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Depression?

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  • Depression?

    I'm beginning to wonder if depression hasn't become the dump category for things that don't fit anything else. I don't doubt it exists - but the description is so broad I think other, sometimes not truly psychological, disorders are getting dragged in.

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  • #2
    There appear to be a few "dump" categories in psychology. It used to be that if you could not or did not fit into any other category, Borderline Personality Disorder was very popular. At other times Bipolar disorder has been very popular. However, Depression is actually a very very real diagnosis that exhibits for multiple reasons. It describes a persistantly low mood, that exists by itself or as the result of another disorder, medical or physical that has a number of symptoms. For example, One can categorically be depressed and that can be their illness, and it can be chronic or situation related, a number of things can accompany that depression, including physical symptoms. Or depression can be a part of another mental illness such as Anxiety, OCD, Schizophrenia, or a Personality Disorder. Sometimes it can result from a thyroid disorder or some other physical disorder or be a side effect of a medication. Its also commonly seen in epileptics. I think all this combined is why it finds itself in the DSM.
    A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
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    • #3
      My mother works in a high school nurse's office and has to enter every student visit into a database. If she doesn't know what else to put, she'll often just put "pain" in there, which is by all means accurate but not descriptive at all. I think depression is usually active but also comorbid with a lot of other things, because it doesn't take place in a vacuum.
      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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      • #4
        I'm beginning to wonder if anti-depressants aren't making diagnosis harder. If the patient responds they are assumed to have been depressed - but anti-depressants are powerful drugs that might well be improving the 'depression' resulting from the other symptoms and not the underlying condition.

        Which is not to say anti-depressants/depression diagnosis/modern psychology bad, just that it increasingly appears to be a problem.

        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


        "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

        My Personal Blog

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
          I'm beginning to wonder if anti-depressants aren't making diagnosis harder. If the patient responds they are assumed to have been depressed - but anti-depressants are powerful drugs that might well be improving the 'depression' resulting from the other symptoms and not the underlying condition.

          Which is not to say anti-depressants/depression diagnosis/modern psychology bad, just that it increasingly appears to be a problem.
          I agree with this. A psych who can only talk to you for 15 minutes because of insurance really can't spend enough time to completely diagnose you and work through the best treatment.
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          • #6
            I saw more people in the "bipolar spectrum" while I was in care (I don't have medical experience myself, but I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and "symptomatic" anxiety; the anti-depressants seem to be working for me).

            I do really really wish I could more easily find a specialized psych to double-check my case, though. I only had one of the on call psychs while I was in intensive outpatient therapy. I still have overwhelming amounts of anxiety and nothing to treat that particularly. But psychs always seem to be filled up. :( And in my experience, outside those of us who have been diagnosed formally and in treatments like I was in, there are few people that even seem to take psychology and psychiatry seriously, at least in my area of the world.

            "Fire is catching. If we burn, you burn with us!"
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            • #7
              I'm pretty confident in the depression diagnosis at this point, but I think I was misdiagnosed with just anxiety for a long time. I first got clinical depression when I developed thyroid disease, but although it was triggered by that, I incorrectly thought it was only a symptom of the thyroid. However, even when my thyroid level was under control, I continued to have depression and anxiety (but the anxiety was more obvious). I was treated with medication for the anxiety only, but unfortunately, that made things worse.

              I then did counseling without drugs for several years, but my counselor finally said that I wasn't getting anywhere and sent me to a psychiatrist who did cognitive behavior therapy and drugs for depression/anxiety. That was the first time I felt like I got anywhere. I tried going off the medication eventually, but my brain refuses to correct its chemistry, so I continue on anti-depressants and that seems to control my anxiety too. Plus, I have learned to recognize what is going on with me and try to change behavior accordingly.

              More than anyone probably wanted to know, but the point is that it can take a while to figure out the right treatment/diagnosis.

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              • #8
                Depression is a mostly a reaction by non-psychotic individuals to a climate of lies, fear, hate and petty ingratitude, where proper grieving/mourning is considered uncool and off-putting because it involves a very specific thing to be grieved over, that may or may not be uncomfortable or politically incorrect to talk about openly. The mechanical over-diagnosis of this condition (like ADHD and a host of other extreme but hardly unexpected results of over-civilization) is how experts minimize collective sins into forgetfulness and micromanage their effects on the human psyche into individual disorders. To remember clearly what was lost is often painful and nerve-wracking, to deny it, and medicate only the effects, deadens the soul.

