What is Our Depression Treatment Philosophy?
Major depression can create serious obstacles for women who are struggling to overcome eating disorders, alcoholism, drug abuse, and other addictive disorders. Depression symptoms often overlap with the symptoms of co-occurring anorexia, bulimia, and other disorders. This complicates recovery for a woman with major depressive disorder by interfering with her ability to:
- consistently follow instructions for taking medications prescribed to treat symptoms
- actively engage in outpatient therapy for depression and co-occurring disorders
- avoid destructive choices in her efforts to cope with symptoms
When medication and outpatient treatment for depression fail to provide relief from symptoms, feelings of hopelessness and emotional despair can overwhelm both the sufferer and her loved ones.
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, each woman suffering from major depression receives consistent emotional support as she begins to learn healthy ways to experience her mood and emotions. Our treatment team takes a holistic, integrated approach to support women who suffer from severe depression in finding stability and peace in recovery. They also recognize that a long history of struggling with depression symptoms can trigger addictive behavior patterns, and vice versa, which requires expert care. That’s why many women require more integrated treatment for major depression and other disorders. Specifically:
- Women whose depression symptoms are associated with disturbances in their relationship with food and eating require support from experts in co-occurring depression and eating disorder recovery.
- Women who abuse addictive substances such as drugs, alcohol or prescription medications to treat symptoms will need assistance from specialists in the treatment of co-occurring depression with substance abuse and chemical dependency.
Our Treatment Helps Manage the Emotions of Major Depression
Supported by leading mood disorder treatment experts, each resident suffering from a major depressive disorder will explore ways to become more mindful of her feelings. Our severe depression treatment program encompasses the entirety of the woman’s being:
- Social relationships
Each resident also receives coaching and reinforcement in key areas of interpersonal skills, distress tolerance and management, reality acceptance skills, and emotional regulation skills.
One of the benefits of major depression treatment at a holistic residential treatment center like Timberline Knolls is that a woman will realize she is not alone, either in experiencing depression or struggling to recover from co-occurring eating disorders or addiction. We understand the importance of providing an environment that helps women feel secure expressing their experience with periods of depression without being judged for their disease. A woman with depression will learn from staff and other residents who understand her struggle to make constructive choices and seek necessary support when her feelings become overwhelming.
How Do Treatment Plans Address Severe Depression With Co-Occurring Addictions?
Given the high incidence of co-occurring addictions in women with major depression, treatment success depends on an accurate diagnosis by a multidisciplinary treatment team experienced in the assessment of both mood disorders and substance abuse. Addiction can develop as the sufferer attempts to manage the symptoms of severe depression, and depressed mood can develop or worsen in the context of an active addiction. Accurate diagnosis is essential. It can be a difficult and complicated task, even for experienced psychiatrists, to distinguish major depressive disorder symptoms from complications of substance abuse or chemical dependency and vice versa.
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, major depression treatment plans, like those for other addictive disorders and psychiatric conditions, consider all accumulated knowledge about a resident. We utilize the experience of our entire depression and addiction treatment staff to customize her care. This collaborative approach is one of the distinguishing elements of treatment for depressive disorders, eating disorders and other addictive disorders at a leading rehab facility like Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.
Assessment of a woman’s treatment needs begins early in our admissions review process. We ask both the woman and her family to provide information about her depression symptoms, issues with friends and family, and challenges in school or work. We also seek her permission to communicate with previous treatment providers to gather additional information about medical history, psychiatric history, past depression treatment progress, and stumbling blocks to achieving or maintaining recovery from severe depression.
Thorough Intake Assessment
Once a woman is admitted, she undergoes a comprehensive medical and psychiatric assessment. She is then assigned a multi-disciplinary treatment team with several members whom she will meet individually after she settles in on campus:
- Primary therapist
- Family therapist
- Psychiatrist (MD)
- Internal medicine physician (MD)
- Addiction or eating disorders specialist
- Registered dietician (RD)
Each treatment team member provides an assessment within the woman’s first days at Timberline Knolls. The findings are integrated and reviewed with our entire clinical staff, including other therapists and psychiatrists. As a result, our full knowledge about successful major depression treatment is integrated into each woman’s treatment plan.
