Depressive disorders are among the most disabling psychopathologies and have the greatest potential to lead, in the most severe cases, to suicide or attempted suicide.
For this reason, for decades research has been carried out on what they are. the techniques and methods of psychotherapeutic intervention to help people who have developed depressive disorders. Let’s see what they consist of.
What are the main characteristics of depressive disorders?
A key aspect to intervening psychologically in patients who suffer from a depressive disorder is to understand the logic through which these psychopathologies operate and the frequent experiences that this type of patient usually goes through.
Although the experiences of people with a depressive disorder may vary from individual to individual, these are the main characteristics that can be found in the alterations of this class.
1. General sadness
The feeling of intense and generalized sadness in all areas of a person’s life is one of the main characteristics shared by all depressive disorders and one of the symptoms that have the greatest impact on a person’s daily life.
This feeling of sadness usually has levels high enough to completely alter the person’s daily lifeits relationship with the environment and the attention paid to all types of responsibilities.
Sadness is often accompanied by wanting to cry, feeling empty or lonely, feeling worthless or guilty, and very catastrophic thoughts about the future. Now, especially in the most serious cases, sadness can be replaced by what we will see below.
2. Lack of interest and emotional flattening
The gradual decrease in the interest of depressed people towards what life can offer them results in an attitude of indifference and problems feeling pleasure or satisfaction before anything; in the same way, it is also common that this limitation of the range of emotions makes the person little sad, but it expresses a feeling in limbo where nothing matters and in any case boredom and despair predominate. These are not as noticeable symptoms as sadness or sudden mood swings, so many such cases go unnoticed.
The person suffering from depression will gradually begin to show less desire to do everything they did before the disorder: play sports or go out with friends, go to the movies or practice their favorite pastime.
Both the lack of interest in the world around the person with depression and the generalized sadness mentioned above often prevent the person from carrying out the most basic daily activities such as getting up, showering, eating, going to the bathroom, etc. school or go to work.
Fatigue and loss of energy can also be associated with a case of depressive disorder, due to the feeling of emptiness existing in the person and the loss of vital incentives that can motivate us.
In addition to this, people with depression usually decrease their physical activity as well as their levels of work efficiency and productivity.
Despair and negative or upsetting thoughts are the daily bread of many people with depression who interpret their existence as a bottomless pit in which there is no hope or expectation of happiness.
5. Low self-esteem
The self-esteem of people with depressive disorders is one of the aspects most affected by this disorder, and with the greatest capacity to make the disorder reinforce itself.
Depression decisively affects the person’s perception of themselvesto the point of being perceived as unable or useless to carry out any activity, or to establish a positive relationship with any person.
6. Suicidal ideation
The set of symptoms related to depression ends up promoting very negative feelings in the person, and in the most serious cases, suicidal thoughts, especially in people who feel alone and helpless.
In many cases, the person may verbalize or communicate this type of suicidal ideation and intentions to a loved one.
7. Concentration problems
The main cognitive alterations experienced by people suffering from depression are decreased attention at workand sometimes also the ability to recall content related to short-term memory.
In addition to this, the ability to make decisions in any area of life, both personal and professional, is also diminished.
Irritability, sudden mood swings, and general low mood can also indicate that we are dealing with a case of depressive disorder, especially if it occurs in people who previously behaved entirely differently.
In the same way and in the most serious cases of depression, excessive anger or even anger are also more frequent. violent reactions triggered by frustration.
9. Tendency to isolation
Self-imposed social isolation and progressive avoidance of social activities with friends, colleagues or relatives are also a sign that a case of depression may exist.
This happens because the depressed person increasingly reduces their social activities and shuts themselves away at home, causing their depressive symptoms to increase due to the lack of stimuli and sources of motivation that predispose the person to get involved. in exciting and meaningful projects. Activities.
10. Changing eating habits
Psychopathological mood swings often affect how a person relates to food, which in turn can trigger the onset of other disorders.
Some changes in eating habits that people with depressive disorders may experience they range from loss of appetite to onset of compulsive overeating.
This is why depression is usually associated with both a drastic reduction in body weight and a sudden increase in it.
Which psychotherapeutic strategies are effective for depressive disorders?
There is no single form of psychotherapy that is the only remedy for depression, among other things because this pathology is complex and multicausal and presents several fronts on which it is necessary to intervene. However, almost all of the therapeutic resources used in patients with these disorders come from the trunk of behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies, which in recent years have also given rise to so-called third-generation therapies.
In this sense, the main forms of psychological intervention that have been shown to help overcome a depressive disorder are the following:
- Behavioral activation: It consists of helping the person to internalize routines that allow them to gradually become involved in activities, restoring their ability to feel motivation and interest through concrete actions.
- Cognitive restructuring: one of the pillars of cognitive-behavioral therapy consists in helping the person to question their beliefs and their most dysfunctional ways of thinking and which maintained the disorder and the erosion of self-esteem.
- Anxiety management techniques: often, depressive disorders take the form of anxiety-depressive patterns, so the person must be helped to deal with their irrational fears
- Social Skills Training: Helps people gain support from friends and family by fostering assertive, clear, and respectful communication.
- Psychoeducation and collaboration with the family: although it technically not a psychotherapeutic strategy, informing the patient and his family helps them gain autonomy and control what is happening.
- Mindfulness: several studies indicate that the practice of mindfulness exercises is effective especially in avoiding relapses into depression.
Do you want to train in the treatment of depressive disorders?
If you are considering specializing in the field of psychotherapy for this type of psychopathology, the Postgraduate Course in Depressive Disorders which offers Mediterranean School of Psychology it’s perfect for you
This 500-hour online training program is an effective and economical way to learn the theoretical and practical aspects of intervention in people with disorders such as major depression, dysthymia, mood dysregulation disorder destructive and other quality-impacting mood swings. life of the person and their loved ones.
All this from a modality completely adapted from its roots to learning through the Internet, with access to textual and audiovisual teaching materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and technical assistance and through personalized tutorials. To find out more, contact the Escuela Mediterránea de Psicología team.