Hardly an hour goes by on television commercials where one experiences an advertisement for psychotropic medication in the form of anti-depressants, mood stabilizers,bipolar medications, or to contact an attorney if you’ve been damaged by a psychotropic medication. Do I take the medications my doctor has prescribed and “risk the chance of experiencing harmful side effects” or do I just ignore my diagnostic features altogether and continue down the path I’ve been walking? I find many hurting people who are confused about which direction is best to find the needed relief. If I’m depressed do I automatically require medication to combat my depressive features?
Over the years I’ve observed three basic types of depression: Environmental, Situational, and Clinical Depression. Environmental depression is a term I’ve applied to one’s situation which may reflect what occurs within the environment of the person. What are the surroundings? Situational depression is based on depressive features resulting from a specific situation. Is the individual in a bad relationship, experienced a break-up, illness of a family member, poor work environment or unpleasant job satisfaction. The list is not exclusive so other types of situations could easily be added which produce a sense of being overwhelmed, irritability, poor sleep or appetite, depressed mood, fatigue, poor energy, or other depressive features. Situational depression can be resolved by outpatient services by finding a qualified therapist to help identify the situation, develop a plan to address the situation, walk with the individual through the implementation process, then empower the individual to continue in the newfound freedom they’ve experienced. Research has shown Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidenced based treatment modality for depressive features.
Clinical depression is usually the type depression the television ads are designed to identify. Clinical depression is often so debilitating one cannot seem to function on their own. Social isolation, depressed mood, sleeping all the time, poor appetite, anger and irritability, chronic sadness are just a few of the features identifying clinical depression. Medications prescribed by one’s primary care physician or by a psychiatrist are effective in addressing the physical features of clinical depression. Outpatient counseling/therapy will work with the medication to address the situations, environment, or other factors which brought the individual into the place of clinical depression. The combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy provide a therapeutic combination to address and overcome clinical depression.
Medications for depressive features are effective but if the situations contributing to the depressive features are not addressed, the patient may not find the desire relief. Check with your doctor to see if your depressive features require medications. Often, in practice, I’m sensitive to the degree of depressive features my clients present and recommend they contact their primary care doctor or a psychiatrist for medication management while they continue therapy with me. I believe together we make a great winning team.