Living and coping with depression.

How To Manage Anxiety And Depression During COVID-19 Lockdown

Since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, many of us, even those who have not been infected by the virus, will choose to quarantine in our homes for the upcoming weeks. Capsized travel plans, indefinite isolation, panic over scarce re-sources and information overload could be a recipe for unchecked anxiety and feelings of isolation. Here are a few pointers that could help you survive spiraling negative thoughts about this uncertain time.

1.) Reframe “I am stuck inside” to “I can finally focus on my home and myself”

As dismal as the world may feel right now, think of the mandated work-from-home policy as an opportunity to refocus your attention from the external to the internal. Doing one productive thing per day can lead to a more positive attitude. Set your sights on long-avoided tasks, reorganize, or create something you’ve always wanted to. Approaching this time with a mindset of feeling trapped or stuck will only stress you out more. This is your chance to slow down and focus on yourself.

2.) Stay close to your normal routine

Try and maintain some semblance of structure from the pre-quarantine days. For those individuals with children, sticking to a routine might be easier; however as you work from home, it could be tempting to fall into a more lethargic lifestyle, which could lead to negative thinking. Wake up and go to bed around the same time, eat meals, shower, adapt your exercise regimen, and get out of your PJ’s. Do laundry on Sundays as usual. Not only will sticking to your normal routine keep you active and less likely to spiral, it will be easier to readjust to the outside world when it’s time to get back to work.

3.) Avoid obsessing over endless Coronavirus coverage

Freeing up your day from work or social obligations gives you plenty of time to obsess, and if you have a tendency to consult Google for every itch and sneeze, you may be over-researching the pandemic as well. Choosing only certain credible websites (who.int or cdc.gov is a good start) for a limited amount of time each day (perhaps two chunks of 30 minutes each) will be in your best interest during this time.

4.) A chaotic home can lead to a chaotic mind

With all the uncertainly happening outside your home, keep the inside organized, predictable and clean. Setting up mental zones for daily activities can be helpful to organize your day. For example, try not to eat in bed or work on the sofa- just as before, eat at the kitchen table and work at your desk. Loosening these boundaries just muddles your routine and can make the day feel very long. Additionally, a cluttered home can cause you to become uneasy and claustrophobic of your environment- so keep it tidy.

5.) Start a new quarantine ritual

With this newfound time, why not do something special during these quarantined days? For ex-ample, perhaps you can start a daily journal to jot down thoughts and feelings to reflect on later. Or take a walk every day at 4 pm, connect with your sister over FaceTime every morning, or start a watercolor painting which you can add to everyday. Having something special during this time will help you look forward to each new day.

6.) Use telehealth as an option to talk to a professional if your anxiety becomes unmanageable

Many licensed psychologists are offering telehealth options over HIPAA-compliant video chat platforms. Remember to reach out for help if your anxiety is reaching proportions that is unmanageable without professional help.

Letting go of illusions of control and finding peace in the fact that you are doing your part to “flatten the curve” will certainly build mental strength to combat the stressful situation the whole globe is experiencing.

Recognizing The Hidden Signs Of Depression

In this article, we discuss some of the possible hidden signs of depression. However, it is important to note that some of these signs can also indicate other medical issues.

We also cover what healthcare professionals believe to be common causes of depression, what a person should do if they think they or someone else has depression, and some sources of help for people with depression.

Appetite and weight changes

Eating too much or too little can suggest the presence of depression. Some people turn to food for comfort, while others lose their appetite or eat less due to low mood.

These changes in food intake can cause a person to start gaining or losing weight.

Dramatic weight changes can also exacerbate depression, as they can affect a person’s self-esteem.

There may also be physiological factors at play. For example, there is a link between carrying excess fat and increased inflammation in the body. This, in turn, may play a role in the development or increased severity of depressive symptoms.

Changes in sleep habits

There is a strong link between mood and sleep. A lack of sleep can contribute to depression, and depression can make it more difficult to sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, people with insomnia are 10 times more likely to have depression than those without the condition.

Sleeping too much can also be a sign that a person may have depression.

