CDS stands for Consumer Directed Services, and aides from the program provide a wide range of services for consumers with health needs, usually to help make it possible for the recipient to live in their home.
When it comes to depression the role of a CDS caregiver can be complex, but it’s also a wonderful way to help treat someone’s depression and keep them safe. Getting a CDS aide can be a good way to help severely depressed individuals have the safety nets and protection they need, without restricting their freedoms or diminishing quality of life.
To understand the role of a CDS aide when it comes to depression, we first need to talk about what depression is and the symptoms it causes.
Signs And Symptoms of Depression
Despite being a widely known illness, many people don’t know all of the signs and symptoms of depression. Not knowing the signs and symptoms of the illness can make it harder for you to identify if you or a loved one might be dealing with depression.
It’s also important for CDS aides to understand depression. Often clients may have depression in addition to other disorders, and in some cases, CDS aides may be brought in to help clients with severe depression on their own.
Knowing the signs and symptoms can help you get help sooner, recover faster, and identify signs of a depressive episode before it becomes serious.
Feeling Sadness, Emptiness, Hopelessness, or Worthless
This symptom is probably the best known and understood of all depression symptoms, but it’s still worth talking about.
Clinical depression is characterized by at least two weeks of feelings of intense sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, or worthlessness. It’s important to note that these feelings may or may not have a rational trigger, you may feel this way for no reason at all.
Even when depression is triggered by outside stressors, like illness, problems at work, or social conflict, it’s still serious.
If you notice that a loved one or client seems to be sadder than usual, or if they start talking about feeling hopeless or worthless, those are good signs that they may be dealing with depression.
Loss Of Interest In Normal Activities
Another common sign of depression is losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy. It’s important to note that this applies to things you used to enjoy, not just normal activities that most people do.
Loss of interest in normal activities can be one of the most frustrating symptoms for the person with depression, and also one of the hardest symptoms for caregivers to tackle. However, effectively managing loss of interest can also be a great way to help someone with depression get back on their feet and start feeling better.
Lack Of Energy
Often people who suffer from Depression may seem lazy to others, but the truth is that the illness often saps people of energy and ambition. Lacking energy makes it incredibly hard to get up and do the things that you would usually do, making this one of the more disruptive symptoms of depression.
Intervening and supporting a lack of energy can be difficult, but even small accomplishments while a depressed person is feeling tired can help manage their symptoms.
Depression is usually characterized by people feeling sad or hopeless. It’s less common for people to talk about the fact that depression can also make you feel angry, or make people more prone to angry outbursts.
It’s important for caregivers, including CDS aides and loved ones, to understand that these outbursts are a normal part of depression, but also that the depressed person may not be in full control of what they say or do.
Now that we’ve covered some of the most important symptoms of depression, here are a few more common symptoms to watch for:
● Easy irritability
● Seeming withdrawn
● Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
● Loss of appetite
● Seeming sluggish
● Cognitive discrepancies
● Suicidal thoughts or actions
● Unexplained aches and pains
In addition to understanding the symptoms of depression, it’s also important to know that your clients may have different types of depression.
Types Of Depression
While most people will only show one or two different kinds of depression, people may also move between different kinds of depression or show different symptom combinations as a reaction to different stressors.
Here are some of the most common types of depression CDS aides might be called in to help with:
Anxious Distress: this kind of depression is characterized by feeling out of control, either of their life or their own actions.
Mixed Features: This type of depression may mix the symptoms of both depression and mania, and your client may or may not go back and forth between the two.
Melancholia: melancholia is a more general type of depression, but is usually shown through a lack of enthusiasm, even for things the depressed person once enjoyed.
Atypical: This type of depression is used for depression that doesn’t fall into other categories, or that is temporary and can be resolved through the intervention of the CDS aide or other healthcare providers.
Psychotic Features: Depression may or may not be the main diagnosis, but your client exhibits the symptoms of depression along with hallucinations.
Catatonia: Your client may suffer from unintentional or accidental movements. They may also show slowed movement or occasionally feel as though they are unable to move at all.
Peripartum Onset: This kind of depression occurs during pregnancy, and may or may not be followed by postpartum depression after giving birth.
Seasonal Depression: Seasonal depression follows the changes of the seasons, and is usually worst in the Winter, though not everyone with seasonal depression follows this pattern.
Treatment Goals For Depression
Identifying treatment goals for depression is extremely important for doctors, CDS aides and other healthcare providers. These goals guide how you treat depression and also provide markers for determining which treatments are helpful.
Here are some of the most common treatment goals for depression:
● Reduce suicide risk.
● Reduce overall symptoms of depression.
● Improve ability to function at home and work.
● Learn coping mechanisms to prevent the depression from returning or getting worse.
Of course, if you want to meet your treatment goals you’ll also need to know what treatment options there are for depression.
Treatment For Depression
While there isn’t a ‘cure’ for depression, there is a wide range of possible treatments that can help improve symptoms or even eliminate the symptoms entirely.
It’s important for most people dealing with depression to keep up with their treatments, which is one area a CDS aide can help. It’s also common for people with depression to need to stay in regular contact with their doctor and other care providers, with check-ins as often as once a week or once every two weeks.
Here are some of the most common and most effective treatments for depression:
● Medication Combined with Psychotherapy
● An Active Lifestyle
● Diet or sleep changes
When it comes to depression it’s rare for one treatment to deal with all the symptoms or to immediately make the person feel better. That’s why it’s important to know how to care for someone with depression since their symptoms will likely persist until the right balance of medication and therapies are found.
Tips For Caring For Someone With Depression
Caring for someone with depression can occasionally be stressful or difficult because of the nature of the illness. However, if you know how to deal with the common symptoms of depression, and how to help a depressed person interact with you and process what you’re saying, it doesn’t have to be hard.
Here are some important tips for caring for someone with depression:
Use Slow-Paced Interaction In A Low, Firm, Tone, slowing things down and staying firm gives your client a chance to process what you’re saying or asking. Staying firm can actually help your client relax and trust that you know what you’re doing, and that you will be able to maintain control even if they can’t.
Encourage Them To Verbalize Feelings. Getting their emotions and feelings off their chest can be very helpful. You can use leading statements and open-ended questions to help your client open up.
Maintain a Therapeutic Distance. It can be tempting to get very close to depressed clients, but that can hinder progress. Maintaining professional distance makes it easier to talk to you.
Use Patience and Empathy. Being reactive or cold may reinforce feelings of helplessness or worthlessness, so it’s important to be patient and empathetic as much as possible.
Encourage Self Care. Getting depressed people to do simple things like maintain personal hygiene and take care of their bodies can also be therapeutic for their minds. Feeling good often starts with realistic and practical self-care.
Stay Calm. Even when your depressed client seems irritated or expresses anger, it’s important to stay calm and deal with them rationally. When possible, be supportive and use behavior modification techniques to help your client calm down and behave rationally.
Give Praise When Earned. Depressed clients often don’t recognize their own strengths and skills, so praising their strengths or fortitude for dealing with a problem well can help them feel more in control and capable.
Be Mindful Of Spiritual Needs. Religion and spirituality can often bring a lot of comfort to depressed clients, so it’s important to leave space for their spiritual needs, even if you don’t share them.
Help Them Feel Life Is Worth Living. Emphasizing the good parts of life, and helping your client find things that they are looking forward to are both important techniques for helping a depressed client function better and manage their symptoms.
Hopefully, now that we’ve covered the most common types, symptoms, and treatments for depression you have a better idea of what to expect as a CDS aide to someone with depression.