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A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Treating Depression

Depression is more than just low mood

  Most people think of depression as a bad mood. However, depression manifests in many ways, and low mood is only one of the symptoms. Its core symptoms include depressed mood, loss of interest, and fatigue. The patient finds that the things he was interested in before have become dull now, and he always feels boring, unwilling to participate in activities, and even unwilling to go out. Some people also experience a drop in energy, are constantly tired, and have difficulty holding on to get work done.
  In addition to emotional symptoms, depression also has physical symptoms, such as pain, palpitation, chest tightness, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal distension, loss of appetite, poor sleep, loose stool or secret nodules, etc. Some patients went to the hospital for examination many times for this reason, but no organic lesions were found. Therefore, when physical discomfort occurs and the cause cannot be found after repeated examinations, you should pay attention to your emotional state, and it is recommended to go to a psychological clinic for investigation.
Depression Beware of Memory Impairment

  Another symptom group of depression is the cognitive symptom group, including decreased attention and memory, and decreased learning ability. Depressed patients are easily distracted, have difficulty concentrating on work, and have poor memory. They often forget what they said or did recently. Some patients have a decline in comprehension. The manuscripts they used to read often are difficult to understand after repeated reading, which greatly affects their learning and work efficiency. Depressed patients have negative evaluations of themselves, and the decline in cognitive ability has aggravated their inferiority and self-blame, resulting in even lower mood. Some patients are very anxious about this, and often ask the doctor, am I becoming stupid, am I demented? Cognitive symptoms of depression are not really dementia. With prompt treatment, attention, memory, and the ability to learn can all be restored.

Depression may find teens

  Adolescence is an important period for individual physical and psychological development. The risk of depression increases rapidly after entering adolescence, the study found. The 2020 China Mental Health Blue Book shows that among adolescents, the total detection rate of depression is 24.6%, and the detection rate increases with age, and the junior high school stage is the hardest hit area.
  Depression is very harmful to adolescents’ mental and physical health, interpersonal communication and social adjustment. Patients may show depression and unhappiness, and some teenagers show repeated temper tantrums, irritability, emotional outbursts, and a persistent negative state. Inattention, often dazed or distracted, unable to complete homework. In terms of learning attitude, at first it shows that they are not interested in going to school and do not want to go to school, but with the supervision and encouragement of their parents, they can still go to school reluctantly, but their studies are not as diligent as before, and they may gradually develop into finding various reasons to avoid going to school, such as physical discomfort , have a bad relationship with classmates, and teachers treat themselves unfairly, etc. Even if parents and teachers repeatedly persuade them, it will not help. The patient’s learning ability and self-confidence are significantly reduced. Severely depressed adolescents may also experience self-injury and suicide.
  There is currently no antidepressant drug that is absolutely safe for teens. The choice of drugs should follow the doctor’s advice and balance the pros and cons. Psychotherapy should be given equal weight with drug treatment. Psychotherapy can help adolescents change their cognition, improve their personality, and enhance their ability to cope with difficulties and setbacks. Family is an important place for adolescents to grow up, and there is a significant relationship between poor family atmosphere and adolescent depression. Family conflict, parental criticism, and negative behaviors are associated with the severity of depression in adolescents. Therefore, parents should pay attention to establishing a good family environment, improving the family atmosphere, creating a warm and comfortable living environment for teenagers, giving more warmth, understanding and support to teenagers, reducing conflicts and control, and promoting healthy psychological development of teenagers.
Depression may be tied to the seasons

  Some patients suffer from seasonal depression, and they are more sensitive to seasonal and environmental changes than normal people. Persistent depressive symptoms often appear in autumn and winter, and naturally relieve in spring and summer. Winter-onset depression is more common, its onset is associated with reduced light exposure, and it resolves with seasonal increases in light duration. People with seasonal depression tend to be less severe, have less occupational impairment, and are less likely to receive medication. Studies have found that patients with seasonal depression often present atypical clinical manifestations, such as increased insomnia, increased weight, and increased appetite. Such patients can actively accept light in their lives and increase exercise appropriately, which can help relieve depressive symptoms and reduce seasonal depressive episodes.
Depression may recur

  The recurrence rate of depression is as high as 50% to 85%, and nearly half of the patients relapse within 2 years. The factors for depression recurrence are very complex. Family history, psychological stress factors, early trauma, coping styles, medication compliance, and social function recovery are all related to depression recurrence. The study found that the relapse rate of patients with positive family history is higher than that of patients with negative family history, and the relapse rate of patients with better medication compliance is lower. Patients who stop medication, reduce medication or take medication intermittently are more likely to relapse. , economic difficulties, and marital crisis patients have a higher recurrence rate.
  In order to reduce the recurrence rate of depression, the whole course of treatment is currently advocated. When caring for patients, efforts should be made to make patients feel family and social care, try to create a good environment, and reduce the recurrence rate.
Depression needs a full course of treatment

  Although depression has a high morbidity and disability rate and seriously damages people’s physical and mental health, it is not an incurable disease. Adhere to the standard full course of treatment, depression can be cured. The so-called full course of treatment includes acute phase, consolidation phase and maintenance phase. The period of the acute phase is 8 to 12 weeks. After that, the symptoms of most patients are obviously relieved, but the condition is not stable, and the risk of symptoms reappearing or aggravating is relatively high, so the consolidation phase treatment is required. The consolidation period lasts about 6 to 9 months. During this period, you should insist on taking the medicines that are effective in the acute phase, and you should not reduce the medicines or take them intermittently.
  Patients with recurrent depression should maintain long-term consolidation treatment. If the condition is stable, the drug can be gradually reduced until the treatment is stopped. In the first 2 months after stopping the treatment, pay attention to observe the drug withdrawal reaction or signs of recurrence, and seek medical advice in time to adjust the plan if you feel unwell.
TCM treatment of depression shows its skills

  Traditional Chinese medicine antidepressant treatment includes traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, auricular point, pot method, etc. Various therapies are based on syndrome differentiation and treatment, and according to different TCM syndrome types of patients, targeted individualized treatment plans are formulated to restore the balance of yin and yang, qi and blood in viscera, and relieve patients’ emotional and physical symptoms. Non-drug treatments such as acupuncture and moxibustion can be used for depressed patients who are unwilling to take medicine. The classic anti-depressant acupuncture prescription “Wu Zang Yu Jia Ge Shu” from the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine of Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine has been passed down from Wang Leting, a famous acupuncture expert and veteran Chinese medicine practitioner. Based on the theory of “five zang-organs hide the spirit”, Mr. Wang believes that all five zang-organs can cause depression, and created the five zang-organs plus Geshu prescription, which is a classic acupuncture prescription for the treatment of depression and has good clinical curative effect. For patients with mild to moderate depression, TCM treatment can significantly relieve symptoms. For patients with severe depression, Western medicine should be used as the main treatment, supplemented by traditional Chinese medicine treatment, which can enhance the curative effect and reduce adverse reactions.
Psychotherapy options for depression

  Psychotherapy is an important method for the treatment of depression, which can help patients better solve their psychological problems and promote their recovery. In the course of treatment, doctors formulate appropriate intervention measures according to the patient’s psychological characteristics. Help patients detect bad emotions and distorted cognition behind emotions, improve patients’ ability to deal with setbacks and stress, and social adaptability. Patients with poor family relationships can also choose family therapy to reduce family conflicts and conflicts, increase understanding and trust among family members, and lay a solid foundation for alleviating symptoms of depression patients. The effect of psychotherapy on mild and moderate depression is similar to that of drugs. For severe depression, psychotherapy cannot be used alone, but should be combined with drug therapy.