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                • #9
                  I don't know if this is something unique to my professors but generally medication is not supposed to be the first line of defense when it comes to the majority of mental illness (obviously this is untrue of schizophrenia and situations that have imminent danger). This makes me stunned by the idea that one would issue anti-depressants etc without adequate time with the patient to determine the real issue/ the appropriate treatment plan.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ladybug823 View Post
                    I don't know if this is something unique to my professors but generally medication is not supposed to be the first line of defense when it comes to the majority of mental illness (obviously this is untrue of schizophrenia and situations that have imminent danger). This makes me stunned by the idea that one would issue anti-depressants etc without adequate time with the patient to determine the real issue/ the appropriate treatment plan.
                    It also depends on the length of time a person has had depression and whether or not it interferes with activities of daily living. For some people it's so severe that it may interfere with the ability to even do something as simple as bathe or brush their teeth in which case medication as a 1st line along with therapy are very appropriate.
                    A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                    George Bernard Shaw

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                    • #11
                      Clarification, there are times when it can be appropriate to have as a first line of defense but a therapist doesn't (shouldn't) start there except in unusual circumstances.

                      They need to at least take the time to ascertain that it is indeed depression and not some other underlying factor. For example my anxiety and panic attacks got bad for a while but I noticed it was linked to my asthma. When the asthma was under control the anxiety was also. If a therapist sees a patient who has anxiety or depression then they should first ascertain that there is not an underlying physical or other mental disorder that might be irritated by meds.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ladybug823 View Post
                        Clarification, there are times when it can be appropriate to have as a first line of defense but a therapist doesn't (shouldn't) start there except in unusual circumstances.

                        They need to at least take the time to ascertain that it is indeed depression and not some other underlying factor. For example my anxiety and panic attacks got bad for a while but I noticed it was linked to my asthma. When the asthma was under control the anxiety was also. If a therapist sees a patient who has anxiety or depression then they should first ascertain that there is not an underlying physical or other mental disorder that might be irritated by meds.
                        And interestingly enough, My depression/anxiety disorder appears to be situational, in conjunction with my epilepsy, and aggravated by circumstance. Even if the circumstance is good, I still have a chronic dysthymia (or persistant low mood/depressed) that can make medication somewhat helpful if its the right one/the right dose. But meds and me may also be very tricky.
                        A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                        George Bernard Shaw

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                        • #13
                          I think that a LOT of this "depression" these days is simply people focusing way too much on their own wants and needs. Sure, I have no doubt there's something called "clinical depression", and I wouldn't pretend to be qualified to address that.

                          For the most part, though, there are a lot of people who need to quit whining about their own situation, get off their butts and focus on serving others. When I got back from SE Asia, I spent some time in a hospital feeling sorry for myself, wondering how I could ever face life. On the wall in my hospital room, right under the TV on the wall, was a sign that said, "I once complained I had no shoes -- then I met a man who had no feet". It was, quite honestly, a life changing experience.
                          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                            I think that a LOT of this "depression" these days is simply people focusing way too much on their own wants and needs. Sure, I have no doubt there's something called "clinical depression", and I wouldn't pretend to be qualified to address that.

                            For the most part, though, there are a lot of people who need to quit whining about their own situation, get off their butts and focus on serving others. When I got back from SE Asia, I spent some time in a hospital feeling sorry for myself, wondering how I could ever face life. On the wall in my hospital room, right under the TV on the wall, was a sign that said, "I once complained I had no shoes -- then I met a man who had no feet". It was, quite honestly, a life changing experience.
                            I don't doubt that there are people who make their own situation worse. And I do know of certain circumstances that underlay many a person's ability to even "fight" there own mental disorder. But I've also seen people that absolutely need to talk through there issues and gain coping strategies. I think the key is recognizing what is the difference between the two. For example, someone may not truly just "feel sorry for themselves" they may indeed spend their time serving and working with others and still have a genuine "mental illness." And then there is the spoil sport syndrome of which I've seen affect some people. That is, they think everyone should serve their every whim and if it doesn't happen, then they shouldn't have to do anything.
                            A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                            George Bernard Shaw

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                              I think that a LOT of this "depression" these days is simply people focusing way too much on their own wants and needs. Sure, I have no doubt there's something called "clinical depression", and I wouldn't pretend to be qualified to address that.

                              For the most part, though, there are a lot of people who need to quit whining about their own situation, get off their butts and focus on serving others. When I got back from SE Asia, I spent some time in a hospital feeling sorry for myself, wondering how I could ever face life. On the wall in my hospital room, right under the TV on the wall, was a sign that said, "I once complained I had no shoes -- then I met a man who had no feet". It was, quite honestly, a life changing experience.
                              I don't doubt that there are people who only think they have depression, who really do need to stop thinking about themselves. I'm also afraid that way too many doctors prescribe psychiatric drugs as a quick fix without really knowing what they are doing.

                              However, there is nothing more frustrating to those who truly suffer from depression to be told to "just snap out of it". Believe me, no one wants to be to the point of not being able to function at all. I had that happen even when my life should have been fine. I am convinced that you can get to the point where medication is required to help you get out of the hole (and maintain in my case). However, it should never be just medication, but also counseling/behavior management as well.

                              Please don't take this as a criticism (I don't know if this would even occur to you), but please don't do to your congregation what a pastor did to me, and say that all depression is just the person's fault for sinning and getting right with God is all you need. For someone with a true mental illness, that is the equivalent of telling someone with cancer they will be cured if they are just right with God.

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