Recognizing Depression

Depression is a colloquial term that is often used for the condition of major depressive disorder, a mood disorder where an individual has persistent feelings of sadness, apathy, hopelessness, or helplessness. Within this are a number of types of depression:

Major depression/major depressive disorder/clinical depression/unipolar depression: a severe depression that lasts for at least two weeks, characterized at a minimum by low mood or loss of interest in activities

Persistent depressive disorder (formerly dysthymia): a form of chronic depression that lasts for at least two years but that may be punctuated by short and infrequent episodes of emotional wellness

Antenatal or postpartum depression: a mood disorder linked to hormonal shifts in and around pregnancy. Severity can range from chronic feelings of sadness and lethargy to psychosis in its most severe forms

Bipolar depression or bipolar disorder: symptoms come in periods of extreme lows followed by periods of abnormally elevated mood known as mania. Depressive episodes come with a marked risk of suicide, while manic highs may lead to greatly impaired decisions and other disruptive, risky behaviors

All of these conditions are characterized by a lot more than just feeling sad. While the symptoms of depression vary from type to type and individual to individual, they often include:

  • Intense feelings of shame and guilt
  • Thoughts of worthlessness or helplessness
  • Extreme lethargy, sluggishness
  • Insomnia
  • Erratic mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Weight changes
  • Difficulty focusing or making decisions, and “brain fog”
  • Suicidal ideation or attempts
  • Mild to extreme difficulty managing daily life

Depression symptoms also come in degrees. While major depression may be the most noticeable manifestation of this mood disorder, moderate depression symptoms are also cause for concern – and often go overlooked. A structured intervention with the guidance of a mental health professional can be especially helpful in cases where, to others concerned, an issue is manifesting. The person at the epicenter may be in denial that their symptoms are a reason to seek treatment.

What Causes Depression?

Like most mental health conditions, depression does not come from one place and does not present in a unified way. Part of the job of the intervention team is to gain a professional understanding and evaluation of what the individual is experiencing. The beginning of the intervention process involves a family assessment in which the loved ones of the person of concern help us build a holistic picture of the individual’s life and mental health background.

Our team is compassionate and non-judgmental, and we understand the difficulties you and your family may be facing in starting this conversation. Ultimately, the process is all about highlighting the areas of concern and guiding the individual toward the best and most appropriate medical and psychological treatments.

What to Expect: The Types of Interventions

At Feinberg, we see intervention as a necessary interruption, from the outside, of a way of life that has spiraled out of control. It describes any situation where influential people in someone’s life take it upon themselves to come together and urge the person of concern toward a path of treatment for a mental health condition that has been causing destructive behavior.

Interventions that utilize the guidance and training of an interventionist are common and effective. An interventionist is a mental health professional specializing in managing these ‘interruptions’ in a way that demonstrates to the client how much love and concern their loved ones have for them to steer them towards accepting treatment.

After Intervention: Treatment of Depression

The many mental disorders that fall under the umbrella of “depression” have been subjects of extensive research in clinical psychology over the past century. Because of this, anyone interested in getting therapy for depression potentially has access to a great range of evidence-based treatment options from a range of excellent mental health care providers. The modalities commonly used to treat depression include, but are not limited to:

  • talk therapy
  • psychodynamic psychotherapy/psychodynamic therapy
  • psychotherapeutic interventions
  • interpersonal therapy/interpersonal psychotherapy
  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • dynamic therapies
  • coping skills
  • behavioral activation

Talk therapy, especially CBT, is highly effective in depression treatment. However, your interventionist will make an assessment based on their client’s symptoms and personal history, as well as any co-occurring mental health conditions and other situational factors, talking both the family and the individual involved through their treatment options before making any referrals.

Medication in Depression Treatment

For many, treating depression means introducing long-term medical interventions into their lives, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). In fact, randomized controlled trials suggest that combining selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine with cognitive behavior therapy may, in fact, be one of the most effective strategies to ease depression symptoms.

As they build a detailed picture of your loved one’s needs, your intervention team will be able to offer information specific to your case. They may recommend consultations with a primary care doctor in accessing medications to treat depression in addition to connecting you to a mental health professional or clinic offering psychotherapeutic interventions. In the case of treatment-resistant depression, they will be able to recommend alternatives.

Casework and Consultation

When we work together with you and your family at Feinberg Care, our first priority never changes: we want to ensure that our clients struggling with depression and other mental disorders know they are loved and accept the recommended level of care.

Once we achieve this goal, we’re focused on maintaining it – but that doesn’t mean our work is finished once the intervention is over. Most journeys in depressive disorders are not a perfectly linear path, and over time, untangling the complexities of the emotional, mental, and physiological causes takes flexibility and professional commitment.

That’s why our team will help you navigate the world of depression treatments, providing ongoing support, consultation, coaching, and casework for you and your family. If your life has become affected by depression and its many challenging symptoms, we’re here to help. Reach out to us today at 877.538.5425 if you’re interested in intervention options for a loved one or would like to know more about our full depression treatment consultation path. Our lines are always open.