Alcohol or drug use

Some people with mood disorders may use alcohol or drugs to cope with their feelings of sadness, loneliness, or hopelessness.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) report that in the United States, around 1 in 5 people with anxiety or a mood disorder such as depression also have an alcohol or substance use disorder.

Conversely, the same number of those with an alcohol or substance use disorder also have a mood disorder.

Fatigue

Feeling excessively tired is a very common symptom of depression. Some research suggests that over 90% of people with depression experience fatigue.

Although everyone feels tired from time to time, people who have severe or persistent tiredness — especially if it accompanies other symptoms — may have hidden depression.

Forced happiness

Sometimes, people refer to hidden depression as “smiling depression.” This is because people who hide their symptoms may put on a happy face when in the company of others.

However, it can be difficult to keep up this forced happiness, so the mask may slip and a person may show signs of sadness, hopelessness, or loneliness.

Less optimistic than others

There is a theory that people with depression may display a trait called “depressive realism,” which means that they may be “more accurate” in their view of events and the control they have over those events than people without depression.

People with depression may also be more pessimistic. Studies suggest that those with major depressive disorder often have a more negative view of the future.

Being more realistic or pessimistic than others may be one sign of depression, especially if the person has other possible symptoms of depression.

Loss of concentration

When a person trails off during conversations or loses their train of thought, it can indicate issues with memory and concentration, which is a common symptom of depression.

2014 study suggests that these difficulties with concentration and focus can worsen the social impact of depression by making work life and personal relationships more challenging.

Disinterest in hobbies

The National Institute of Mental Health list a “loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities” as one of the telltale symptoms of depression.

Disinterest in activities that a person used to enjoy can be one of the first signs that other people notice when their loved one has depression.

Physical pains and health disorders

Depression is a mental health condition, but it can also have physical consequences. In addition to weight changes and fatigue, other physical symptoms of hidden depression to look out for include:

  • backache
  • chronic pain conditions
  • digestive problems
  • headache

Research also indicates that those with major depression are more likely than those without the condition to experience:

Being angry or irritable

Many people do not associate anger and irritability with depression, but these mood changes are not unusual among those with the condition.

Instead of appearing sad, some people with hidden depression may display irritability and overt or suppressed anger.

Low sex drive

According to Dr. Jennifer Payne, director of the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, MD, some health professionals consider changes in sex drive a key indicator for diagnosing episodes of major depression.

There are several reasons that a person’s libido might decrease when they have depression, including:

  • loss of interest in pleasurable activities such as sex
  • fatigue and low energy levels
  • low self-esteem

Common causes of depression

Scientists do not yet know the exact cause of depression. However, many experts think that several factors play a role in its onset, including:

  • Genetics: Depression can run in families. Having a close relative with the condition can raise a person’s risk for developing it themselves.
  • Biological and chemical differences: Physical changes or chemical imbalances in the brain may contribute to the development of depression.
  • Hormones: Hormonal changes or imbalances in the body may cause or trigger depression. For example, many women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
  • Trauma or stress: Periods of high stress, traumatic events, or major life changes can trigger an episode of depression in some people.
  • Personality traits: Having low self-esteem or being pessimistic, for example, may increase the risk of depression.
  • Other illnesses: Having another mental or physical health condition or taking certain medications can increase the risk of depression.

What to do if you think you have hidden depression

People who believe that they may have hidden depression should speak to their doctor or a mental health professional. These professionals can help make a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment.

Other steps to treat depression might include:

  • reducing stress, such as through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga
  • improving self-esteem through positive self-affirmations
  • socializing with others (though this can be challenging with depression)
  • engaging in activities that the person used to enjoy or attempting to identify new activities that they may be interested in
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a balanced diet
  • asking family or friends for support
  • joining a support group

What to do if a loved one has hidden depression

If a loved one appears to have signs of hidden depression, try to talk to them about their symptoms and offer nonjudgmental support and advice.

This can include:

  • encouraging them to seek treatment
  • offering to accompany them to appointments
  • planning enjoyable activities together
  • exercising together
  • encouraging them to socialize with others

People looking after someone with depression also need to practice good self-care in order to preserve their own mental well-being.

