Depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is a mental illness that is characterized by extended periods of low mood, combined with low self-esteem and loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities. Inpatient depression treatment is often used to manage issues with depression, consisting of psychotherapy, counseling, and possibly medication, depending on the severity of the disorder. Episodes of depression can vary greatly in length ranging from a single event lasting a few weeks to a lifelong problem with multiple recurring major depressive episodes. Those suffering from depression have a decreased life expectancy compared to people without the disorder, due to increased rates of suicide among depressed individuals as well as an increased susceptibility to other mental illnesses.
There are three main techniques used in inpatient depression treatment: psychotherapy and counseling, medication, and electroconvulsive therapy, with the latter only being used as a last resort for extreme cases. Medication is rarely prescribed to patients under the age of eighteen, as cases of depression severe enough to warrant such action are not usually seen until a patient is in his or her 20s. The most common form of psychotherapy used to treat depression is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), although interpersonal and family therapies are often used as well.
In CBT treatment programs, patients are taught to change counter-productive behaviors and overcome self-defeating ways of thinking. Results have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy is as effective, if not more so, than antidepressants for patients with moderate levels of depression. In addition, it is particularly successful as a key component of a preventative relapse program.