This morning I woke up and the sadness was gone. It’s like heaven”Don van Vliet
You often don’t notice depression until it’s over. As long as everything is dark, you blame the evil world that sucks you dry. But as soon as the weather is good again, you forget to ask why you didn’t go to the doctor. Because, in fact, depression is a disease and it is treatable. And if not treated, it can do a lot of damage professionally and personally. Many affected people become alone, lonely, without horizons, without ideas for free time
Every fifth adult suffers from depression once in a lifetime. Depending on the severity, number of symptoms and duration, they are called depressive episode, dysthymia, etc. Even so-called subthreshold forms with only a few symptoms can impair the quality of life and worsen over time.
Despite the severity of the illnesses, patients receive correct medical treatment in only a fraction of cases. For this reason, depression is the disease that causes the most suffering and the most serious disability worldwide. However, it is very severe and chronic in only 5-10 percent of patients. This is because almost all sufferers can be significantly helped by medication and psychotherapy.
So if someone notices several of the following symptoms of depression in him/herself or a relative for 2 weeks, he/she should at least consult a knowledgeable family doctor or specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy.
Constant sad mood, joylessness, insomnia, loss of appetite, unexplained restlessness, lassitude, leaden heaviness, self-reproach, feeling of worthlessness, difficulty thinking and concentrating, weariness of life or suicidal thoughts.
The so-called S3 guidelines for the therapy of unipolar depression of the German professional societies are published on the Internet at www.leitlinien.de. Psychotropic drugs and psychotherapy are often seen as opposites. Actually, they should be partners. This is because both help with all types of depression, each in different combinations. The newer antidepressants (“SSRIs” etc.) specifically target neurotransmitters in the brain and avoid side effects. The older ones (tricyclics and MAO inhibitors) offer a solid complement that still helps many patients. All in all, the range of options is constantly widening and demands special knowledge, a lot of patience and tireless trial and error from both doctor and patient in what is known as the step-by-step plan until the right mix is found. Psychotherapies have also specialized such as Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Cognitive Therapy, Psychodynamic or CBASP to improve and also prevent depression faster and more effectively. In severe cases, electroconvulsive therapy is also used with success in special centers.
Doctors and patients
Finding the right doctor is as difficult as choosing a partner. You have to be able to trust them and she/he has to be competent. As a patient, doctors should be thoroughly tested on what they know about the disease and how they explain it. Treatment is supposed to be a business where you make a profit as a patient. People get treatment, take medication, accept side effects and want to get health and quality of life in return. In order to properly assess costs and benefits, it is necessary to know how the disease would progress without therapy. Because often the symptoms do not pass completely and also the relapses do not remain completely. Here it helps if patients keep a record of their illness like stocks on the stock exchange and thus see whether the values rise or fall with the therapy. Doctors are then stock market advisors who tell you all the tricks and warn you against imprudent actions.
One thing is certain
There is never any reason for hopelessness! Even after many years of severe illness, full recovery is still possible and there is no one who cannot somehow be given at least relief. It is also important to remember that every year science can find a new successful treatment for many patients who have not yet improved sufficiently.
You can find more information about therapies here.