Getting help for depression

People with symptoms of depression should consider seeking help from a loved one or a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or psychotherapist.

Other sources of help for people with mental health conditions and mood disorders include the ADAA’s website, the Living With Depression Today Foundation and Mental Health America’s list of support groups.

Porn Addiction Can Lead To Depression

Experts estimate that there are now about five million people struggling with porn addiction, with depression often appearing as a form of comorbidity.

Absolute numbers are not known because of the shame-covered subject matter, therefore a high number of unreported cases is suspected. Other studies say that with every 10,000 Internet users we have 80 Internet sex addicts worldwide and most of them are male.

Digitalization allows limitless consumption

The advancing digitization can be seen as a catalyst for the spread of addiction. In the old days, pornography offered only a limited range of really new things, but the acquisition involved some barriers, such as going to the video store or going to the store buying a magazine over the counter.

For psychologists, porn addiction is a relatively new phenomenon. It was only in 1996 that the first case of experienced loss of control through pornography became known.

With the spread of the Internet, the porn landscape changed. The danger of addiction compared to other drugs is that the “substance” is usually available for free, at any time and in virtually unlimited quantities.

The intensity with which the porn sites fight for users has also changed. The porn platforms publish a large number of videos every day. Many of them are available free of charge, allowing for continuous consumption. For this purpose, the user can act anonymously on the Internet, which reduces the inhibition threshold. All these factors favor the addictive behavior.

Porn addiction – what effect does it have?

During orgasm, dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, and endorphins are released in the brain. Above all, the dopamine ensures that addicts always get the desire to pursue their addiction. Over time, less dopamine is produced in the reward center and the number of dopamine receptors decreases. Among other things, this can lead to impaired functioning, impotence and, in some cases, lead to depression as well.

In many cases, porn addiction followed by depression can typically be solved through simple treatment. In general, this is achieved through abstinence, which can be designed in different stages: The abstinence of pornography is a prerequisite for the success of the therapy, whether you must also abstinent from masturbation or abstinent from sexual intercourse, depends on the severity of dependence.

But it’s important to consider that porn addiction is often a symptom, rather than a cause. In these cases, it’s not possible to ‘cure’ the addiction without addressing the depression. Talk therapy and medication are first-line treatments for depression, and as the treatment progresses, other symptoms begin to fade.

Depression and Sexuality: A Vicious Cycle

Depression and sexuality are negatively intertwined, as one pressures the other. Depressive symptoms such as impulses to drive, pleasure and disinterest have a negative effect on sexual activity. Sexual dysfunction, on the other hand, can impair self-esteem, increase depressive symptoms, and strain the relationship.

Depression and sexual disorders are thus mutually strong and connected with each other. At the same time, these aspects are often taboo in the partnership and are rarely taken up by the doctor. But it is worthwhile even though in most cases to address this topic is very difficult for many people indeed.

How Does Depression Affect Sexuality?

The relationships and interactions between depression and sexual disorders are diverse. Sexual disorders are a very common symptom of depression.

In some cases, they are even the first sign even before the disease manifests itself in other areas of life. In addition, sexual problems can first lead to or increase depression. And also antidepressants can cause sexual dysfunction. In the worst case, this can lead to a vicious circle.

Which Sexual Problems Occur?

During depression, sexuality is impaired in the majority of cases. The major depressive symptom of interest is joyless, of course, also it affects the realm of sexuality, and so the diminished sexual desire is among the most common depressive symptoms of all.

Depressed people usually have a very negative self-image, consider themselves unattractive or unlovable.

This can lead to self-hatred or disgust in front of one’s own body. Often also fears of failure occur. In men also often impotence. Ejaculation or orgasm disorders or pain during sex are also common.

In exceptional cases, an abnormally increased sexual desire can occur, which can also cause suffering and guilt because it does not fit the other depressive experience.

What Are The Consequences Of Sexual Dysfunction For The Depressed Partner?

With the depressive partner, shame, feelings of guilt, fear of failure and a negative self-image can be triggered or intensified.

This can lead to complete avoidance of sexuality, often affecting tenderness and closeness in general. Partly there are fears, the other one could leave one or go astray.

