Depression is A Mild Problem, Right? Wrong!
We talked about the full blown diagnosis
of depression. For a diagnosis of major depression you need 5 or more
symptoms for at least 2 weeks. What if a patient has only 2 or 3
symptoms for 2 weeks? Is that a problem?
First of all these mild depressions can
be the precursor or follow-up to major depression. So they are
important for that reason.
But even if there is no major
depression, mild depression looks like major depression. Mild
depression runs in families where major depression is prevalent. Low
level depression causes disability, absenteeism, more medical visits.
Another type of mild depression is
dysthymia. Dysthymia means being sad at least 50% of the time, for 2
years or more. And dysthymia is not the same as unhappiness. Dysthymics
suffer the relentless internal stress, the hopelessness, sadness, and
low self-esteem of the depressed. The fact that they may function
well, or eat and sleep well, is of small comfort to them.
The problem with dysthymia and mild
depression is that medications may be less effective with these
conditions, and some types of psychotherapy, more effective. Although
no one exactly knows, the general consensus is that dysthymia is less
responsive to antidepressants than is major depression. But it may be
more responsive to cognitive behavioral therapy.
In summary, even mild depression has
serious impacts on people. Mild depression can be effectively treated
with cognitive behavioral therapy, and responds well to it.
Copyright © 2006 Andrew Gottlieb
All Rights Reserved