The main symptoms consist in an altered affectivity towards depression, with or without accompanying anxiety, or mania.
In a depression depressed mood, lack of joy, loss of interest and decreased drive with increased fatigue can be found. Severe depression can become life threatening through the risk of suicide. Cognitive reframing, resource activation, chronotherapy and physical activity are therapeutic elements, which are able to draw those affected from their black hole back into life.
A mania is accompanied by an elation inadequate to the situation and increased drive. This leads to talkativeness, hyperactivity, distractibility, overconfidence and reduced need for sleep.
Affective epsiodes can occur mixed or alternately and in various degrees of severity.
- Depressive episode
- Recurrent depressive disorder
- Manic episode
- Bipolar disorder
What is an affective disorder?
Affective disorders include depression, mania and bipolar disorder (manic-depressive).
All mental phenomena depend on a number of factors. On the one hand, genetic components are involved, while on the other hand, environmental effects play a role (e.g. chronic stress). This begins as early as in the mother’s womb. Each of us is therefore born with a certain basic personality that takes effect in specific life crises. One person will react with fear, the other with depression, the third with addiction, etc.
The risk of suffering depression during one’s lifetime (lifetime prevalence) lies at between 16% and 20%. A clinically manifested depression is more than melancholy. If it is medium to severe, overcoming it every day is noticeably impeded to rendered impossible – down to physical self-neglect. Once caught in a depressed mood with dark, negative thoughts, you find yourself in a downward spiral. Drive and activity are reduced. There is simply a lack of strength to pull yourself together. The ability to experience joy, interest and concentration are reduced until they no longer exist. Increased tiredness can occur after even the smallest effort. Sleep is usually disturbed, appetite lowered. Feelings of self-worth and self-confidence are almost always affected. There are feelings of guilt or thoughts about one’s own worthlessness. The depressed mood can be accompanied by so-called “somatic syndrome”, such as loss of interest or loss of joy, early waking, morning tiredness, significant psychomotor inhibition, agitation, loss of appetite, weight loss and loss of libido. Depending on the number and severity of the symptoms, a depressive episode can be described as mild, medium or severe. A severe depression can have fatal consequences, while suicidal thoughts are not rare.
There is a way out of every depression. How long it takes depends on the individual. There is always the possibility of experiencing depression again during a lifetime. This is known as recurrent depression. If you have already come through a depression and learned coping strategies, you can recognise the risk earlier and can successfully combat it.
Post-partum depression occurs very frequently. Nowadays, it is believed that one in four mothers are affected by it.
Post-partum depression is not to be confused with the Baby Blues. The Baby Blues begin several days after birth. The mothers cry easily and feel miserable, worry about their baby or themselves, are tense, tired or irritated. It is probably the major perinatal hormone swings that are responsible for these symptoms. Baby Blues disappear completely by themselves.
The case is different with post-partum depression. It is essentially more serious and has to be treated. A mother that suffers from post-partum depression is highly anxious and unhappy. In some circumstances, she has already been depressed before the birth and continues to be after the birth.
For other women, post-partum depression begins weeks or even months after giving birth. They initially enjoy looking after their baby and gradually become more and more depressive until their life comes to a standstill.
Most of the time, they feel miserable, irritated and tearful, especially in the morning and evening. They are accompanied by feelings of guilt and being overwhelmed, as well as the feeling that life is not worth living and that they have nothing to feel happy about. Despite feeling constantly exhausted, they cannot sleep. They often have worry excessively about their baby, who seems foreign to them. Concentration disorders, a lack of energy and drive, memory problems, loss of libido and loss of appetite can accompany it.
The mood is elevated inadequate to the situation and can switch between careless cheerfulness and almost uncontrollable excitement. The lifted mood is connected with increased drive, leading to hyperactivity, an urge to speak and a lower need for sleep. The attention can no longer be maintained, often leading to a great level of distractedness. Self-esteem is frequently far overestimated with ideas of size or excessive optimism. The loss of normal social inhibitions can lead to careless, reckless and uncharacteristic behaviour inappropriate for the circumstances.
This is a disorder that is characterised by at least two episodes in which the affected individual’s mood and activity level is significantly disrupted. This disorder usually occurs in an elevated mood, increased drive and activity (hypomania or mania) then back to a slump in mood and reduced drive and activity (depression). Repeated hypomanic or manic episodes are also classified as bipolar.