Nevertheless, if the depressive patient still sleeps with his partner – in order not to lose them or because they’re being pressured – the associated negative experiences can further increase the sexual and depressive symptoms.

And What About The Healthy Partner?

It is important that they do not personally refer to the diminished sexual desire of the other person. It just does not mean that the other one no longer loves or no longer finds them attractive.

Otherwise, there is a risk that they develop feelings of guilt or become annoyed because they feel misunderstood, rejected or helpless. An understanding partner respects diminished or altered sexuality during depression and does not press the other partner. It can help to realize that this is a serious illness.

How Can A Couple With A Depressed Partner Deal With Sexual Disorders?

The partnership is often severely burdened by the sexual disorder. Even if it’s hard, those affected should talk as open as possible. A careful exchange on the subject is usually less damaging than silence. False assumptions, misunderstandings, and unfounded fears can thus be eliminated from the world.

Often, the lack of sexual gratification is not the greatest perceived lack, but the lost feeling of closeness and security, acceptance and trust. These needs can be temporarily satisfied even without sex. In addition, it can be a helpful alternative to adapt sexually during the depressive phase to the changing needs and opportunities rather than stopping them altogether.

Conclusion

Sexual disorders that have first occurred during depression generally improve with a decline in affective disorder. If drugs are responsible for sexual dysfunction, a changeover can help. This should always be done under medical supervision.

Sexual disorders are often the cause of stopping antidepressant pharmacotherapy, which can lead to the onset or worsening of depression. If sexual problems persist after depression, and organic or medicinal causes can be excluded, specific therapy for sexual dysfunction may be indicated. If a partnership conflict plays a role, couple counseling or therapy can help.

Types of Therapy for Depression

First comes the diagnosis, then comes therapy for depression. For many patients, getting on the path to treatment is the first step on the sometimes-tedious way out of the mood valley.

They learn that they are not helpless in their situation and that depression can be effectively treated. There are various therapeutic approaches available, which are recommended depending on the severity of the disease and the current disease phase.

There are basically four primary treatment strategies: watchful waiting, drug treatment, psychotherapeutic treatment and combination therapy.

Patients with very severe depression and poor general condition are often admitted to a specialist hospital for inpatient treatment, especially if there is an increased risk of suicide.

Adherence to therapy: a prerequisite for successful therapy

The success of any therapy is very much dependent on how much the patient is ready and able to adhere to the treatment plan discussed with the doctor. In medicine one speaks of adherence or compliance.

The problem of non-compliance often occurs in diseases whose extent and consequences are underestimated by the patient.

In particular, when the disease, as in the case of depression, in phases with more and sometimes less pronounced impairments, patients tend to suspend the therapy in good phases. However, this increases the risk of more serious relapses.

The best way to improve adherence is to educate. The doctor must take the time to explain what depression is, what status the therapy has and what the consequences of untreated depression can be.

The patient must also be informed about possible side effects of the antidepressant medication. In addition, he should know that the antidepressant effect can often begin only after 2 or 3 weeks.

It is important to adapt the treatment plan to the needs and living conditions of the patient.

For severely depressed people who can only cope with their everyday lives to a very limited extent, a close-knit therapeutic care is required. In many cases, it makes sense that, with the patient’s consent, relatives are informed and involved so that they can assist the patient.

The regular contact with the therapist and the exchange of information about the current state of the disease as well as the course of therapy promote adherence to therapy.

Medical therapy

Medicines for the treatment of depression are referred to as antidepressants. They intervene in the brain metabolism. They are intended to regulate the disturbed communication between the nerve cells by influencing the quantity and activity of the messenger substances.

The various biochemical agents used are targeted to the messengers serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and melatonin.

According to their mechanism of action, one divides antidepressants into different classes.

Depending on the condition of the disease and the prevailing symptoms, the doctor decides which drug is best from which activity class. The side effect profile also plays a role here.

For moderate and severe depression, drug therapy is indispensable. The choice of the appropriate antidepressant depends on the individual needs and symptoms of the patient.

