Depression is usually easy to treat, but is often undetected
Those suffering from depression can usually be helped with therapy that is initiated early, but various factors often prevent them from opening up to their fellow human beings or seeing a doctor, according to researchers at the Freiburg University Hospital.
Once the correct diagnosis has been made, up to 80 percent of patients with depression can receive decisive help in a manageable period of time, reports the Freiburg University Clinic. It is therefore important to pay attention to the corresponding signs and, if necessary, to seek prompt medical help. "If people feel impotent and overwhelmed for a long time, there is often a depression behind it," according to the Freiburg experts.
See signs of depression
If listlessness and irritability become permanent and even everyday tasks are a burden, these are serious warning signs. In addition, a depression - in contrast to simple mood disorders - also drastically reduces the physical and mental functions and people suffering from depression mostly withdraw from life, reports the Freiburg University Clinic. In addition to the psychological problems, physical complaints are often also noted. "Your own supposed inadequacy in coping with everyday life in turn triggers fears and feelings of guilt, which further burden the stricken constitution," explain the experts at the university hospital.
Early therapy is particularly important
"The large individual suffering and the significantly increased suicide rate, especially in seriously ill patients, underline the importance of early therapy," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Katharina Domschke, Medical Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University Medical Center Freiburg. However, the diagnosis is often delayed because ignorance, repression or feelings of shame prevent those affected from opening up to the environment or seeing a doctor.
Stabilize the condition of those affected over the long term
The diagnosis is followed by a therapy tailored to the patient, which brings about a decisive reduction in symptoms in up to 80 percent of the patients in a manageable period of time, the experts report. The therapy first attacks the acute depression and then tries to stabilize the patient's condition to such an extent that an early relapse under everyday stress is avoided. In the end, the long-term relapse prevention will also be worked on.
Use of antidepressants
The University Medical Center Freiburg reports on the details of the therapy that the use of so-called antidepressants is very helpful and is therefore recommended in the guidelines both nationally and internationally. The medication improves the mood and the inner drive. At the same time, the physical complaints such as back or headaches and insomnia are reduced, the experts explain. The antidepressants act specifically on the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain.
Psychotherapeutic approaches to treatment
Furthermore, psychotherapeutic treatment is usually recommended, which includes the social environment of the patient and "tries to reduce mental stress and thus stress step by step in everyday situations", explains Prof. Elisabeth Schramm, Senior Psychologist at the Clinic for Psychiatry and psychotherapy in Freiburg. Critical and disease-promoting life situations have to be dealt with and a supportive network of relationships, a more positive self-image and dealing with difficult emotional situations have to be worked out together with the patient. The research results of the Freiburg experts also show that specially developed psychotherapies - especially in combination with antidepressants - are successful even with chronic forms of illness (if the depression persists for more than two years).