Depression is a mood disorder that affects one in ten people over their lifetime, and it can be extremely disabling. Thankfully, there are a number of treatment options available that can help you get through it.
Psychotherapy and medication are some of the most effective treatments for depression. Many therapists specialize in one or more of these treatments and can tailor a therapy session to meet your needs.
Individual, group and family therapies may be used as part of your treatment plan. This helps you build a better understanding of how depression impacts your life and how to improve your symptoms.
Your doctor will also consider if you need a medical treatment such as in-hospital treatment or antidepressants to treat your symptoms. These medicines can help by increasing the amount of chemical messengers in your brain.
They can also be combined with other treatments such as counseling, or with lifestyle changes such as eating right and exercising regularly. You might also need to change certain aspects of your life, such as reducing the amount of alcohol or drugs you consume and avoiding smoking.
The most common medicines for treating depression are a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as Prozac and Zoloft, or a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), such as Cymbalta or Strattera. These medications are taken as tablets or as skin patches, and take about a month to work.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is also an effective depression treatment for kids. This type of therapy can help them learn to recognize unhelpful thoughts and to replace those negative ones with positive thoughts.
Dialectical behavior therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy are other therapies that are used to treat depression in teenagers and young adults. These therapies involve learning how to use coping skills and mindfulness to deal with intense emotions.
Surgery can be an option for people with severe depression that has not responded to other treatments. It involves implanting a small device in the chest, called a vagus nerve stimulator. This sends regular electrical impulses to a nerve in the left side of your neck.
This stimulation causes a reaction in the brain that triggers changes in certain areas of the brain linked to depression. These changes are thought to be the cause of the depressive symptoms.
Hormonal changes are also believed to play a role in depression, particularly during pregnancy and after childbirth. Menopause and thyroid disorders are also possible contributors to the problem.
A person’s genetic makeup can also affect whether they develop depression. For example, if one or both of your parents have had depression, you are more likely to experience it yourself.
Stress can also increase your risk of developing depression. This happens when you experience a major stressful event in your life, such as losing a job, experiencing a relationship breakdown or losing someone close to you.
You can try to prevent depression by taking steps to reduce your stress levels, enhancing your resilience and building a strong support network. Getting treatment early can also be helpful.