have made in their lives (Morris & Maisto, 2010).

Doctors sometimes find it necessary to combine therapy with medication, especially when dealing with serious and extreme cases of depression. Antidepressant medication is used to treat the condition, and it acts by affecting brain chemicals that control a person’s mood. The doctor may recommend using stimulants or anti-anxiety medication, although the use of antidepressants is increasingly common. There are different types of antidepressants. They include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors, atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Patients need to take the medication for some time before it takes effect. Most antidepressants have side effects, and doctors are highly likely to try different medication until the most suitable one for the patient is found. Some common side effects include headaches, increased heart rate, restlessness, and digestive problems (Mayo Clinic, 2012).

The use of technology has led to the advancement in medicine. Some doctors use electroconvulsive therapy to treat depression this form of therapy involves passing electric currents through the brain. Patients using this approach find relief immediately as it affects the neurotransmitters in the brain. It is effective even for patients with serious and severe cases of depression. This method is often used by patients who have tried different forms of treatment with little chance of success. This method is also beneficial for patients who cannot take medication for reasons such as severe side effects or pregnancy. Major side effects of using this method are temporary confusion and memory loss (Mayo Clinic, 2012).



Morris, G. C., & Maisto, A. A. (2010). Understanding psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Mayo Clinic (2012). Depression (major depression): treatment and drugs. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

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