What is depression? The causes, diagnosis and treatment methods were described in an article by Dr. Helen Anderson, a psychotherapist with 16 years of experience.
Here we will talk in detail about moderate depression.
What is moderate depression
The division of the severity of depression into mild, moderate, or as it is also called, moderate and severe, is rather arbitrary. It is based on the indications of data from various questionnaires of quality of life indicators, thanks to which this division appeared. For example, such questionnaires as Beck and Zanga highlight these degrees of severity of this pathology. Some others may include more degrees that are considered borderline. Also, in some questionnaires, you can find the state of the norm.
Definition of depression
According to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Health Problems, the criteria for inclusion of a depressive episode are met if at least two of the following three symptoms persist for at least two weeks:
- Depressed mood, at a level that is noticeably unusual for those affected, for a significant part of the day, almost daily, and is largely independent of external factors
- Loss of pleasure from a hobby or other favorite activity
- The person gets tired quickly and is inactive
In addition, at least one of the following symptoms must be present:
- Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
- Self-reproach for no reason, guilt
- Regular thoughts of suicide.
- Decreased ability to think or concentrate, lack of determination
- Psychomotor pathological restlessness or lethargy
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Poor appetite, or, conversely, an increase in appetite with a corresponding change in weight
A total of at least six symptoms listed above, two of them from the first category. Professional or personal duties can no longer be performed or are performed only on a temporary basis.
Moderate depression: symptoms
Among similar symptoms, signs of moderate depression should be identified in time:
- changes in the level of social activity, which hinders the development and realization of the individual;
- the feeling of anxiety is transformed into numerous complaints;
- change in habitual behavior;
- obsessive-phobic disorders are revealed.
- Physiological signs
Among the physiological signs of moderate depression are:
- Significant disturbances in the work of the gastrointestinal tract:
- sudden loss of appetite or overeating;
- rapid loss (or increase) in weight (up to 10 kg in 7-14 days);
- changes in taste preferences;
- constipation (diarrhea).
- moderate depression symptoms
- Sleep disorders:
- insomnia at night is accompanied by falling asleep for a long time and awakening at about 3-4 o’clock in the morning;
- drowsiness throughout the day.
- Change in the locomotor system:
- movements are inhibited;
- “Grab” muscle cramps;
- eyelids twitch;
- back and joint pain;
- weakness in the limbs.
- Failure of the cardiovascular system:
- blood pressure rises;
- sharp or aching frequent pain in the heart;
- heartbeats periodically become more frequent.
It is important to understand that the conventionality of the gradation of severity degrees can be due to various factors. For example, moderate depression is sometimes regarded as one of the episodes of the clinical picture of major depressive disorder. With its prolonged course, the chronicity of the disease, which has a mild form, the moderate severity can only be a moment of intensification of symptoms. The treatment and support of such patients is a mandatory task for almost all doctors, who may not even have any connection with psychiatry or psychotherapy. Relatives should also pay special attention to this process, as inadequate patient support can significantly affect the results of treatment.
Treatment of moderate depression
Treatment of moderate depression does not always involve prescribing drugs with antidepressant effects. Moreover, it is not always possible to explain the reason for refusing them.
It should be noted that the reason for the appointment of these drugs is the presence of a typical triad of symptoms that occur in this pathology. These include:
- Constantly worsened mood, mood. This symptom lasts all the time while the depression continues.
- The patient loses the ability to rejoice.
- Efficiency decreases, fatigue increases.
All these symptoms are quite difficult to correct and treat, since it is difficult to predict their further development. Quite often, the development of panic attacks can become a consequence of the above clinical picture without treatment. At the same time, it is important to understand that all signs of depression clearly develop even with its moderate severity. The mild form proceeds more hidden, and it is much easier to get a person out of it, since he has not completely lost the ability to enjoy life. This is especially true for states when the chronization of the process has not developed.
Depressed mood very often provokes suicidal thoughts. It can also serve as a trigger factor for anxiety, fears, neuroses and even psychosis. The learning ability of such patients is always reduced due to the fact that people lose the ability to concentrate their attention well on something. The effectiveness of teaching methods of treatment is almost always very low. Therefore, other methods of psychotherapy must be applied here, which often require medication support.
It is also very important to understand that treatment through psychotherapy is a very long process, which in this case is exacerbated by the inadequacy of patients. Additional intervention with drugs from the group of antidepressants makes it possible to enhance the effectiveness of psychotherapy, as well as to direct the thoughts of patients in the direction necessary for recovery.
In addition to drug therapy and psychotherapy, there are other treatment options, including magnetic stimulation, exercise therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and light therapy. The latter is often used to treat winter depression. The patient sits in front of a six or eight fluorescent tube lighting fixture that emits fluorescent light (no UV light). In its intensity, the emitted light roughly corresponds to the light of a bright spring day and has a positive effect on certain brain structures. The daily recommended duration of light therapy is half an hour to four hours. The application of these and other measures should always precede medical advice.