Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Kinds Of Therapy For Depressed Patients - By Stephen White

Behavioral therapy offers a fairly high success rate. It can be conducted on an individual basis or as part of a group therapy strategy. Behavioral therapy focuses primarily on helping depressed patients to develop coping strategies for the problems they encounter and new patterns of behavior. This technique also involves instructing patients to increase their recognition of desirable situations and events as they happen. In a sense, behavioral therapy is a means of teaching people to find the positive and to better deal with the negative. It attacks depression on both fronts and is a popular treatment option.

Depression with Catatonic Features - This subtype can be applied to Major Depressive episodes as well as to manic episodes, though it is rare, and rarer in mania. Catatonia is characterized by motoric immobility evidenced by catalepsy or stupor. This MDD subtype may also manifest excessive, nonprompted motor activity (akathisia), extreme negativism or mutism, and peculiarities in movement, including stereotypical movements, prominent mannerisms, and prominent grimacing. There may also be evidence of echolalia or echopraxia. It is very rarely encountered, and may not be a useful category.

* Depression with Melancholic Features - Melancholia is characterized by a loss of pleasure (anhedonia) in most or all activities, a failure of reactivity to pleasurable stimuli, a quality of depressed mood more pronounced than that of grief or loss, a worsening of symptoms in the morning hours, early morning waking, psychomotor retardation, anorexia (excessive weight loss, not to be confused with Anorexia Nervosa), or excessive guilt.

Depression with Atypical Features - Atypicality is characterized by mood reactivity (paradoxical anhedonia) and positivity, significant weight gain or increased appetite, excessive sleep or somnolence (hypersomnia), leaden paralysis, or significant social impairment as a consequence of hypersensitivity to perceived interpersonal rejection. People with this can react with interest or pleasure to some things, unlike most depressed individuals.

Depression with Psychotic Features - Some people with Major Depressive or Manic episode may experience psychotic features. They may be presented with hallucinations or delusions that are either mood-congruent (content coincident with depressive themes) or non-mood-congruent (content not coincident with depressive themes). It is clinically more common to encounter a delusional system as an adjunct to depression than to encounter hallucinations, whether visual or auditory.

1. Interpersonal Therapy

This strategy is premised on the notion that interpersonal difficulties are the primary problem experienced by the depressed patient. It works by increasing the awareness of interpersonal interaction patterns and teaches the patient how to alter and improve these patterns. It is often perceived as a short-term treatment option for depression, but does offer a success rate on par with other popular therapeutic techniques.

2. Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy utilizes behavioral techniques to retrain thinking patterns in depressed patients. Cognitive approaches also boast a relatively high level of success and research indicates that this technique may decrease the likelihood of experience additional depressive episodes after treatment is completed. Cognitive therapy is focused upon recognizing and then correcting thinking patterns that are believed to contribute to depression. This is accomplished via restructuring exercises performed under the guidance of a professional.

3. Other Therapies

Other therapy options do exist. Talk therapy, reminiscence therapy and self control therapy strategies have all been used to treat those with a diagnosis of depression. The optimal therapeutic approach cannot be easily discerned and will vary from patient to patient.

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