When you’re given a diagnosis of depression, the first thing we’d like you to remember is that there is help.
A health care provider should talk to you about the history of your symptoms, such as how long you’ve been having them and the severity of them. Symptoms might include sleeping too much, insomnia, loss of appetite or eating too much, if you’ve had thoughts of suicide or anything else that may be troubling enough to interrupt your lifestyle. He or she will also want to know about alcohol or drug use, if any.
The problem with depression might be temporary, or you might need long-term therapy, but whatever the situation, know that help is available.
You’ll want to work closely with your healthcare professional to figure out the best treatment for your type of depression. Then keep in close contact about side effects you might have with prescribed drugs or treatment procedures. Alternatively you may be able to work through your troubles with a natural response. More on that as we go, but for now let’s chat about the mainstream medical approach to depression.
Some different types of depression
The appropriate medical treatment for your depression diagnosis will depend on the results of the evaluation.
- Some people can work through depression with psychotherapy.
- Your depression diagnosis might be “chemical,” meaning that something is preventing your body from producing the chemicals it needs to ward off normal depression. Some people may require antidepressants, plus psychotherapy. The good thing about antidepressant medications is that they can bring relief quickly and effectively, but remember that medications only masks the symptoms. They don’t cure depression.
- You may have situational depression, which means that you’re suffering from an incident or thoughts that may have preceded the depression.
Many folks need some kind of relief from the symptoms of depression at some time in their lives. This changing world and all the problems that come with change might cause you to worry and fret about your future. When depression begins to get in the way of living life to the fullest, you should definitely consult your health care provider.
Life’s problems can be overwhelming at times and negative thoughts and attitudes could sneak into your mind no matter what you do to prevent them. When you see your doctor for depression, you’ll be given a complete psychological evaluation and a medical evaluation to establish whether you have a psychological type of depression or whether it might be caused by a medical condition.
Sometimes, health care providers are quick to focus on medicating depression rather than also pursuing the psychological aspects. Before you agree to medication, ask your doctor about referring you to a psychologist to assess whether this type of treatment should be included in your therapy.
Depression treatment options
Treatments for depression are many and as varied as the types of depression that affect people during their lifetimes.
Depression will likely affect everyone either personally or through a family member with depression at some time during their lives. Today, it seems, depression diagnoses are more prevalent than ever because of complicated lifestyles and feeling like we’ve lost control.
Depression treatment options depend upon the type of depression that’s diagnosed.
Anti-depressants and psychological counseling are among the methods of depression treatment most used by health care providers. Medications can alleviate symptoms, but do not cure them, so seeing a specialist who diagnoses and treats mental health conditions can be helpful when used with the medication.
Pharmaceuticals prescribed for depression
The antidepressants most prescribed by doctors today for depression treatment include SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac, Paxil and Celexa, SNRIs (Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) such as Effexor, Cymbalta and Pristiq, NDRIs (Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors, Atypical antidepressants such as Desyrel and Remeron, tricyclic antidepressants and MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors) such as Parnate and Nardil. It’s worth noting that each of these has side effects which you can learn about by doing an internet search.
The strategy your health care provider takes to treat your depression symptoms depend on whether you need mood-stabilizers, stimulants or help with anxiety. You may end up taking a combination of antidepressants, a strategy known as augmentation. Medication treatment may begin on a hit and miss basis. Everyone is different, and you may have to wait for the exact one or combination to work for you.
Besides medications and counseling, there are other methods of depression treatment that may work if all else has failed. Treatments such as vagus nerve stimulation use electrical impulses that are targeted to a surgically implanted generator. Powerful magnetic fields alter brain activity in a depression treatment called Transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Treat depression naturally: Your self-help options
If you have a problem taking certain medications or you simply prefer not to, there are various lifestyle changes and home remedies that are also considered effective depression treatments. Even if you’re taking antidepressants, you may want to follow a program of self-help. Self-help remedies can include abstaining from alcohol and illicit drugs, improving your nutrition, getting regular aerobic exercise and getting enough rest.
There are several natural ways to treat depression and possibly avoid taking antidepressants.
IMPORTANT: Before you try a natural remedy, be sure to check with your health care provider and make sure that it doesn’t interfere with other medications you might be taking. Some natural remedies work nicely with antidepressants and some may actually cause harm, so be sure you’re doing the right thing.
One thing you can do that works with antidepressants is to combine psychotherapy or counseling sessions along with the medication. Sometimes, symptoms of depression, such as sadness or anger can be alleviated by understanding what’s happening and why you’re having these feelings.
HERBS AND VITAMINS
Some herbal remedies work wonders in treating depression symptoms. Herbs such as St. John’s Wort and SAM-e help produce chemicals in your body that naturally work to help manage depression. The caveat with taking herbal remedies is that it could interfere with certain medications, so be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements. That goes for any vitamin supplements too.
Exercise can be a big boost to your health and feelings of well-being, especially for mild cases of depression. Don’t expect exercise to work immediately. It may take a while to be effective, but exercise can prevent recurrences of depression symptoms and is a great, natural way to treat depression.
If you have depression, be sure to try and eat a healthy diet. Foods rich in Omega-3 and B-vitamins are excellent combatants in fighting depression. Folic acid can be found in foods such as oranges, whole-wheat foods, spinach and dried beans and can treat depression symptoms by boosting the effectiveness of your medication.
Socializing isn’t always thought of as a method to treat depression, but loneliness is a big cause of depression, so if you can force yourself to go out, meet people and perhaps join clubs or hobby groups that you enjoy, it can become a natural way to treat depression. You may hate the thought of going out, but try it and see if it doesn’t uplift your mood and spirit.
MEDITATION AND RELAXATION TECHNIQUES
Relaxation and meditation are great ways to treat depression and also take some much needed time for yourself. These two natural remedies can relieve stress and anxiety and help you cope with depression when it does strike. Try yoga and breathing techniques, listening to soothing music, reading an uplifting book or taking a walk as natural ways to treat depression symptoms.
Depression symptoms can be an early warning to your mind and body that you need to slow down and do some things for yourself.
Hope, always, as there are solutions
Don’t feel hopeless about your depression symptoms. There are many treatments available that can make a significant improvement in your moods and how you’re living your life. Depression treatment has improved over the past years and the side effects of medications have decreased, so if you suffer from depression, seek some form of treatment. Natural methods to treat depression can help your entire body and mind to heal.
DEPRESSION: Need to learn more? Discussing causes, symptoms & treatments for the 6 types. Tips for managing. Natural treatments, too!
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