Depression and its treatment

"Health Watch"

ew days back a person came to me with the complaints that he is not able to concentrate on his work anymore. He had sleepless nights and that he lost pleasure in most of the things he used to like. Also, he used to feel sad, gloomy and irritable all the time. He felt that his life is not worth living and that he should die. All the time he felt tired and low in energy.

What is this person suffering from? The answer is depression. The people in depression feel sad, tired and low in energy all the time. They are usually not able to concentrate on their work. Either they sleep very less, wake up early in the morning or they sleep too much and feel like not getting up in the morning. The time becomes hard for them to pass as they feel very gloomy and sad. They loose pleasure in their surroundings and feel that it is very difficult for them to stand the day. Since the arrival of the day is very painful to them they feel very difficult to get up in the morning. Even if they are not feeling sleepy they lie in the bed as the arrival of another day is not welcoming anything new to them. They feel low in energy all the time and not able to enjoy their day to day usual activities. Sometimes they feel like crying and they actually cry a lot. Most of the time they feel that they are no good, they cannot do anything well and that they are worthless. They cut themselves of from the social circle because they have lot of shame and guilt about themselves not performing well. They feel helpless because of moving away from the society. They feel hopeless as all the things appear to them as gloomy and that they feel that the life has come to an end and that there is no hope in their life. Sometimes they think of committing suicide as well because they feel hopelessness in their lives. Sometimes they plan to take suicidal actions. Mostly people do not act on these plans but sometimes they actually does act over these plans. So you need to be very careful if someone related to you is suffering from these problems.

The treatment for depression is the medications and psychotherapies. The medications involve several antidepressants which try to ward off depression. The idea behind medications is that prolonged stress can make neuro chemical changes in the brain which might cause some changes in emotions and behavior. If their is stress either their is a fight or flight reaction. Either you try to maintain your behavior through fighting it off or you try to avoid these situations or run away from the situation. For example if a snake comes through your way you will be frightened and you will undergo a lot of emotional changes resulting in the fighting behavior( to kill the snake) or the flight behavior ( running away from the place). You experience these emotions due to changes in the chemicals in your brain. But these emotions become permanent if the stress is prolonged as these chemicals cause derangements in your brain. Taking medications from outside would try to maintain your equilibrium. The medications would try to release either those chemicals in your brain which release those neurotransmitters that are healthy for you or try to block those neurotransmitters that are unhealthy for you.

Psychotherapies like cognitive behavior therapy focus on the thinking style (cognitions). It believes in the concept that the thinking style affects your emotions and behavior. If you start thinking positive then your emotions and behavior will be positive and if you think negative then your behavior and emotions will be negative and you will feel sad and gloomy all the time. So it is all about your perceptions - how you perceive the world. For example do you feel the glass is half "empty" or half "filled". The therapist try to validate your thoughts from the reality, he/she try to focus on the evidences that what evidences are there which makes your assumptions and automatic thoughts. Then therapist gives you lots of homework’s and a schedule of activities to keep yourself busy all the time so that you do not find it difficult to kill time and that you are engaged constructively which can bring back your zeal and enthusiasm towards life. Therapist acts as a support towards all the activities you do and he/she tries to encourage the person who is depressed.

One thing I would like to add here is that the antidepressants and the Cognitive Behavior therapies might be used separately but when they are used in combination, the results and benefits are more effective.

Please find out if anybody related to you is suffering from these symptoms and try to help him or her. You my contact your nearest clinical psychologist and psychiatrist for the advice.

Dr Smita Pandey Bhat is a Counselor and Clinical Psychologist. She has completed her M.Phil and PhD in Clinical Psychology, from Central Institute of Psychiatry (C.I.P), Ranchi. She has seven years of experience in this field at different places. She provides psychological counseling, psychotherapies like, Supportive Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Social Skills Training, Assertiveness Training etc. as per the requirement of the people. She also provides assessments like Intelligence Tests and Personality Assessments for Children as well as Adults.

The areas of problems that require her services is ranging from mild emotional problems to severe mental problems. She provides counseling to children for the problems like, lying, stealing, truancy, identity problems, low self esteem or self confidence, poor performance in school, learning disabilities, autism, attention deficit and hyperactivity problems, emotional outbursts, anger outbursts, crying spells, sadness and depression, problems regarding the choice of career, problems in sleeping etc. She also provides counseling to parents called as Parental Management Training and counsel them for good parenting strategies.

For Adults she provide services for work related stress, stress within the family, tension, anxiety, depression, low self esteem or self confidence, problems in dealing with stress or coping or making adjustments, problems in married life, problems related with sleep, boredom and stress burnouts. She also provides management for obsessive and compulsive behaviors. She teaches them techniques so that they are able to cope better in their lives and have a good quality of life.

She also provides cognitive rehabilitation to the patients of chronic schizophrenia , dementia and brain injury patients helping them to learn self help skills and help them refine their cognitive abilities like attention , memory, organization and planning etc. through cognitive retraining and other behavioral techniques.

Dr. Smita Pandey Bhat has given lectures on clinical psychology for nursing students and staff, as well as M.Phil students. She is a clinical psychologist of repute and has made appearances on several live television shows and appeared as Celebrity Guest on indiatimes.com

Please email us at: doctor.shehjar@gmail.com or at: editor.shehjar@gmail.com for any health related questions. We can publish them anonymously at your request.

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Comments
Health Watch of Shehjar is a very useful section of the magazine which educates on different ailments that plauge some members of the community.It needs to be regularised and broadened .Shehjar Desk could consider.
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