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Depression Symptoms and Treatment


Depression Symptoms and Treatment

More than two-thirds of people suffering from depression don’t seek help, or wait months to get it. If left untreated, depression can last years. People may experience physical symptoms such as sleeplessness, difficulty concentrating, or thoughts of suicide. The condition may also recur after a previous episode has passed. To prevent this, primary care physicians have begun to screen patients for depression. The purpose of these studies is to help find new ways to treat depression and improve the lives of people who suffer from it.

A physical exam or lab tests may be performed to determine if you have depression. A psychiatric evaluation can also reveal if there are other medical conditions that are causing your depressed symptoms. Your doctor may ask you about your thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns, and may administer a questionnaire to further identify the problem. An evaluation based on the DSM-5 (the latest edition of the diagnostic manual) may be indicated to determine if you have depression.

If a doctor determines that you have depression, he or she will determine the best course of treatment for you. SSRIs are typically the first choice medication. However, you should also speak with your doctor to discuss other treatment options. Depending on your symptoms and treatment goals, your doctor may recommend a combination of medications, psychotherapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy. This is often a combination of both. If you’ve tried various forms of therapy without success, talk to your doctor about how you can adjust your medication safely.

Among the many resources for people who are suffering from depression are the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Employee assistance programs and religious organizations also offer many resources for the diagnosis of depression. People with depression should not isolate themselves and avoid social activities to deal with their depression. By sharing their experiences, they can help others deal with their own problems. In addition to meeting with a counselor, people with similar symptoms can share tips for how to cope with stress and depression.

Psychotherapy is a common form of treatment for depression. The earlier you begin treatment, the better. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, focuses on identifying and changing negative thinking patterns and responding to stressful situations. Alternatively, interpersonal therapy focuses on improving a person’s relationships and circumstances. These treatments are often used to treat depression and are the first option in the treatment process. They are proven to be effective, and they may be used in combination with an antidepressant medication.

Electroconvulsive therapy is a form of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) that passes a mild electrical current through the brain. This induces brief seizures that help restore normal brain chemicals and alleviate symptoms. With continued treatment, people with depression are less likely to recur. As with any illness, it is important to follow a balanced diet, get plenty of rest, and practice mindful self-care practices. Even though depression can affect any aspect of one’s life, it is not a weakness.

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