Posted: September 3rd, 2013













            Depressed mood is a normal experience that occurs when we encounter disappointments, defeats and discouragements in our lives. Nevertheless, this depressive mood lasts for a short period, and does not interfere with ones daily activities. From this background, it is important to distinguish depressive moods from depressive illness. Depressive illness, or disorder, lasts for longer time durations, it is prone to reoccurrence, and the symptoms are serious enough to disrupt our daily activities and relationships with the society. Despite its numerous effects on the sufferers it is often unrecognized or misunderstood condition leading to many sufferers not getting the treatment they need (Lim, 2008). This report will be based on a case study of my depressed cousin. It involves giving him a brief background about the illness, usual symptoms, its major causes, types of treatments and therapy available, and lastly advice on how to cope with depression.

Depression is often viewed in terms of its paradoxes. It often distorts the depressed person’s image of her or himself contrasting the objective facts. For instance, a prominent scientist berates himself for being stupid. These self-biased ideas of the patient further torment him and lead him to acts that further enhance his feelings. These attitudes and behaviors seem to defy some of the established dictums of human nature. In regards to the “pleasure principle” the patient should seek satisfaction and avoid pain at all cost. In addition, the concept of self-preservation dictates that man should prolong life rather than terminate it (Lim, 2008). The importance of diagnosing and treating depression needs to be emphasized. This is because untreated depression causes loss of quality of life, low disease immunity, suicidal tendencies, and has residual symptoms that cause long-term effects further hindering the individual from making meaning contribution to the society (Beck, 2009).

The common signs and symptoms of depression are; feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, drastic weight gains and losses, loss of interest in carrying out routine tasks, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, being easily agitated, continuous overemphasis on personal faults, sleep disorders, general body fatigue and unexplained body aches. These symptoms vary from one age group to another, for instance irritability is the predominant symptom of depressed teenagers. Others include hostility, grumpiness and unexplained aches (Barlow 2008).

There are several types of depression with each having its own distinct signs, causes and effects. These include major depression, dysthymia (recurrent, mild depression), seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and bipolar disorder. Since my cousin suffers from major depression, our study will be focused on the same (Barlow 2008). Major depression is often characterized by a constant inability to find joy in life, with the feeling ranging from mild to severe. If unrecognized and unnoticed, the feeling might last for up to six months. For most patients the feeling occurs once in a lifetime, but commonly the disorder is recurrent. Nevertheless, there are many avenues to support your mood and reduce the chances of recurrence.

The recent global recognition of major depression as a leading cause of disability has resulted in increased interest in clinical and scientific research on the same. New drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs, have been developed. They have high efficacy and are chemically unrelated to antidepressants, heterocyclic and tricylic medications. These new generation tablets cause fewer side effects and provide greater protection in case of overdosing. In addition, they have improved tolerance and patient compliance. The dosage may also be augmented with psycho stimulants, lithium and other agents. For therapy the most appropriate method is the IPT i.e. Identification of Interpersonal Problems Areas. IPT sets to determine which interpersonal issues is contributing t the person’s depressive period. The therapist focuses on the patients major problems and then presents this to the patient as a formulation (Barlow 2008). The treatment is conducted in three phases initial, middle and termination. The treatment also involves psychological preparation of the patient for recurrence of the disorder.




















Barlow, D. H. (2008). Clinical handbook of psychological disorders: A step-by-step treatment manual. New York: Guilford Press.

Beck, A. T., & Alford, B. A. (2009). Depression: Causes and treatments. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Lim, L. (2008). Depression: The misunderstood illness. Singapore: Armour Pub.




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