Most of us get sad or even depressed every now and then. A major life event such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a home or business, or being diagnosed with a terminal disease, can cause deep grief. But as time passes by, the unhappiness fades away, and the person reverts to his old self. There are instances, however, when a person is depressed for long periods and can’t seem to break out of it.
The person is so enmeshed in sadness that they have trouble carrying out day-to-day activities. Their work and relationships suffer as a result. The person’s health also declines, and they may become sick. They also may feel like life isn’t worth living anymore and may attempt to end it by suicide. These are indications that the person is no longer just depressed in the normal sense, but is clinically depressed. The person has what psychologists call major depression, or major depressive disorder. This is a chronic disease affecting the mind and body, creating many emotional and physical problems, and requiring professional treatment. The disorder does not simply go away in time, and the person cannot just “snap out of it.” It needs to be medically treated.
Treatment for depression usually takes a long time, as in other chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension. Also like these other diseases, treatment depends on the severity of the disorder. The good news is that with treatment, the person will feel better and be able to resume living a normal life.
There are three general treatment options for depression. One is through psychological counselling, another is with medications, and the third is via electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). The first two are the more conventional methods, and they are often combined to produce an effective and lasting cure. Meanwhile, ECT is often reserved for severe cases of depression which the more traditional therapeutic techniques fail to treat.
There are many counselling and psychotherapy techniques, and one that has been proven to be very successful in treating depression is cognitive-behavior therapy or CBT. It works by identifying and then modifying thinking patterns that produce the depressive disposition and behavior. It operates from the logical premise that as a person changes the way he thinks, his behavior also changes.
Antidepressant medications also help a lot in treating depression. There are various types of antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Every person is unique, and some trial and error may be required before the physician can determine which drug suits the patient best.
When medications and psychotherapy don’t produce the desired results, ECT may be attempted. This works by passing electrical currents through the brain, affecting chemicals that influence mood, called neurotransmitters. ECT is often effective, but it does have some side effects such as temporary confusion and memory loss. No one should have to endure depression for long. Treatment is available, and it should be sought as soon as possible to improve the quality of life. Remember, people can and do make recoveries from depression and go on to lead their best lives imaginable. Seek help.
Welcome to my world. I grew up and live in a small rural town on the east coast. I am passionate and dedicated to providing resources to help others help themselves. I am embarking on a journey to tell the world that one in five of us, including myself, will suffer from depression at some point in our lives. I want to change peoples’ attitudes towards depression and mental illness. My wish is that people who are suffering from depression will access the right help to enable them to recover and go on to lead the best life imaginable for them. I was fortunate to get the help I needed to live my best life imaginable. Come and join me on this great journey! We can truly make this world a better one to live in!