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The most researched and tested depression treatment options that work include a mix of medication and psychotherapy. These treatments address the psychological, biological and social causes of depression. People tend to assume that depression can be solved by well-meaning words like “stay strong” and “you’ll get through this” or some sort of quotations. Such statements can comfort you when you are feeling sad but might be useless when you are suffering from depression. The following overview will give you information about the available depression treatment methods.
Why are there differences in reactions to depression treatment?
The effectiveness of depression treatments varies from person to person because of biochemical, social, hormonal or genetic differences. As a result, what works for you may not work for another. If one treatment option does not work for you, try another. How long does depression treatment take? Depression treatment can last for months or years since each individual responds differently to different types of treatment. For some people, it takes time and many attempts to find the best treatment option which works for them.
Does Depression Require Treatment?
Depression is a real mental illness requiring treatment. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening and cause significant negative effects which may make life unbearable. The most obvious reason to get depression treatment is to feel better and improve your life.
The following list cites advantages of depression treatment
- Improves mood by reducing irritability, being teary and sadness
- Helps in regaining enjoyment in pleasurable activities
- Solves sleep problems
- Reduces fatigue
- Improves coping skills
- Improves problem-solving skills
- Leads to better concentration
- Helps to maintain reasonable appetite
- Reduces reckless behaviours like gambling and risky sexual behaviour
- Reduces suicidal ideation and behaviour
Medications for Depression Treatment
Prescribed medication can help you to conquer depression. Drugs used to treat depression are called antidepressants. Antidepressants help in the management of symptoms of depression. They are prescribed by psychiatrists or sometimes by other doctors.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
The most common medications which psychiatrists prescribe for depression treatment are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is a chemical in the human blood, brain and bowels. It is a neurotransmitter which helps to regulate mood. Thus, low levels of serotonin in the body cause depression.
A higher level of serotonin leads to happy feelings, good appetite and improved cognitive functions. Therefore, SSRIs increase the action of the “happiness hormone.” Some widely used SSRI antidepressants include brand names like Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft and Celexa.
Selective serotonin and norepinephrine inhibitors
Another group of antidepressants are the selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRNIs). SSRNIs have the same mechanism as SSRIs. In addition to serotonin, they also boost norepinephrine -another neurotransmitter released by the the brain as a response to stress.
The function of “the stress hormone” is to facilitate clearer and faster thinking and improve the efficiency of muscles preparing you for the fight-and-flight response. A deficiency of norepinephrine can cause depression. SSRNIs assist the body to fix that deficiency. The proper treatment and dosage for antidepressants depends on individual reactions, doctor’s competence and your economic ability. SSRNIs tend to be more expensive and efficient than SSRIs. They include brand names such as Effexor, Pristiq and Cymbalta.
Why are drugs used to treat depression?
Medication is an effective way of dealing with the biological aspect of depression involving low serotonin and norepinephrine chemicals in the body. However, drugs have side effects like nausea, weight gain, dizziness, sexual dysfunction among others depending on individual reactions to the drugs. Your doctor may prescribe other medications for depression. However, other drugs which do not fall under SSRIs and SSRNIs often have more side effects.
Psychotherapies for Depression Treatment
There are several types of research verified psychotherapies whose effectiveness approved by mental health professionals. Psychotherapy addresses the behavioural, social and psychological factors which increase depressive feelings. Psychotherapists or counsellors may use a mix of several therapies to treat depression based on personalised needs. The following 3 common researched-based psychological therapies in depression treatment can help you to conquer depression.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Some behaviours and irrational thoughts reinforce symptoms of depression. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) confronts cognition and behaviour which increase depressive symptoms. CBT aims to change the unrealistic thoughts and a sense of defeat which sustain depression.
Depression treatment using CBT teaches you how to replace distorted thoughts with more constructive ones. In CBT, you work with your counsellor to solve your problematic cognition. You may attend sessions once a week for 3-4 months depending on your progress.
In person-centred therapy for depression, your counsellor or therapist offers empathy, acceptance, unconditional positive regard and respect. Person-centred therapy aims to increase self-reliance and self-awareness. It’s based on the premise you have your on viewpoint in life and have the power to find solutions for yourself.
The counsellor does not analyse your behaviour or offer guidance, but is a supportive companion to listen and talk to. The aim of person centred therapy is to enhance your self-discovery. Thus, you have the power to direct the therapy session how you want and you decide what to talk about. Person-centred therapy enhances your self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and trust in your decisions.
Behavioural activation therapy
Behaviour activation therapy originates from behaviourist psychological theories. Behavioural Activation (BA) for depression treatment targets specific behaviours which encourage depressive symptoms. It aims to disengage you from behaviour which increases your risk for depression and increase involvement in pleasurable activities.
BA focuses on coping with your negativity, developing personal life goals and solving problems which hinder you from aversive control. Therefore, it targets symptoms of depression like lack of enjoyment in daily activities, impaired problem-solving skills and risky behaviour.
Why is psychotherapy used to treat depression?
Psychotherapy helps with stress reduction, developing coping skills, strengthening psychosocial support, behaviour modification and lifestyle changes. Some people with depression can experience significant improvement with psychological treatment only. Other therapies for depression treatment include interpersonal therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, and psychodynamic therapies. The choice of therapy depends on your therapist’s expertise and your personal needs.
Is Depression Treatment Effective?
To work effectively, mental health providers customise depression treatment individual clients. A combination of psychotherapy and medications to address all factors which contribute to depression ensures maximum effectiveness. However, it may take weeks before the depression treatment you are taking starts to show viable results. Therefore, there is no one method which works for everybody. Consequently, it’s important to seek medical advice from a professional. Before taking other forms of treatment, consult with your doctor. Confirming the interaction of natural supplements with antidepressant treatments will prevent adverse reactions.
Newer treatments like the recently launched depression treatment headset are coming up and there is hope that in the future ordinary human beings will access such treatment and manage their depression without the need for medications which cause other negative effects to the body. Although both medication and psychotherapy have benefits and risks, depression can be treated. Therefore, with proper depression treatment, you can feel good and manage to live a fulfilling life despite suffering from the mental illness. You can get better.
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.