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One of the common descriptions given by patients with depression is of an oppressive weight, like a wet blanket over the body. It’s hard to move, hard to motivate, everything seems insurmountable.

“I like to say that depressed people are the strongest people in the world,” said depression expert Richard Shelton, M.D., referring to the way that everyday challenges are magnified in any episode
of depression.

Depressed people have a down mood, have lost their usual interest in things, are fatigued and undergo cognitive changes involving hopelessness, guilt and, in many cases, thoughts of suicide. From one patient to the next, some of the common signs of depression are opposed: one patient will get too little sleep, another too much sleep; one will undergo loss of appetite, another weight gain; one will have an over-reactive, irritable down mood, another a stable down mood. The grief reaction is indistinguishable from depression, and only in the absence of a recent enough cause for normal grief do the symptoms of depression actually spell depression. 

Talking with Shelton, you get the impression that if you need treatment for clinical depression, your odds of being appreciably helped to recovery would depend inordinately on who your doctor or psychotherapist was. The proven treatments for moderate to severe depression, which include medication and psychotherapy, are considered to have an aggregate success rate approaching 85 percent. But that’s the current optimum in controlled clinical research settings, not the somewhat less hopeful actual American experience. Shelton, James G. Blakemore Research Professor of Psychiatry, says that more patients with depression could be helped if their treating clinician would apply medication more assertively or use a highly validated form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). continued>>

WRITTEN BY PAUL GOVERN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANIEL PROCTOR/GETTY
 
 

Psychiatric Hospital serves varied patient base

   
 
 
 
 
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