Most people experiencing depression get better with treatment. Effective diagnosis and treatment can help reduce even severe depression symptoms. And with effective treatment, most people with depression feel better, often within weeks, and can return to normal daily activities with ease.
Once identified, depression almost always can be treated either by therapy, medications (antidepressants), or both. Some people with milder forms of depression do well with therapy alone. Others with moderate to severe depression might benefit from antidepressants. It may take a few weeks or months before you begin to feel a change in your mood. The most common forms of depression treatment follow.
Researchers are looking for ways to better treat depression among all groups of people. Some people don't respond to standard depression treatment and might be interested in trying these alternatives:
Diet changes - increase the amount of Omega 3 nutrients in your diet, as well as your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eliminate or avoid sugar.
Eastern medicine - You might want to look into other systems such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology, Reiki or yoga for a different cultural perspective on the illness of depression. Many systems describe depression as a lack of vital life energy in the body and work to increase this energy through specific practices.
Electroconvulsive therapy - (ECT) or "shock therapy" has greatly improved in recent years nd can provide relief for people with severe depression who have not been able to feel better with other treatments.
Exercise - Physical activity can reduce depression symptoms. Consider taking up any form of exercise you enjoy.
Meditation and relaxation - Learning to control the mind through meditation can help you make a connection between your thoughts with physical symptoms. Relaxing the body can also help you manage or reduce stress.
St. John's Wort - The extract from this plant has been used for centuries in many folk and herbal remedies to treat depression.
Depression medications affect everyone differently and it's important to remember that one-size-does-not-fit-all in terms of drugs. This is because the exact pathological reason for depression remains unknown and different medications may or may not work well in different people. In generally, antidepressants normalize brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, most frequently serotonin and norepinephrine. Other antidepressants work on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Types of antidepressant medications that help keep the neurotransmitters at the correct levels are:
The newest and most popular types of antidepressant medications are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and include:
It can take 8 - 12 weeks to feel the effect of an antidepressant, although you may notice some improvements in your mood before that. If you don't noticed improvements in your mood and thoughts consult your doctor. Your doctor might consider increasing medication dosage, combining medications or switching to a new medication. Finally, antidepressants may cause side effects in some people which are usually not problematic and don't last very long. However, any unusual reactions or side effects that interfere with normal functioning should be reported to a doctor immediately.
Psychotherapy treats depression by talking about your condition and related issues with a mental health specialist such as a counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker training in counseling or psychosocial therapy. For mild to moderate depression, psychotherapy may be the best treatment option. However, for major depression or for certain people, psychotherapy may not be enough.
Some psycho therapy treatments programs are short term and last from10-20 weeks, while other treatments are longer. Treatment will depend on the needs of the individual. Several types of psychotherapy are effective for depression. The most commonly used types of therapy used to treat depression include:
Cognitive beahvioral therapy - CBT addresses negative styles of thinking and behaving that may contribute to depression. The goal of CBT is to identify and change behavior patterns to lead to a happier life.
Interpersonal therapy - During interpersonal therapy, people become aware of troubled personal relationships and resolve feelings of resentment that may cause depression or make it worse.
If you are thinking about hurting or killing yourself, please ask for help! If you can't find someone to talk with, write down your thoughts. Try to remember and write down the things you are grateful for. List the people who are your friends and family, and care for you. Write about your hopes for the future. Read what you have written when you need to remind yourself that your life is important.
If you have thoughts of suicide call:
You can also check in your phone book for the number of a local suicide crisis center. Hotlines and centers help you talk through problems, develop a plan of action and identify where to go for more help in person. You also can talk someone you trust in your family, a clergy person or a doctor about your thoughts.
Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the vast majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Intensive research into the illness has resulted in the development of medications, psychotherapies, and other methods to treat people with this disabling disorder.