Depression – Let’s talk about it

People with depression withdraw and are usually distressed. Physical symptoms, such as loss of appetite or pain, may also occur. There are different types of depression. You can learn more about them here in our blog.

What is depression?

Depression is a mental illness that can manifest itself in numerous complaints. A persistent depressed mood, inhibition of drive and thinking, loss of interest, and various physical symptoms ranging from insomnia to appetite disorders to painful conditions are possible signs of depression. The majority of sufferers harbour suicidal thoughts sooner or later, and 10 to 15% of all patients with recurrent severe depressive phases die by suicide.

How do I know if I have depression?

The correct diagnosis is the crucial prerequisite for adequate therapy. A complete psychiatric diagnosis consists of the examination interview, the physical examination and various additional measures (e.g. laboratory, apparatus procedures, tests). The direct conversation between doctor and patient is the core of a psychiatric exam and is essential for making a diagnosis.

All the information together, which is often supplemented by details from relatives (external anamnesis), ultimately provides the psychiatrist with more information about existing illnesses. This is because different mental illnesses can occur in the same person at the same time. This is referred to as comorbidity. If organic diseases are also present in addition to one or more mental illnesses, this refers to as multimorbidity.

Today, psychiatric diagnoses are made based on international agreements – initially without saying anything about the causes of the illnesses. The diagnostic systems classify mental diseases according to their symptoms, i.e. they only describe their appearance and make no statement about the cause of an illness. The content of the diagnostic systems is a set of symptoms decided by experts to make diagnoses reproducible and facilitate healing.

Treatment

Many of those affected do not seek medical attention, whether out of ignorance, repression, or a sense of shame. Frequently, however, depression is not recognized by the general practitioner because of its diverse appearance. In addition to medical expertise, it takes a great deal of psychiatric experience to diagnose depression quickly and reliably.
Once the correct diagnosis is made, the situation is anything but hopeless.

The treatment options for mental disorders or illnesses are extraordinarily diverse, with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy forming the two main pillars of treatment. Which of these two components the focus of treatment is placed on depends on the nature and severity of the disorder or illness.

In recent years, psychoeducation has also become an important therapeutic component for the drug and psychotherapeutic treatment of individual disorders, providing targeted education and information about the disorder/illness.

In addition, there are a variety of complementary therapeutic procedures, such as psychotherapy, relaxation techniques and occupational therapy.

How the individual therapy modules are put together depends on various aspects, such as the type and severity of a disease or disorder, the disease-related impairments, but also the personal preferences that a patient has and what skills a patient needs to be able to cope with the disease.

Which therapies and supportive treatment methods are appropriate in individual cases can be decided together with the specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy.

In the last decades, a lot has been done regarding therapy, and more than 80% of the patients can be helped permanently and successfully. Therefore, it is important that the general population is made aware of and educated about this topic: Depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender and social status.