For a long time, burnout was a “trend” diagnosis or was equated with depression. In the diagnoses manual, it is dismissed with “problems relating to difficulties in managing life”. In our years of experience, we have, however, been able to discern physiological differences to depression and only diagnose burnout when we can determine weakness or insufficiency in the adrenal glands, among other things. In turn, chronic stress plays an important role in the origin history. Chronic stress has strongly increased in recent years in our inhumane, fast-paced working world, designed for mere optimisation.
There is no uniform definition for burnout. Usually, a state of strong emotional and physical exhaustion through chronic overload or even ongoing illnesses in professional life are described.
Some symptoms overlap with the symptoms of depression – for example, listlessness, despair, tiredness, a feeling of emptiness and meaninglessness.
We essentially work with a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), clinical hypnosis and EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing).
What is important for depression is every type of resource activation and reframing negative cognitions. Resource refers to everything that calls up positive feelings. The therapy is complemented by mindfulness and stress management. Whenever possible, we work without psychiatric drugs, as these do not remove the cause, but only dampen symptoms.
For post-partum depression, it is important to us that mothers can bring their babies with them. With the professional support of a paediatric nurse, you can, on the one hand, concentrate fully and completely on your own therapy, and on the other hand, mother-child time can take place to learn to establish a loving and trusting mother-child relationship and handle the baby safely.
The therapy for mania and bipolar disorder is more complex and requires time. It is our philosophy to renounce psychiatric drugs when possible. Unfortunately, this is only very rarely possible for manic phases. Nevertheless, it is our desire to use the most suitable medication in the lowest possible dosage. As we are unable to know which medication this is in advance, in some circumstances, we have to try two to three consecutively and observe the client especially with the bipolar disorder clinically for several weeks to find out the optimum. This is a sensitive and lengthy process that only succeeds if there is a trustful, therapeutic relationship where the client can work with us proactively. Our top goal is to stabilise the mood both through psychotherapy (CBT, clinical hypnosis, EMDR) as well as, if necessary, medicinal therapy.
The therapy for burnout involves stress management, a healthy limitation, learning to say no and paying attention to oneself. The same measures as with depression apply alongside this.
We take a holistic approach to treatment. You usually spend the first 1 to 3 days in a suite at our partner clinic Privatklinik Bethanien in Zurich. There, an internal status is made. We therefore have an emergency station at our disposal and more than 250 specialists. The body is directly supported by our micronutrients right from the first day. The gut is cleansed, the organism detoxified and excess weight reduced.
Our CALDA Concept includes preventative and better ageing medicine, nutrition and lifestyle coaching. Our therapy extends over 7 days a week with 6 to 8 therapy hours a day.
Along with disorder-specific psychotherapy, we focus on alternative and complementary therapies such as yoga, meditation, breathing therapy, movement therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy and much more.
Part of the CALDA Concept and the holistic treatment is the Orthomolecular Medicine. This opens up, among other things, the opportunity to substitute the natural forerunners of our mood-modulating messenger substances in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine (balance deficits). This has a major advantage against psychiatric drugs that an immediate effect sets in entirely without any side-effects. Psychotherapy and orthomolecular medicine mutually accelerate the recovery process in a natural way.
Regenerative mitochondrial medicine is a partial area of orthomolecular medicine and should be explicitly mentioned when it comes to depression and burnout. Its use is aimed at restoring the disturbed mitochondria in their function as the powerhouses of the cells. The activity of the mitochondria is stimulated. Usually, the micronutrients are supplied per infusion.
It is proven that exercise and sport, ideally outdoors, have a strongly anti-depressive effect. Our personal training is precisely aimed at this. We develop an individual training programme with our clients.
With proactive, motivated participation in our personalised, holistic therapy programme, we are able to significantly improve your quality of life within the short period of time. Nevertheless, we cannot work miracles. Our organism needs time, time to heal – both physically and mentally. It is this time that you have to hand over to us. A four-week stay is the minimum that we require. Six to twelve weeks are certainly the optimum, depending on the situation.
Transfer to Everyday
For the transfer to everyday life following the first intensive therapy phase in the CALDA Clinic, a multiple-week, low-threshold continuing care can be a good idea. Our personal coach will accompany you for some time at home and support you in finding your way in your everyday life again and in implementing and affirming healthy strategies.
An alternative to this is our CALDA Meets Africa Program, which includes four weeks of initial phase therapy at the CALDA Clinic and three weeks of second phase therapy in Africa before you return home. Whether this programme is suitable for you, we have to figure out together beforehand.