A Clinical Psychologist, Dr Ehi Oamen, has advised sufferers of depression to seek help from psychotherapists, saying psychotherapy with usual drugs quickens recovery by 90 per cent.
Oamen said in Abuja on Friday that sitting a patient of depression down and counselling such a victim proved more ideal with usual drugs than the use of drugs only in managing such ailment.
“In depression and depressive illnesses and other mood-affecting disorders, doctors are quick in using tablets, antidepressants.
“But we know from experience and a lot of researches that have been done, that psychotherapy involves sitting down with the patient, talking about the patient’s fears, know what triggers the infection and what can improve the patient’s mental health.
“There are some parts of psychotherapy we call the com-missive behavioural therapy.
“In com-missive behavioural therapy, we have to teach the patient how to think and how to behave in a certain way to put all the fears and depression aside.
“It is very important these days that a lot of drugs that are used in treating the patient and other mood affecting disorders, all these drugs have their side effects, so by lessening the dose of these drugs and going on psychotherapy helps the patient.
“For example, what are those borderline issues that make the patient fear and cause them to have depressive episodes?
“When you see someone who is depressed, that means the person lost pleasure in previously pleasurable activities and the person could have also lost some weight and the person finds himself unhappy and there are even suicidal intentions.
“Suicidal intentions make it severe depression because there is mild depression, there is moderate and there is severe depression,” he said.
The medical expert explained that depression could start with person keeping to him or herself, thinking a lot and sudden burst of tears.
“So depression could start with the person trying to keep to himself, thinking a lot, sudden burst of tears, start crying; when it gets to moderate, the person has lost pleasure in previously pleasurable activities.
“Maybe, no longer going to work, sitting down thinking, maybe after the loss of a loved one, they start thinking about what they should be, how it should have been if the person was to be alive.
“But, in severe depression, it leads to suicidal intentions where the person feels like killing himself.”
He also related depression as being caused by the economic situation of a country when people find it difficult to cope with challenges emanating from the condition.
“All these things have always been there but now with the economic situation of the country, a lot of burden on people on how to pay school fees, how to take care of their children.
“A lot of needs and expectations that are not met, people are driven to the very outermost part of their mind and they get depressed,” he explained.
Oamen emphasised that some people were more prone to depression.
“Now, we believe that some people are more prone to depression. Those people borderline personalities. Those people that easily get scared, easily get worried and have anxiety disorders.
“Those ones are classical personality disorders that are prone to having depression. But all in all, these set of people are normal people like you and I.
“They just get worried about the usual things that you and I can just wave around but they get worried about them and that’s the issue and there are drugs for treating depression. But we think that psychotherapy is important.
“You know the importance of psychotherapy can never be overestimated. Psychotherapy sessions with the usual drugs take recovery rate nothing less than 90 per cent.
“It increases recovery rate and the frequency of relapse is reduced because you need to teach the person that life is not as bad as he thinks; don’t kill yourself, stop having suicidal intentions,” he said.