Modern antidepressants

MASSA (melatonin agonist and specific serotonin antagonist)

This drug, which is approved for episodes of depression in adults, is referred to as a melatonin antidepressant.

It acts on the mode of action of the messenger melatonin, which is responsible for the adjustment of biological rhythms. This “melatonin agonist and specific serotonin antagonist” directly influences the internal clock of the human via melatonergic binding sites.

At the same time it inhibits certain binding sites of serotonin to the nerve cells, whereby a greater proportion of the messengers noradrenaline and dopamine is released in certain brain regions.

The interaction of these receptors on the one hand causes a normalization of the disturbed biorhythm of depressive patients, it adapts the circadian rhythm to the natural day-night rhythm, on the other hand, an improvement in depressive symptoms such as impaired mood, affect and daily activity and anxiety symptoms.

The melatonergic antidepressant has a favorable side effect profile. It is neutral in terms of body weight, heart rate and blood pressure and maintains sexual function. Temporarily, nausea and dizziness may occur after ingestion. Sleep disorders, elevation of liver function, headache and sweating are also reported.

SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)

These reuptake inhibitors affect the composition of messengers between neurons in the synaptic cleft. SSRIs block specific serotonin receptors on the secretory nerve cell, thereby preventing the return of serotonin to the nerve cell. As a result, the concentration of serotonin in the synaptic cleft increases. This has a mood-enhancing, general activating and anxiolytic effect. However, there are also known undesirable side effects. These include: nausea and diarrhea, sexual dysfunction, dry mouth, headache and sleep disorders.

NARI (Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors)

NARI regulate the balance of messenger substances by blocking the receptors for the reuptake of the messenger noradrenaline, thus increasing its concentration in the synaptic cleft. The therapeutic effect is reflected above all in an improved drive and an increase in motivation. As side effects constipation, dry mouth, increased sweating, bladder discomfort, headache and sleep disorders are known.

SNRI (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors)

Drugs of this class of drugs inhibit both the reuptake of the messenger serotonin and the reuptake of the messenger noradrenaline. This has a mood-enhancing and in higher dosages drive-enhancing effect. Possible side effects are, similar to SSRI, nausea, sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, dry mouth and headache. It can also cause dizziness, loss of appetite and high blood pressure.

NASSA (noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressants)

These modern antidepressants stimulate the release of the messenger substances norepinephrine and serotonin and thus increase their concentration in the synaptic cleft. The list of possible side effects includes fatigue, dizziness, headache, weight gain and circulatory problems due to low blood pressure.

Modern antidepressants are more specifically involved in the activity of special messengers. This makes them much better tolerated.

Antidepressants of the first generation

Tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants

These antidepressants inhibit the reuptake of the messengers serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine in the nerve cells, but are less selective than newer antidepressants. This can lead to much stronger side effects. These are in particular: tiredness, dry mouth, constipation, disorders in bladder emptying, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, influence on blood pressure and heartbeat, sleep disorders, sexual disorders, weight gain, above-average sweating.

Note: Certain ingredients in grapefruit juice may inhibit the breakdown of drugs. This leads to an increased concentration of active ingredient and increases the risk of side effects.

MAO inhibitors (mono-amino-oxidase inhibitors)

Substances in this class of drugs also increase the concentration of the messengers serotonin and norepinephrine. However, they do not block the receptors of the nerve cells, but the protein called mono-amino-oxidase, which ensures the breakdown of messengers in the synaptic cleft in the cell.

Typical side effects include dizziness, sleep disorders and headaches. Since the mono-amino-oxidase is also responsible for the degradation of other substances in the body, for tyramine, the MAO inhibitors increase the tyramine concentration, which can trigger violent blood pressure crises. To avoid this, a diet and the waiver of tyramine-containing foods (including cheese, smoked fish, wine, beer) is required. In addition, the doctor must rule out possible interactions with other drugs.

Antidepressants have no addictive potential and do not become dependent even after prolonged ingestion. However, if antidepressants are discontinued very suddenly, weaning symptoms may occur. Typical withdrawal symptoms are: sleep disorders, gastrointestinal problems, agitation, irritability, headaches and muscle aches.

