The management of depression requires a multidimensional approach that involves the help of the doctor, the patient and the interpersonal relations of the patient. Individuals with major depressive disorders sometimes feel very hopeless, but it is essential to remember that depression can be treated successfully.
A major depressive episode is characterized by the presence of a severely depressed mood that persists for more than two weeks. The episodes might be isolated or recurrent and are usually classified into mild, moderate and severe.
It is important to know that there is no laboratory test for this disorder, but there are tests that could be carried out to rule out conditions that produce symptoms similar to depression.
These conditions include
Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that results from the suppression of hormones released by the thyroid gland;
Type 2 diabetes: a condition where the body does not respond adequately to insulin causing an elevation in the blood sugar;
Vitamin D deficiency: which occurs as a result of inadequate exposure to sunlight;
Chronic fatigue syndrome: which is a condition that is characterized by extreme fatigue that has no apparent cause;
Medications and substance abuse
Based on the history of the patient’s symptoms, the doctor determines appropriate tests to be carried out
The treatment modality for depression includes psychotherapy, medication and lifestyle changes.
· Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy therapy or talking therapy is the use of psychological methods to help change a person’s behaviour or overcome problems. Psychotherapy works better when there is a personal interaction with the affected individual. A course of therapy may occur before, during or after taking medications. The doctor might prescribe cognitive behavioural therapy or interpersonal therapy.
a) Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the mood and thoughts of an individual by targeting actions and behaviours. This form of therapy helps develop balanced and constructive ways to respond to stressors.
b) Interpersonal therapy focuses on the relationship between the affected individual and other people. It is based on the idea that personal relationships are at the centre of psychological problems. It helps to identify the events that led to depression and equips the affected individual with the skills needed to direct difficult emotions positively.
· Medications: Doctors frequently prescribe antidepressants. These drugs work by inhibiting the breakdown of serotonin (the chemical in the brain that is responsible for mood) in the brain, thus increasing the serotonin levels in the brain. Like any drug, antidepressants have side effects and should be prescribed by a doctor.
· Lifestyle changes: This includes eating foods that are rich in omega-3-fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, walnuts, soybeans. Also, meals that are rich in vitamin B like beans, milk, cheese, eggs, liver, kidney, dark green vegetables are encouraged. Alcohols and refined foods are discouraged. Engaging in physically active exercises help elevate the mood as well.
People with major depressive disorders can be treated successfully. They must stick to the treatment plan as prescribed by their doctors. Encouragement from friends and family also plays a role in the recovery process.
· Georgia, S. (Ed.). (n.d.). Major depressive disorder. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_depressive_disorder
· Kerr, M. (2018, October 1). Major Depressive Disorder (Clinical Depression). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from Healthline.com: https://www.healthline.com/health/clinical-depression#outlook
Written by Idowu Mary
Idowu Mary is a fifth-year medical student at Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), She is a writer on multiple blogs and also teaches creative writing. She is the brain behind the writing outfit - Write with Mary. She is a mental health advocate, who seeks to educate the public on the truth about mental health and its challenges.