Ask The Therapist: I’m Depressed Due To Money Problems And Therapy Hasn’t Helped

Depression is a incredibly common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you might have once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems, and can decrease a persons ability to function both at work and at home.

Symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe and can include

  • Feeling sad
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or weight gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy and increased fatigue
  • Increase in mundane physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression.

Depression can affect an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) during any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time

What is to be noted is that depression is different from sadness or grief. The death of a loved one, loss of a job, or the end of a relationship are all difficult experiences for a person to endure and recover from. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to situations like these. Those who have experienced loss might describe themselves as being depressed.

  • The painful feelings that come from grief arrive in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the experience.
  • In grief, your self esteem usually doesn’t deteriorate too much. By contrast, major depression causes feelings of worthlessness and self loathing.
  • For some people, the death of a loved one, losing a job, or being a victim of some kind of assault may lead to depression. When grief and depression co-exist, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression. Despite some overlap between the symptoms of grief and depression, they are distinct and different. Distinguishing between them can help you seek out the help, support, or treatment you need.

Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. 

Before starting treatment, a thorough evaluation needs to be conducted by a professional. The evaluation is to identify specific symptoms, medical and family history, as well as cultural and environmental factors. Examining these together helps professionals arrive at the right diagnosis and plan a course of action that’s best suited to you. Here’s your query:

“How do I help someone get out depression caused by financial difficulties? Someone very close to me had a business and worked 9-6 everyday. Due to some reason, the business shut down and now he does not do anything which is causing him severe depression. Medical help was sought out, but it’s been a month and therapy isn’t working.”

In response to your query, I would firstly suggest not depending on therapy alone. I would advise him to consult a psychiatrist for medication along with continuing therapy. In addition, I would recommend he go for CBT therapy (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT is a form of therapy focused on the present and problem solving. CBT helps a person to recognize their distorted patterns of thinking and then change the behaviours those are causing.

Medication like anti-depressants might lead to some improvement within the first week or two of use alone. The full benefits may not be seen for two to three months. If you feel little or no improvement after several weeks, let your psychiatrist know and they can alter the dose of your medication, add, or completely substitute another medication in its place. Let your doctor know if a medication does not work or if you are experiencing side effects. 

Also please keep in mind that therapy is not a quick fix. It takes time and patience.

You should also take into consideration how much work he or she is willing to put into recovery. Is he self willing, or simply attending therapy on someones recommendation and urging? The will to change must come from within, otherwise no form of therapy will help. If the former, regular exercise will help him or her create positive feelings and improve their mood. Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis, and eating a healthier diet can also help reduce symptoms of depression.

He needs to slowly start engaging in other activities. His family needs to make an active effort to be involved as well. Perhaps he could consider going for couples therapy, or family therapy that can help him address other, deeper rooted issues within his close relationships and home. When the treatment starts settling in, with the support of his family, he will be able to pick himself up and begin looking into other alternatives for work.

If there are any further updates which you feel you need more guidance with, please feel free to reach out to me.

Depression is a real illness and help is available. With proper diagnosis and treatment, the vast majority of people with depression can overcome it. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, the first step is to see a mental health professional or psychiatrist. Talk about your concerns and request a thorough evaluation. This is the right way to start addressing mental health issues.

We at Mashion realize the sensitivity and widespread nature of issues like this, and have a committed interest in bringing more awareness and exposure to topics and stories like these. Haya Malik is a certified Humanistic Integrative Counsellor, and psychotherapist. She will be answering mental health questions weekly on Mashion, to send in your questions, email support@mashion.pk. All questions will remain anonymous. 

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