Herbal antidepressants

In mild to moderate depression, the use of some herbal medicines, especially St. John’s wort, has proven itself. These medications are pharmacy-only and not to be confused with St. John’s wort supplements, which are freely available on the market.

When taking the exact dosage must be complied with, because even natural drugs can cause side effects. In the case of St. John’s wort this can be gastrointestinal discomfort, dry mouth, tiredness or restlessness. In addition, intensive sun exposure should be avoided, as St. John’s wort increases the photosensitivity of the skin and thus increases the risk of photodamage and sunburn.

Monitoring of drug therapy

Regardless of which drug the doctor prescribes, regular contact with the doctor is important to monitor the effects and possible side effects of the preparations. The doctor will ask how the patient copes with the medication, if complaints related to the medication have occurred, and if an effect is already noticeable.

He will also perform the medical tests recommended for therapy control. On this basis, the treatment strategy can be continued, if necessary the dosage adjusted, a change or a supplement of the drug administration are considered. In the first few weeks of therapy, these checks will be close-knit. If there are no problems and the patient is well prepared for the medication, the intervals between visits to the doctor may gradually increase.

Before and during therapy various physical, technical and laboratory examinations are required. Only then can the doctor select the most appropriate drug for the patient and uncover undesirable effects at an early stage.

Psychotherapy

Various psychotherapeutic procedures are available for the treatment of depressive disorders. Decisive for the choice of the method are the individual clinical picture, the depression-inducing and -reinforcing factors as well as typical behavior patterns of the patient.

The aim of the therapy is to recognize, break up and positively change the negative attitudes, ways of thinking and behavior. Depending on the severity of depression, psychotherapy should be used as a combination treatment with drug therapy.

Cognitive therapy

In cognitive therapy, it is assumed that people with depression are fixated on negative thought patterns. With the help of the therapist, patients first have to analyze their own perception, which leads to self-devaluation and depression.

The next step is to learn to distance oneself from these negative feelings or to reevaluate them, so that the patient does not automatically fall into a mood depression in future crisis situations. Cognitive therapy is often used in combination with behavioral therapy.

The psychotherapy can be done by a medical psychotherapist or a psychologist. Since the success of the therapy is based on good cooperation, it is important that a relationship of trust can be built.

Behavior therapy

The behavioral therapy is based firstly on the knowledge that every behavior can be learned, and secondly on the knowledge of the positive reinforcement in learning processes.

It is an aid to building active positive behaviors, the implementation of which is gradually being practiced. In combination with cognitive therapy, negative mental and behavioral patterns can be changed.

Interpersonal Therapy

This therapy focuses on interpersonal and psychosocial experiences that may have a triggering or reinforcing effect on depression. These must be analyzed and managed through discussions or role-plays.

Depth psychology

With the help of depth psychology, the patient should deal with unconscious fears, insecurities or anxieties, the causes of which lie mostly in experiences and conflicts in the past. The goal here is to expose these causes and to work through discussions to develop solutions to problems and new patterns of behavior.

In some depressive disorders, group therapies have been proven. They convey the awareness of not being alone with the disease.

Complementary therapies

In severe depression, in addition to drug therapy and psychotherapy, other supportive therapies are often used. They should also affect a regulation of the neurotransmitters with different methods.

Sleep deprivation or guard therapy

Especially patients, in which the depression is subject to greater daily fluctuations, experience an improvement of the symptoms after a specific sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is carried out on an inpatient basis either over a whole night and the following day or only over the second half of the night and the following day.

Light therapy

The patient sits here for up to one hour a day in front of a strong light source. The light enters through the eyes and is transmitted from the optic nerves to the inner clock. Through the light impulse, the internal clock adjusts the inner biorhythms to the light-dark rhythm of the day. The flattened in depression and disordered rhythms are synchronized and the sleep-wake rhythm is stabilized. The incident light also increases the availability of serotonin. The therapy has proven itself particularly with seasonal depressions such as the winter depression.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Treatment is only used in patients with major depressive disorder where other therapies have no effect. On one side of the head applied electrodes, the patient who is under a short anesthetic, receives an electrical impulse. This triggers artificially a seizure, which causes various neurochemical changes and regulates the imbalance of messengers.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

In this procedure, a magnetic field is applied to the forehead of the patient. It builds up an electric field, which stimulates the nerve cells similar to the ECT.

