The range of treatments for affective disorders
Affective disorders, along with anxiety disorders, are among the most common mental illnesses. According to rough estimates, at least 10 to 17 per cent of the population is affected. The best-known example of affective disorders is depression. It is by far the most common affective disorder.
Many famous personalities experience or have suffered from it, such as former US President Abraham Lincoln, writers Mark Twain, Wilhelm Busch and Franz Kafka, and world-famous painter Pablo Picasso.
Examples of a particularly sad and severe progression are actor Robin Williams and Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, both of whom ended their lives due to their illness.
-Bipolar affective disorder
-Recurrent depressive disorder
What exactly is an affective disorder?
Affective disorder is a collective term for a whole group of mental illnesses, all of which are characterised by a pathologically altered mood and distorted motivation. Affective disorders typically run in phases that can last for different lengths of time, from a few weeks to many months or even years, and typically repeat over time. In principle, however, they can also occur acutely, just once or even chronically.
Different types of affective disorders
The affective disorders group includes the following conditions:
With a share of around 65 percent, depression is the most common and probably also the best-known mental illness from the affective disorders group. Those affected suffer from a clearly depressed mood as well as a persistent lack of enjoyment and interest. Another characteristic is a strong reduction in motivation.
People with depression withdraw noticeably, neglect previously beloved hobbies and activities, and increasingly take less care of themselves, even to the point of lacking personal hygiene. They sink into negative thought spirals, feel worthless and can hardly take pleasure in anything any more. This can also lead to suicidal thoughts, which without help from outside can in the worst case lead to suicide.
If depression reoccurs after a period, it is called recurrent depressive disorder.
Depending on the duration of the phase and the severity of the symptoms, depression is classified according to three levels of severity:
Other symptoms of depression
In addition to the above-mentioned characteristics, the following symptoms often also occur with depression:
- Sleep disorders
- Appetite disorders
- Weight fluctuations
- Severe anxiety
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Concentration problems
- Decreased self-esteem
- Rapid-onset fatigue
- Loss of libido
Mania, also known as manic syndrome, is the exact opposite of depression, with “positive” behaviours exaggerated for no apparent reason. Activity and drive are also greatly enhanced.
Those affected are often very restless, hardly sleep at all and often grossly overestimate themselves and their abilities. This often leads to actions and behaviour that seem completely inappropriate for the situation at hand. It’s not uncommon for them to spend money recklessly, chase after unrealistic goals and make decisions without any regard for the consequences.
Sex drive is also usually strongly disinhibited and is often acted out accordingly, which often leads to relationship and social problems.
Mania is also divided into three degrees of severity. The mildest form is called hypomania.
Symptoms of mania
Typical signs of mania are:
- Excessive drive and hyperactivity
- Unnaturally elevated mood
- A strong urge to talk
- Erratic thinking
- Concentration problems
- Low need for sleep
- Overestimation of self to the point of megalomania
- Increased libido and disinhibited sexual behaviour
- Unrealistic plans and rash actions
Affective disorders can be either unipolar or bipolar. Unipolar means that there is only one clinical presentation. This is particularly common with depression. It is predominantly unipolar. Unipolar manias, on the other hand, are observed only very rarely.
Manias occur more frequently in connection with bipolar disorder, in which depressive phases alternate with manic phases.
Bipolar disorder used to be called manic-depressive disorder. However, this term is no longer used today.
This refers to a lasting mild depressive mood that lasts for at least two years, but does not fulfil the criteria of a full depression.
In cyclothymia, there is an alternation between mildly depressive and mildly manic phases, which don’t (yet) match the severity of bipolar disorder.
Causes: How do affective disorders develop?
Exactly how an affective disorder develops has not yet been clearly explained. What is certain, however, is that there is not just one cause, but that an interplay of several different factors and influences is responsible for the development of affective disorders. These include:
There are indications that a predisposition to the development of an affective disorder can be inherited. This means that the personal risk of developing an affective disorder increases if there are already cases of affective disorders in the family. This means that more cases of affective disorders can be observed in some families than in others. However, it has not yet been possible to determine which genes are responsible for this.
- Neurobiological factors
In people with affective disorders, a change in brain metabolism has also been observed. The balance of important neurotransmitters in the brain, which are responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses, is often disturbed in those affected. A disturbed hormone balance or an acute hormonal change, such as that which occurs after childbirth, are also considered to be triggers for the occurrence of affective disorders, such as postpartum depression.
- Physical illnesses
However, depressive symptoms can also be caused by physical diseases, such as viral infections or certain metabolic diseases, e.g. hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism or diabetes mellitus. Therefore, it is always important to carry out a detailed medical examination with blood tests at the first appearance of an affective disorder.
Various drugs can also promote or even cause an affective disorder as an undesirable side effect. These include certain cancer drugs, such as cytostatics, heart and blood pressure lowering drugs, but also psychotropic drugs.
- Stressful childhood experiences
People with affective disorders have, more often than average, experienced stressful or even traumatic experiences in childhood, such as parental separation, loss, abuse, bullying, etc.
- Chronic stress
Triggers for an affective disorder are often also recent stressful situations, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, long-term work overload, conflicts with a partner or with a family member, a divorce, a serious illness, etc.
Affective disorders: Common associated and concurrent diseases
Affective disorders are often accompanied by other mental illnesses. These include:
What treatments are available for affective disorders?
Affective disorders are very serious mental illnesses from which those affected find it difficult to recover on their own. Unlike in the case of fleeting sadness or moodiness, outsiders can usually do little, even with a lot of consolation and encouraging words.
Without professional treatment, the illness usually deteriorates visibly and there is a risk of being unable to work, becoming financially in debt and becoming socially isolated. It is not uncommon for severe depression to end fatally, when the sufferer sees no other way out than to end their life.
That is why it is very important to get professional help as early as possible and to start a comprehensive treatment.
Conventional medicine is primarily focused on psychotherapy and the use of psychotropic drugs.
We do things differently!
We avoid, wherever possible, the use of psychotropic drugs. This is because drugs can also be responsible for symptoms of depression. In order to be able to treat the complex symptoms of affective disorders in a comprehensive manner without the use of medication, the CALDA Clinic uses a multimodal approach. This is a holistic approach in which particularly effective and proven therapy methods from different disciplines are combined in a finely tuned way.
The CALDA Concept: Let us help you!
As a client of the CALDA Clinic, you will receive 1-to-1 therapy specially tailored to your needs in accordance with the CALDA Concept. This is a tailor-made and highly effective precision therapy that is holistically oriented: scientifically founded methods from classical medicine are combined with especially proven healing methods from complementary medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and orthomolecular medicine.
The main advantage for you is that treatment using the CALDA Concept works very effectively on different levels of the organism and is extremely solution-oriented. As a result, quite astonishing results can be achieved within a short time – and usually without the use of psychotropic drugs!
The CALDA Concept
Our guiding principle and our promise to you:
We treat the causes, not the symptoms!
Whenever possible, we work without psychotropic drugs!
We dedicate our time and our entire know-how exclusively to one single client.
The CALDA Concept: The basis of every treatment is correct diagnostics
The basis of every treatment following the CALDA Concept is a comprehensive and extremely detailed diagnosis. Only in this way can the underlying causes and disease correlations be meticulously uncovered and specifically treated, which otherwise unfortunately often remain hidden.
The CALDA Concept: Our expertise for your health!
All benefits, contents and methods of the CALDA Concept can be read in detail here.
In addition, you can inform yourself in detail about the various programs of the CALDA Concept here.
In the case of affective disorders, we recommend that you participate in the CALDA Full Program.