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Depression Patients and Psychiatrist’s Work Essay

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Updated: Dec 11th, 2020

Psychiatric Diagnosis and Patient Types

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in the modern world. Ghaemi (2013) notes that various factors including but not confined to job-related stress, urban setting, socioeconomic status, limited access to health care contribute to the development of depressive symptoms in people of different ages and backgrounds. Chronic depression may affect people many times in the course of their life. Craddock and Mynors-Wallis (2014) stress that psychiatric diagnosing is imperfect and impersonal practice, but it is an important element of care provided to patients.

When diagnosing the disorder in question, one of the major instruments is the conversation (Hurt, Reznikoff, & Clarkin, 2013). The healthcare professional should pay attention to such symptoms as sadness, loss of enjoyment, sleep patterns impairment, fatigue, concentration difficulty, thoughts of death, or suicide. If these symptoms are apparent every day or most of the day, the patient can be diagnosed with chronic depression. It is also necessary to pay attention to the physical state of the patient, so some tests and the discussion (or review) of health history are critical (Mischoulon, Dougherty, & Fava, 2014). Finally, certain medications can cause the development of some depressive symptoms. Hence, this aspect should also be taken into account.

It is possible to identify many types of patients suffering from the disease under analysis. For instance, people of different ages may be affected in specific ways. Adolescents often have to cope with depressive symptoms due to the developmental changes they experience (Rubenstein et al., 2015). Older adults are also prone to developing depression due to the overall deterioration of their health, as well as various losses that are common at a certain age. People working in stressful environments are another vulnerable group. Many in-unit patients may be affected as their health deteriorates, some medications can cause various depressive symptoms, their close ones are far away, and so forth.

Self-Reflection on Feelings Towards Patients

I believe depression is the plague of the 21st century as millions of people suffer from it at different periods of their lives. Some people try to cope with it on their own and are very successful in this endeavor. However, many are unable to handle this psychological condition, which may result in severe psychological issues (Kessler, 2013). In many cases, people are unaware of the major causes of their mood, but they are trying hard to understand what the problem is and how to address it. When working with a person suffering from this condition, I always want to help. It is clear to me that these patients need specific attention as the illness under consideration is often accompanied by other issues or can cause the deterioration of health. These patients are somewhat at a loss, so they need guidance. One of the reasons for such attitudes is the fact that I have also experienced depressive symptoms in my life. My compassion and emotional intelligence are based on my personal experience, which can be beneficial for me in my professional life.

Self-Reflection on My Performance

As far as my performance in the interaction with these patients is concerned, it can be characterized by compassion, a patient-centered approach, and emotional intelligence. I start listening to the patient and asking questions that can help the patient self-reflect and understand their emotions and state. I am always patient and supportive. When patients avoid speaking about their feelings or physical states, I can try to discuss some events or even things the patient likes or dislikes. I try to develop a profile of an individual in my mind. I do not seek a set of specific symptoms but try to understand who the patient is and what life they have. Craddock and Mynors-Wallis (2014) argue that the use of the holistic approach is essential as depression cannot be diagnosed and treated as a physical state with certain peculiarities. I agree with this perspective. Furthermore, I try to develop rapport. I believe I will be able to help only if the patient trusts me and is eager to share their feelings and thoughts.

In many cases, I recollect my own feelings and emotions in the situations described by my patients. These projections help me understand the way the patient feels. Moreover, when discussing some ways to address this mental state, I often recommend things that have helped me in similar situations. Of course, this is only a part of the strategies I articulate as the focus is still on evidence-based methods. In addition, I share my own life stories as examples that can assist my patients. Some of these stories can be encouraging or even inspirational for patients. This kind of interaction has proved to be effective. Patients of different cultural backgrounds tend to place a different value on scientific evidence, personal experience, life stories of people they are acquainted with, or do not know. Being open and sincere is an important element of care.

However, I sometimes feel dissatisfied or even frustrated when I cannot help people due to their reluctance to cooperate. Some patients experience depressive symptoms irrespective of my input, which is also rather sad. However, I keep searching for new methods, strategies, and words that can assist patients in coping with their issues. Nevertheless, I often feel upset when I understand that the patient chooses not to follow any recommendations and does nothing to treat depression effectively. It seems that such people want to be depressed. I understand that my attitude towards such situations is counterproductive. Moreover, I violate one of the principles of caring. I do not respect patients’ right to autonomy and self-determination although these are basic premises for people’s wellbeing. These are the areas of my major concern and gaps to be addressed.

Working Differently

One of the major aspects of my care that may need changes is my trust in personal experience. My belief in the effectiveness of some strategies that helped me can be harmful. Of course, I understand that something that has helped me will not necessarily be effective when used by others. I should pay less attention to my own experiences and be a bit more focused on evidence-based practices. Another important thing to change is associated with patients’ autonomy and self-determination. I always have to remember that patients’ will is central. They have the right to choose and make decisions. One of the strategies I will employ is self-reflection. I will always ask myself whether I push too hard or get upset because of some actions or inactivity. At the same time, I will keep trying to find the most appropriate strategies for such patients. I will make sure that the discussion of possible outcomes of untreated depression will not turn into intimidation. I will try to maintain a positive atmosphere and display my respect for patients’ autonomy.

References

Craddock, N., & Mynors-Wallis, L. (2014). Psychiatric diagnosis: Impersonal, imperfect and important. British Journal of Psychiatry, 204(02), 93-95.

Ghaemi, S. (2013). On depression: Drugs, diagnosis, and despair in the modern world. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hurt, S., Reznikoff, M., & Clarkin, J. (2013). Psychological assessment, psychiatric diagnosis, and treatment planning. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis.

Kessler, R. C. (2013). The effects of stressful life events on depression. In S. E. Hyman (Eds.), Depression: The science of mental health (pp. 67-91). New York, NY: Routledge.

Mischoulon, D., Dougherty, D. D., Fava, M. (2014). Biological factors in chronic depression. In J. E. Alpert & M. Fava (Eds.), Handbook of chronic depression: Diagnosis and therapeutic management (pp. 61-81). New York, NY: CRC Press.

Rubenstein, L., Hamilton, J., Stange, J., Flynn, M., Abramson, L., & Alloy, L. (2015). The cyclical nature of depressed mood and future risk: Depression, rumination, and deficits in emotional clarity in adolescent girls. Journal of Adolescence, 42, 68-76.

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