Following the acute therapy, mistakes are often made. Patients neglect to take the medication or take off the antidepressants on their own.

Therapy course and control

Depression sufferers have every reason to hope. Your chances of recovery are good. In most patients, thanks to medication and psychotherapy, symptoms improve within a few months.

Of concern, however, is the high relapse rate, especially in the case of severely depressed patients. The risk of later developing depressive episodes is between 50 and 85 percent. The patient himself can do a lot to prevent relapses.

On the one hand, it is essential that he adheres to the prescribed therapy plans in all phases of treatment, on the other hand he should also take into account his illness in his everyday life, respond to mood lows early and, if necessary, consult a doctor. For self-monitoring and also as an aid to the doctor and therapist, it makes sense that the patient keeps a therapy diary in which he notes when and for what occasion mood changes occur.

Treatment phases

Acute therapy

treatment of acute depression until a significant improvement in symptoms occurs. This takes about 4-8 weeks. Components of the therapy are: patient education, drug therapy, psychotherapy.

Maintenance therapy

After the symptoms have resolved, the antidepressants successfully used in acute therapy are continued for a minimum period of 6 months in order to stabilize the state of health. Therapy continues to be monitored regularly by the doctor to detect early warning signs of a possible relapse.

Prevention of recurrence (relapse prevention)

The aim of prevention is to prevent long-term new relapses. During this time, which is between 3 and 5 years, depending on the severity of the disease, the medical treatment continues. At the same time, a regular everyday rhythm should be achieved and maintained. If the state of health remains stable during this period, the doctor will gradually reduce the dose of antidepressants.

Video Games and Depression

There may be a link between video games and depression. Gamers, people who spend a lot of time playing computer games, are more likely to experience depression and anxiety. This has been determined by Australian scientists in a study.

Computer gamers who spend more than 33 hours a week in virtual worlds are 15 percent more likely to report stress and anxiety and 25 percent more likely to have depression than those who play “only” about 21 hours a week.

This was shown by interim results of a worldwide study by Daniel Loton at Victory University in Melbourne, Australia. Their goal is to compare the academic achievements, friendships and relationships as well as the physical and mental health of computer gamers.

“Both groups complained more about stress, anxiety and depression than in previous studies,” Loton reported. “What’s most alarming, though, is that people are moving toward an area that’s clinically noticeable.”

Multiplayer also showed other coping strategies than casual players. They were more prone to avoidance behavior and less able to deal with problems than others, Loton noted. “That could be because many gamers also used their games to relax or flee from difficulties.”

While some problems are obviously caused by excessive computer games, this employment does not seem to affect the success and satisfaction of work and study.

Many players were even slightly more successful in the study, they had fallen through less frequently and had achieved higher scores than they had expected, reported Loton.

New study shows: Video games could help with depression

Researchers at the University of California, are breaking new ground in the treatment of depression. Games could play a therapeutic role in the future.

Depression is one of the widespread common diseases. It is estimated that approximately four million people seek psychiatric help each year in Germany only – 400,000 of them go to hospital.

There are different therapeutic methods to help those affected – according to a recent study from the University of California, Davis could in the future belong to video games.

The novel therapy method was tested on 160 students. Among other things, it is about confronting patients playfully with their personal memories.

According to the researchers, Subuhi Khan and Jorge Pena, it does not matter if depression is caused by internal causes, such as genetic factors, or external factors, such as traumatic experiences or relationship problems.

The researchers compare the novel therapeutic approach with a training. The rehearsals played six three-minute games and got a sense of control over their illness by repeating these playful training sessions.

According to Khan and Pena, such games could help to initiate cognitive changes. However, the researchers still have doubts, because the measured effects could only have been short-term.

Whether games can actually – and especially in the long term – be a proven remedy for depression is still unknown. Further studies on video games and depression are needed.

In the meantime whatever you decide to believe here, hiking through the woods is still one of the best things to do to clear your mind from time to time.