Depression, Clinical Depression, Major Depression; all of these are terms used – often interchangeably – for a Major Depressive Disorder. Everybody feels sad occasionally. Feeling low, sad, or down are usually temporary, fleeting emotions that are a part of the human experience. Depression is something more. It is a disorder that interferes with the ability to function in life.
Symptoms of depression are mostly focused on how we think and perceive the world. Thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness cause a sense of loss and a feeling of emotional pain. Most people who suffer from some form of depression need treatment to get better.
Counseling teaches people to combat thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness. You must replace those thoughts with something more realistic and empowering.
What about medication?
First, I decide if the severity is mild, moderate, or severe. Severe depression is lying on the couch in a fetal position not moving for days at a time. Not to eat, shower, or take care of daily activities. I don’t like seeing severely depressed clients unless they are taking medication.
Mild depression is not noticeable to anyone but the depressed person and maybe the ones they are closest to. I’m not likely to even bring up the subject of medication with people who are mildly depressed.
Moderate depression is anything in between. I ask my moderately depressed clients to have a long talk with their family physician about the pro’s and con’s of medication. Then I support them in whatever they decide.
Next, I talk about the attitude toward medication. You are more likely to stick with a treatment plan if you can buy in to it wholeheartedly. You are less likely to stick with medications if you feel coerced or manipulated into taking them.