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Question
Posted by: Anonomys | 2010/12/06

Depression

Hi Professor Simpson, I am writing you this message not really for myself but for advise on how to go about dealing with a problem my partner is having. We have been together now for about a year and a half now and I have noticed since I met here (but getting worse more recently) how depressed she is. Now she has had two very traumatic things happen to her over the last couple of years namely the loss of her father (+-4.5 years ago) and the fact the she had to have an abortion (+-3 years ago) - after what sounds like quite a forceful / scared boyfriend nudged her in that direction during that vulnerable stage. She also has been having a lot of stress around finishing her studies this year and finding a job for next year and quite a few other issues not as serious as the ones mentioned thus far. Now I have given her as best I can all the love I could possibly give and tried my best to help in my own way but we keep getting into fights over the smallest things and just a couple of hours after the fight she realizes that this was something we could have talked through without a fight. She also tends to get tipsy/drunk very easily and at that at least 4 times a month or more. We do have great and good days sometimes even a week but we also end up with a fight at some stage once every 2 weeks about, I am running out of ideas and cannot bear the thought of leaving her because I know she is a great person at heart and normally. I believe she is clinically depressed? I also believe she should see a psychologist? The only problem I have with that is though, (a fear she shares as well hence her not going to one thus far) is what is the psychologist going to recommended possibly, I do not want her to turned into a zombie no longer herself but " better"  according some psychologist after pumping her full of anti depressants / other pills? Or am I completely silly for thinking that is what happens. Also could we possibly work through this using only therapy? Thank you so much for you time, I would greatly appreciate a response.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

She may inded, from your description, be depressed. Surely she ought to hav the sense to see a shrink for a proper assessment and a discussion of the treatment options. And if she is a student, there should be a student counselling and student health service she can consult.
Firstly, whatever the shrink recommends, will be a recommendation, and she can discuss any concerns she might have about it, and will be monitored so that medication ( if that is what is used ) can be adjusted to suit her best. No competent shrink consders a zombie to be any better than a depressed person - but you both seem to be assuming that permanent zombie-hood is inevitable. And does not alcohol, anyway, create a zombie-like state, and apparently she doesn;'t mind that, even though it definitively worsens depression ( and should not be combined with antidepressants, if those come to be used, as this will make her much more of a zombie while undercutting the benefits of the ADs ).
The basis of a good plan is a proper assessment so you can all know what you are dealing with. Many depressions respond really well to particular forms of therapy like Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ( CBT ) as good research has shown ( where as more wooly analytical methods are much less useful ).
Sometimes a person's thinking is so impaired by the chemical extent o a depression that they are not yet able to cope well with proper therapy, and they may need to use ADs at first to reduce the burden of the depression and render themselves more amenable to therapy.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Also Anon | 2010/12/07

Dear Anonomys, I am chronically depressed. I have been on anti-depressant medication for a long time now. It has not affected my personality at all, it has just helped me retain the chemical which our bodies produce naturally in my brain which assists with sending of nerve impulses, which improves my mood ie makes me less inclined to be depressed. The medication, together with regular therapy (whether it be CBT or psychoanalytic theraphy) you must find your own fit and a therapist who also fits you. But please do not discard the idea of enlisting help and the use of medication, it can change your life forever - for the best! Best wishes.

Reply to Also Anon
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/12/07

She may inded, from your description, be depressed. Surely she ought to hav the sense to see a shrink for a proper assessment and a discussion of the treatment options. And if she is a student, there should be a student counselling and student health service she can consult.
Firstly, whatever the shrink recommends, will be a recommendation, and she can discuss any concerns she might have about it, and will be monitored so that medication ( if that is what is used ) can be adjusted to suit her best. No competent shrink consders a zombie to be any better than a depressed person - but you both seem to be assuming that permanent zombie-hood is inevitable. And does not alcohol, anyway, create a zombie-like state, and apparently she doesn;'t mind that, even though it definitively worsens depression ( and should not be combined with antidepressants, if those come to be used, as this will make her much more of a zombie while undercutting the benefits of the ADs ).
The basis of a good plan is a proper assessment so you can all know what you are dealing with. Many depressions respond really well to particular forms of therapy like Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ( CBT ) as good research has shown ( where as more wooly analytical methods are much less useful ).
Sometimes a person's thinking is so impaired by the chemical extent o a depression that they are not yet able to cope well with proper therapy, and they may need to use ADs at first to reduce the burden of the depression and render themselves more amenable to therapy.

Reply to cybershrink

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