person sitting on couch talking with therapist about depressive personality traits

Effective Treatment for Depressive Personality Traits

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mental health condition characterized by the presence of several different symptoms that leave affected individuals in chronically depressed or melancholy moods. The presence of depressive personality traits can seriously diminish a person’s sense of well-being, especially when these traits appear in combination with diagnosable major depression.

Many people who struggle with depression respond well to treatment with forms of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy. While CBT aims to address factors like harmful thought processes and assumptions that contribute to the issue, psychodynamic therapy works towards building a more total understanding of one’s own thoughts and emotions. At Promises Behavioral Health, we offer both types of therapy as part of our depression treatment program. Contact us at 844.875.5609 today to find what combination of therapies best suits you and tackle depression on your own terms.

Major Depressive Disorder Traits

From the late 1960s to 1980, depressive personality disorder was officially recognized as a diagnosable mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association, a professional organization that creates the standard definitions for mental health disorders in the United States medical community. However, after 1980, this organization delisted DPD as a distinct illness and folded it into a catchall category of unofficial conditions called personality disorders not otherwise specified, or PD-NOS. According to previously established guidelines, people with DPD have a minimum of five separate traits that indicate a persistent depressive outlook.

Examples of these traits include:

  • Recurring brooding and worrying
  • Persistent feelings of worthlessness
  • A negative outlook toward others
  • A negative outlook toward oneself
  • The daily presence of an unhappy mood
  • Recurring feelings of self-recrimination or guilt
  • A generally pessimistic point of view

Depressive personality disorder differs from major depression and other forms of officially recognized depression, such as minor depression and dysthymic disorder (dysthymia). While the symptoms of depression appear for discrete periods of time, the symptoms of DPD are ingrained personality traits that dominate the affected individual’s worldview from day to day. Still, depression and depressive personality disorder share many features, and some mental health professionals view DPD as nothing more than a subset of depression symptoms. People with DPD also have certain traits commonly associated with an officially recognized personality disorder called avoidant personality disorder.

The International Prevalence of Depressive Traits

According to a literature review conducted by the researchers at Lund University, roughly 13 percent of all adults in the United States, Europe, and Canada have depressive personality traits that produce low self-esteem, a generally depressed and/or anxious mental outlook, and a lowered sense of well-being or life satisfaction. More than 40 percent of people who seek professional help for mental health issues show signs of a depressive personality; when compared to people without depressive traits, these people often have more serious overall symptoms of psychiatric illness. When combined with the symptoms of diagnosable depression, DPD-related traits are especially resistant to effective depression treatment.

The Types of Treatment for Depression

There are several types of treatment for depression. An experienced mental health professional can determine the treatment option that best suits your needs. The following are just a few examples of the therapy options that may be included in your treatment plan:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy – Participants in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) learn how to identify false, damaging, or dysfunctional mental reactions that adversely affect their judgment during moments of everyday or extraordinary stress. They also learn how to replace those harmful reactions with alternatives that increase their sense of well-informed judgment and secure well-being. Depending on the individual, a psychotherapist can conduct CBT in a group, one-on-one, or family-centered setting. Whatever the setting, the therapy is usually conducted for anywhere from 10 to 20 separate sessions.
  • Psychodynamic therapy – Participants in psychodynamic therapy learn how to identify past relationships, behaviors, or conflicts that contribute to current poor decision-making during moments of everyday or extraordinary stress. According to the tenets of the therapy, this kind of self-investigation frees the individual from the need to react in ways that produce mental harm. The theories underlying the psychodynamic approach go all the way back to some of the original ideas of psychoanalysis, first established in the early 20th century.

Major depressive order is manageable with the right treatment plan using therapies. Reach out to the professionals at Promises to learn more about the most effective treatment for depressive personality treatment.

How Effective Is Depressive Personality Treatment?

The researchers at Lund University examined the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy as treatment options for people with depressive personality traits. They concluded that these two forms of psychotherapy produce significant treatment benefits, even in cases that combine depressive personality characteristics with the symptoms of diagnosable major depression, minor depression, or dysthymia. In fact, in contrast to the researchers’ expectations at the beginning of their examination, people with depressive traits benefit from CBT and psychodynamic therapy just as much as people with various mental health problems who do not have depressive personalities.

Promises Behavioral Health Offers a Full Depression Treatment Program

Living with depression can make it feel harder to enjoy your daily life. Those who suffer from major depressive disorder long-term without seeking treatment face the risk of falling into a proverbial emotional pit—one that takes an immense amount of effort to escape. Though the symptoms of depression can only be managed, not cured, there are treatment options that are proven to aid living with depression.

At Promises Behavioral Health, we choose from multiple kinds of therapy to best address the needs of every individual patient. Our professional consultation breaks down what’s best: in- or outpatient care, pricing, and the other services we provide. Contact us today at 844.875.5609 to find out how the symptoms of your depression can be made manageable again.

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