Hello, my name isXXXXX and I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. I believe I can answer your question.
May I ask you a few questions before I formulate my answer?
Great. How long have you noticed this pattern?When you have these episodes, do you lose interest in most things?When you feel this way, do you also experience appetite changes and sleep changes?Do you find yourself thinking a lot about death?
I guess its been going on since I was a teenager really but I thought it was something I'd grow out of.
When I feel like that, I just can't concentrate on stuff and have no interest in spending time with friends, but also feel incredibly lonely and lost. I don't experience appetite changes, but I find it hard to sleep. I don't think about death so much as think about how pointless it is to be alive
Do you feel fatigued during these periods?
I feel fatigued now, I couldn't say for definite about other times though
I suspect you may be experiencing a depressive disorder. Of course, I cannot provide a formal diagnosis in a forum such as this.You first step is to get an assessment from a qualified clinician or physician. This could be a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or social worker. The differences are as follows:Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have received special training in psychology and psychotropic medications. They typically provide medication management for patients. Most today do not provide therapy. They typically refer patients out for therapy.
Psychologists are PhD-level clinicians who provide therapy and testing. They do not provide prescriptions.
Social workers and therapists are typically Masters Degree-level clinicians. They are usually licensed to provide individual, couples and family therapy. They do not dispense or prescribe medications.
Which do you think would best be able to help me?
In your case, you could start with any one of these three, depending on what you are seeking. If you are interested in medication for depression, start with psychiatrist. If you are seeking therapy, start with either a psychologist or therapist, knowing that if you need medication, they will have to refer you to a psychiatrist. With all due respect to my family practice colleagues, I would not see a family doctor about psychiatric issues. They may start you on an antidepressant, but will likely refer you to a psychiatrist for ongoing treatment. The fact is that psychiatrists are well-versed in psychotropic medications and understand the nuances of these drugs in ways that family practitioners do not.
If you are interested in therapy, then seek out a qualified cognitive-behavioral therapist, at least in the beginning.
The most effective therapeutic treatment for depression is cognitive-behavioral (CBT) psychotherapy. Alone or combined with medication it has a roughly 80% success rate in the literature. The CBT model is based upon the concept that our feelings emanate from our thoughts. It holds that conditions like depression are based on distorted thinking patterns. By definition, these distorted thought patterns tend to be negative and unrealistic. Therefore, this brief, time-limited therapy focuses on helping you exchange depressive thoughts for more positive and realistic thoughts. This can help greatly reduce your depressive symptoms. Aside from changing thoughts, there are specific behavioral techniques that can be tailored to suit your particular presentation.CBT is not the only type of psychotherapy that aids the treatment of depression. As a primarily existential clinician, I typically provide cognitive-behavioral therapy in the early stages of therapy to help the client reduce and eliminate their symptoms of depression prior to exploring the deeper psychological issues that are fueling the condition. Aside from talk therapy, there are some wonderful books available that offer a self-help CBT approach. One such book is Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David Burns. It is readily available at major booksellers. Feeling Good and its accompanying workbook walks one through self-directed CBT for depression.As far as medications go, they can be very helpful, but are not a cure for depression. Although many rely on them as their sole form of depression treatment, they tend to be most effective when used in combination with talk therapy.
Have I answered your question completely?
yes I think so. Thankyou
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