Taking Ownership of Treatment
Our staff believes that it is vital for each woman to take ownership of her treatment and recovery from the outset. Once her depression treatment plan is formulated, our team’s recommendations are shared with the woman in her first care conference, which will include her primary therapist, family therapist, psychiatrist, nursing staff and lodge staff. This cooperative approach gives her input into the goals for her treatment and encourages her to choose among several elective elements of her program. Our care conferences also set the stage for ongoing collaboration between the woman and her treatment team throughout her stay in residential treatment. She will be asked to sign off on her treatment objectives at the outset and at regularly established intervals throughout the course of her treatment for major depression, and any other co-occurring disorders.
Looking Forward to Recovery
Following the initial care conference, the treatment team will meet weekly throughout the resident’s stay, and consult each other informally throughout the week to monitor her progress and ensure that her recovery needs are being met. If new symptoms appear, a woman may undergo additional psychological testing or medical evaluation to include in her depression treatment all relevant aspects of her health.
Additionally, women with other medical symptoms from co-occurring eating disorders or addictions may be referred to other healthcare providers such as a dentist, cardiologist, gynecologist, orthopedic surgeon, or gastroenterologist.
What Will You Experience At Our Treatment Center?
Comprehensive, Integrated Treatment and Recovery
Every woman recovering from major depressive disorders, addiction, alcoholism, or eating disorders must develop tools she can trust to give her the best chances at keeping her illness in remission. We work with our residents to help them identify the conscious choices they are making throughout their day when they confront symptoms associated with their depression. Our supportive team offers continuous feedback and reinforcement as women learn to employ new tools in situations where intense feelings would have triggered them to turn to isolation, hopelessness, suicide thoughts, alcohol, drugs, or other destructive choices to cope. As they gain confidence in their ability to maintain stability in their improved mood and make healthy choices, women experience improved self-esteem, serenity, body acceptance, reduced stress and anxiety, and healing of trauma.
Our comprehensive and individualized treatment plans use approaches proven to help women learn to experience their emotions in healthy ways and develop the tools to recover from depressive disorders. Specific examples include:
- one-on-one therapy sessions
- expressive and recreational therapy
- education about the disease process and recovery
- group sessions to teach and practice behavior modification and emotion regulation
- family therapy (including family participation, if appropriate)
- twelve-step facilitation, including onsite and offsite meetings of EA (Emotions Anonymous) and Alanon
- weekly psychiatric consultation
- trauma awareness and recovery
- educational services for school-age women
Expressive Therapy Provides a Productive Outlet for Complex Emotions
Expressive therapy has been clinically proven to promote healing and recovery, in addition to providing a needed creative outlet for women during their treatment and beyond. For women who may have suffered setbacks in their schooling or career because of unaddressed or under-addressed depression symptoms, expressive therapy may be particularly therapeutic and healing.
Our expressive therapy program includes a variety of outlets a woman can choose based on her personal interests:
- art therapy in a historical art studio that supports painting, sculpture and other media
- dance/movement therapy
- empowerment group (experiential trauma recovery)
- outdoor recreation such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, badminton or gardening on our 43-acre campus
Why Do We Focus on Co-Existing Conditions With Severe Depression?
- Reduce feelings of self-hatred, shame, or anxiety associated with mood disorders or other co-occurring psychiatric conditions, or
- Control intense emotions related to unresolved traumatic experiences in her past, which may be exacerbated during an active depression episode
Women suffering from major depression and a co-occurring eating disorder or chemical dependency face unique challenges that require specialized treatment and support in recovery. For these women, the holistic, integrated treatment approach at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center can inspire new hope for recovery from depression and confidence in a bright future.
Co-occurring anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are recognized frequently in women with major depressive disorder. However, medical and behavioral health professionals, whose primary concern is treating an eating disorder, do not always address severe depression adequately. Medical researchers have found that a large percentage of those who have depression also have at least one other mental illness and/or personality disorder. Co-occurring disorders describe a situation when depression persists along with at least one other psychiatric illness that is active and affects the user’s mood disorder. Women with co-occurring disorders tend to have more severe symptoms of each illness and higher potential for relapse.
Examples of psychiatric conditions frequently co-exist with depression are:
- substance abuse disorders
- eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, compulsive overeating disorder, food addiction)
- anxiety disorders
- panic disorders
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- various phobias and compulsions
For women with co-occurring disorders, attempts to treat only the mood disorder, substance abuse, or eating disorder in isolation is at best incomplete, and at worst counterproductive. This is true both for women whose symptoms of addiction or withdrawal are wrongly associated with major depression and for those inaccurately diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder. In each case, overcoming the ramifications of ineffective treatment to reach life-long recovery requires both an understanding of each disease and empathy for the complex emotions the sufferer experiences.