What Are The Treatments For Depression?

The goal of treating depression is to relieve symptoms and restore functioning to pre-disease levels (remission) and prevent relapse. The choice of treatment method depends on the patient’s preferences. It is also important to educate the patient and his family about the causes, symptoms, course, duration and consequences of depression.

Usually, psychotherapy is a sufficient method. However, in the case of very severe symptoms, comprehensive treatment is indicated, including a combination of pharmacotherapy (properly selected drug / antidepressants), psychotherapy and psychoeducation.

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What Psychotherapy To Choose?

Individual short-term psychotherapy (up to 10 sessions) does not work, for example, in the treatment of personality disorders or psychosomatic disorders, if we take into account the long-term effects. Difficulties resulting from deeper disorders require more meetings and in-depth work with the patient. In the treatment process, regardless of the number of meetings, mutual trust and active participation of the patient in the therapeutic process are very important.

Individual long-term psychotherapy (over 10 sessions) gives the opportunity to insight, that is, to learn about the mechanisms and patterns of the psyche (often unconscious) that may have caused the disorder, and currently are the cause of the patient’s functioning disorders. It is only in a trust-based relationship that it is possible to effectively work on healing changes in personality structure and experience patterns.

Another method of treating mental disorders is group psychotherapy (the size of the group should not exceed 10-12 people). Then also work on harmful behaviors, thoughts or relationships, but with the participation of other participants in the group and two therapists. Joint meetings are not only talking about experiences, but most of all learning new, healthy ways of reacting and receiving feedback from group participants. They give you the opportunity to confront and become aware of how what you do and say affects other people and your relationships with them.

Meetings are held in safe conditions, in the environment of the people they meet, in an atmosphere of trust and non-judgment. The relationships that arise between the participants of the group are also a very important element, e.g. in the treatment of personality disorders.

What Is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

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It is building a structured relationship between the patient and the psychotherapist. Observation of the formation of this relationship and what both parties contribute to it allows to specify the fixed patterns of experiencing. In psychodynamic psychotherapy, it is essential to gradually reach the unconscious content (feelings, memories and images), which are often the source of symptoms.

Transference-focused therapy (TFP) is derived from modern psychodynamic psychotherapy. Its creator and promoter is Otto Kernberg. In TFP, the relationship created between the patient and the therapist makes it possible to recreate the relationships present in everyday life (partnerships, professional, with friends).

The therapist helps the patient to understand and integrate all aspects of the relationship, including the embarrassing and difficult ones – feelings, thoughts, motivation, so that later he can perceive himself and the environment in a coherent and uniform manner. Transference-focused therapy is particularly targeted at treating patients with depressive disorders as a consequence of borderline and narcissistic personality disorders, as well as psychosomatic disorders.

When Should I See A Psychiatrist?

Whenever the mental health condition is of particular concern to the person or those around him.

If symptoms of mild or moderate depression persist for 2–4 weeks, regardless of their causes, a psychiatric consultation is indicated. If their intensity is significant, a psychiatric consultation should take place as soon as possible. If the depressive symptoms last only 2-3 days, but their occurrence repeats frequently or cyclically (eg every month), a visit to a psychiatrist is also recommended.

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Even in the case of single suicidal thoughts over which the patient has a sense of control, with no suicidal tendencies – urgent psychiatric consultation and initiation of appropriate treatment is absolutely necessary – regardless of the duration of depression symptoms. A person with suicidal thoughts does not always have to be psychiatrically hospitalized (fear of hospitalization is a common reason for avoiding a visit to a psychiatrist).

A psychiatrist, examining the patient, assesses, inter alia, his mental state, the risk of suicide, the intensification of suicidal thoughts and the ability to cope with them, possibilities of supporting the surrounding people. He also assesses the course and effectiveness of the current treatment and decides on its further treatment on an outpatient basis, or refers to psychiatric hospitalization.