What Possibilities Are There?
As with most things in life, treating depression and its effectiveness really depends on the individual.
However, it is generally recognized in the medical industry that the best treatment for depression is psychological treatment AND taking medication.
Regardless of the cause of the depression, psychological treatments and medications help alleviate the main symptoms.
It is best for someone with depression to work with their doctor or mental health professional to find the treatment that is right for them.
Some people respond well to psychological treatments, while others respond better to medication.
While some people only need "speaking" psychological treatment, others (including me!) Need BOTH psychological treatment and medication.
A word of warning: I am not saying that anyone suffering from depression should take medication. What I want to share with you for now is my experience with the depression medication I used to treat my depression.
Before we look at the effectiveness of depression medication, I think it is helpful to describe exactly what medication is used to treat depression.
Medicines to treat depression
The most common drugs used to treat depression are antidepressants.
What are antidepressants?
These are medications designed to reduce or alleviate the effects of depression.
Types of antidepressants
There are many types of antidepressants. Each type, family, or class has its own method to help with depression.
Each drug is slightly different within classes. There are side effects and warnings that are common to all classes of antidepressants, and many individual medications also have side effects or additional warnings.
Let's take a closer look at each family of antidepressants. Let's start with the one that most people have heard of.
SSRI stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. These drugs work by preventing the neurotransmitter serotonin from being reabsorbed by the nerve cell that released it, forcing the serotonin to continue to function actively.
- SNRI and SSNRI:
- These two terms are essentially synonymous.
Sertraline - that's what I use to treat my depression.
SNRI stands for norepinephrine serotonin reuptake inhibitor, while SSNRI stands for norepinephrine serotonin reuptake inhibitor, but there is really no noticeable difference.
Duloxetine and venlafaxine are SNRIs. I was treated with venlafaxine for 3 years before it no longer seemed to work.
There are other classes or families of antidepressants, but the 2 above are what I've used and I don't want this article to be too technical!
When it comes to antidepressants, one size does not fit everyone! Try the antidepressants prescribed by your doctor or psychiatrist only by trying until you find the right one for you.
In addition, there are attempts and errors with the dosage amount. Every time I took an antidepressant, my psychiatrist started with a low dose and increased it over time as needed.
As with all prescribed medications, side effects can occur. I was lucky with venlafaxine and sertraline because the only side effects I had with any antidepressant were headache and mild nausea.
These side effects only lasted for a few days, so it was a small price for the tremendous positive benefits they brought me.
It is important to note that a doctor or psychiatrist should monitor a person's antidepressant to determine if it is still working and whether the dosage is correct.
How do antidepressants work?
Antidepressants relieve the symptoms of depression.
These symptoms of depression are:
Feel extremely sad for no particular reason.
Loss of interest or enjoyment in the things you normally enjoy.
Sleep too much or too little.
Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt or worry.
Difficulty thinking, making decisions, or concentrating.
People with depression often have an imbalance in certain natural brain chemicals. Antidepressants therefore help the brain to restore its usual chemical balance and so relieve the symptoms.
I am often asked, "How long does it take for them to work?"
It took me 2 to 3 weeks for the antidepressants to work. However, my research shows that it can take up to six weeks after the first dose of medication to achieve an antidepressant effect.
Some people may take up to eight weeks or a little longer to feel better, and the maximum benefit will be felt after six months.
Antidepressants are generally very effective. Approximately 70% of people with severe depression begin to feel better with the first type of antidepressant they are prescribed.
Before I started taking antidepressants, my depression got worse. Although I used "therapy", my symptoms of depression were not very advanced. My "breakthrough" with my depression only happened when I started taking antidepressants.
The psychological treatments used by psychologists and psychiatrists very effectively help a person treat depression and even recover from it.
I would go so far as to say that my psychological treatment was critical to treating my depression as I now live a very happy and joyful life.
What are the psychological treatments?
One of the most effective psychological treatments is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).
