Depression is a mood disorder in which the person lives with a pervasive feeling of sadness a majority of the time. There is typically a loss of pleasure in activities that are normally fun and enjoyable. Those who suffer from severe depression often have zero desire or ability to seemingly care about anything at all and sometimes need help with the very basics of day to day life. While there are a variety of treatment options in the early stages of the disorder, such as outpatient counseling and medication, when the symptoms are severe it often warrants residential treatment for depression.
What Is It?
When a patient is referred for in-patient treatment of depression, it means there is a need to be admitted to the hospital or a treatment center for a specified duration of time in order to receive proper intensive treatment. This type of depression treatment gives the patient a break from the stresses and concerns of everyday life. By taking time away from the daily pressures of work and family life, the depression sufferer can focus on her own health and begin the recovery process. The hospital staff will help the patient understand that he is not alone by being welcoming and supportive from the very beginning.
The top three goals of facilities are:
1. Welcoming and warm- offering a comforting welcome as the patient comes in and helping her to try and determine what is at the core of her depression, where is the root of the problem?
2. Seeking the cause- if the cause of the depression is not something that can be repaired, the patient is then helped to learn acceptance tactics and how to learn to move on in life. Coping with the fact that the reason for the depression sometimes cannot be changed is necessary to move on and learn to enjoy life again.
3. Finding happiness- helping the depression sufferer to find ways to be happy is the final goal of treatment for depression. Once he or she can find ways to enjoy life again, they can get past their depression.
What Is The Environment Like?
While the details will differ from place to place, most residential treatment centers strive to provide a beautiful, welcoming atmosphere in which the patient can relax and feel safe. There are often gardens filled with flowers and plants, walking paths and places to sit and enjoy nature. Inside the center will be comforting colors amid quiet spaces as well as communal spaces to visit with fellow patients. The environment is designed to bring comfort and help patients feel loved and supported. The staff is encouraging, offer steady and constant support as patients work through their issues at the root of the depression.
In addition to therapies, there are typically a variety of activities each patient can participate in as a way of relaxing and learning to enjoy things in life again. These activities often include art and music, yoga, sports, massage and other such pursuits.
The treatment methods will depend upon the choice of hospitals or centers for treatment of depression, but these days a holistic approach has been shown to be the most successful in helping patients move on and defeat the depression. Holistic approaches to strive to treat the entire person, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and to help with social connections and relationships.
The first thing therapists want each patient to realize is that she is not alone, there are others and there is help. Treatment for other addictions such as alcohol or drug abuse is also available alongside the depression treatment for those who need it.
Treatment includes both individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy in order to address all aspects of a person’s life. Learning to recognize distress and to manage emotions is a big part of therapy in residential treatment for depression. In the pursuit of holistic health, nutrition counseling and exercise is part of the program, as well.
When Is Residential Treatment Necessary?
How do patients know when residential depression treatment is needed? Typically the depression sufferer in need of such intensive treatment is brought to the doctor or hospital by loved ones who need assistance to help the patient. In severe depression, the patient is often listless and disinterested in the very living of life itself. Day to day personal care and activities are no longer of any interest to the patient. When patients find the depression has overtaken their lives, this is when residential treatment comes into play and can offer solace and relief.
While depression is a serious disorder at any stage, it is something that can be dealt with and overcome when the patient has the necessary support system and tools to cope with the stressors and pressure of day to day life.
Depression Treatment for Teens
Teenage depression is becoming more common, but it seems as if many parents, teachers and other adults fail to recognize its symptoms. This often leads to a delay in treatment and can make other problems, such as drug abuse or learning difficulties, more likely as well. Because teens are so emotionally volatile and their behaviors so unpredictable, the symptoms of depression are not as easy to recognize.
Depression in a teen manifests itself in much more than the general moodiness expected in adolescence. Many teens have lapses in temper control and self-esteem issues; others have strange sleep habits and find pleasure in being alone. Any extreme behaviors, however, should be causes for concern. A teen that experiences several of the following symptoms for an extended period of time should be screened for depression by a medical professional:
• Anger or irritability that does not seem in proportion to the cause
• Physical aches and pains, such as headaches or stomach trouble, that are unrelated to a diagnosed medical condition
• A decrease in socialization with normal friends and family members
• Inability to handle even constructive criticism
• Sleeping more or less than normal
• Crying jags with no known causative factors
• Loss of motivation to participate in activities that were pleasurable in the past
• A melancholy or hopeless mood
• Feeling a lack of energy or becoming extremely agitated
When these symptoms become severe, the changes in behavior may actually become physically dangerous. Teens in depression usually experience a drop in the quality of their schoolwork. Depression may also lead to acts of violence, incidents of bullying, or addictions. Researchers have found that depression is also a leading cause of teens running away from home.
As a mother and teacher, I almost missed these signs in my own daughter until the crisis point. When she began withdrawing to her bedroom for hours upon end, I rationalized that I had done the same thing when I was her age in order to read in the quietest place in the house. When she flew off the handle and had a screaming fit when I reminded her that she needed to make up her bed, I stared at the fit in amazement but decided that hormones had to be at fault. I failed to recognize that she had a problem even after she quit cheerleading, which had been the center of her life for three years.
The incident that finally got my attention, I am sorry to say, was that almighty report card that came at the end of the six week reporting period. My daughter, who had always taken honors classes and brought home nearly perfect scores, had done poorly in all of her classes and failed two of them. Because all of these behaviors were so out-of –the-ordinary for my daughter, and the changes occurred in such a short period of time, I knew that she needed professional help. The final clue, a journal entry in which she contemplated what death might feel like, had me rushing into action.
After checking with the school counselor for a recommendation, I took my teen to a local psychologist that was highly experienced in working with this age group. I was first asked to sign for drug testing and was outrageously relieved when the results were negative. The counselor then advised me that my daughter’s therapy might involve individual counseling sessions as well as family therapy. In addition, he felt that my daughter needed to see a psychiatrist to see if prescription medications might give her some relief from the symptoms of depression and speed her recovery. He recommended residential treatment for depression, and her father and I agreed. In the end, we followed all of his suggestions, and my daughter did recover. It took several months with a few set-backs, but the treatment was successful. In fact, she went on to get several college degrees and now holds a prestigious position in the medical community.
The residential treatment for depression was the right solution for my daughter, just as it is for many other depressed teens. It provides a team of medical personnel who can properly treat this psychological illness and the resulting physical problems caused by it. Residential treatment takes teenagers away from daily stresses and gives them the opportunity to concentrate on learning to cope with their thoughts and feelings.
Residential treatment for depression also gives frightened teens a safe, private place to deal with this horrific psychological disorder and gives doctors a chance to monitor these fragile patients as they adjust and balance needed depression medications. Researchers have discovered that teenagers respond quite differently to some anti-depressants than older adults and may have negative reactions in some cases. Residential treatment safeguards a teen by providing regular medical supervision during this process, as recommended by the FDA.