CBT is a structured program that recognizes that the way people think affects the way they feel.
CBT teaches people to think rationally about common challenges and to help them change their thinking patterns and respond to specific situations.
I like to think of CBT as "my thoughts affect my feelings".
When people are depressed, they can think negatively:
As herself, for example "I'm a failure", "I wouldn't miss anyone if I died."
The world, e.g. "The world is a cruel and scary place."
Your future, for example "I have nothing to live and my life will not improve."
Negative thinking affects recovery and makes the person more susceptible to depression in the future. It is important to recognize unnecessary thoughts and replace them with more rational and realistic thoughts.
That's why I find CBT so powerful that it gives me the tools I need to challenge my negative thoughts.
Another psychological treatment is interpersonal therapy (IPT).
IPT is used when a person with depression is easily annoyed by comments from others. You can feel criticized if no criticism was planned. What IPT does is that it helps people find different ways to get along with others.
And then there is family therapy.
Family therapy helps family members and close friends learn about depression and recognize that it is a real disease that can be treated.
Relatives and close friends of a depressed person need to know more about the disease because their support and understanding are very important.
Last thoughts ...
A depressed person may need the help of an antidepressant to treat their depression and should consult their doctor. The earlier depression is treated, the faster the chances of recovery.
If the first antidepressant that a person tries doesn't work, they shouldn't be discouraged because they can try another. It can really make a difference if she helps with her depression.
Once a person starts taking an antidepressant, their mood should be closely monitored by a doctor or psychiatrist.
In addition to antidepressants, I strongly recommend that someone with depression consult a psychologist or psychiatrist for CBT.
This two-pronged approach has worked very well for me over the past 20 years and I will continue to take antidepressants and CBT to ensure that I maintain the high quality of life I have today.
Treatment for depression is available to help a person suffering from depression. Never give up! Depression isn't all of you, it's just part of you that can be treated.
Good news about treatments for depression
As you read the suicidal warning about some of the antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, or Tofranil, ask yourself what these drugs actually do to our brains and what their long-term effects will be. You may be wondering why access to treatment for depression that can destroy a person's life is so expensive in every sense of the word. But there is plenty of good news regarding treatments for depression that involve alternative methods.
A friend of mine is in deep depression and one of his lifelines is a call from his brother who calls him every day. Her brother is a former alcoholic and works as an AA volunteer. Maintaining supportive relationships is one of the keys to successfully treating depression. Contact an old friend and make sure you have someone who calls you regularly. If you expand your social circle through volunteer work, sports clubs and more, you can feel less isolated and distracted from your dark and deep thoughts.
Taking care of nutrition, exercise and sleep is key to lifestyle changes that can work wonders. Experts have even shown that regular exercise can improve mood and, in some cases, even suppress the need for antidepressants. Imagine you could survive without these drugs and really benefit from your depression treatment!
Through a long time of deep fears and work-related stress, I was able to improve the quality of sleep with a few simple techniques. I took melatonin, which helps us sleep. I used dried lavender under my pillow which helped me relax. Simple things like relaxing before bed and dimming the lights when you don't need them can also help. I have been using valerian as a herbal sleeping pill for many years and it has changed my life. A lack of sleep can disrupt your hormone and serotonin levels and negatively affect your serotonin level the next day, causing mood swings, negative thoughts and pessimism. Improving sleep quality is one of the most natural treatments for depression.
The other good news in the treatment of depression is that speech therapy or psychotherapy is now seen as an essential life aid and in particular helps patients avoid another episode of depression in the future. Depression medication will never teach us these skills to analyze our negative thoughts and make them look positive. Once we have learned this, we can deal with most situations.
Treatments for depression can include yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Natural light therapy or just the natural sun also help improve our mood, and especially those who suffer from herbal remedies are highly valued in most medical circles. However, you need to make sure that the company that offers them provides them. Manufacturers meet safety and purity standards that are controlled by the FDA.