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Getting Treatment For Depression
Depression is a serious illness. It isn’t a personality flaw or a sign of weakness. It’s also not something that you can just “snap out of.” You might need to take medication or do psychotherapy (talk therapy) for a while to feel better. But with treatment, most people who have depression find that they are able to enjoy life again.
People with depression have a chemical imbalance in their brains that affects how they think, feel and behave. The cause of the imbalance isn’t fully understood, but research suggests that it may be related to changes in hormones and in neurocircuits that control mood. It is also possible that depression results from an underlying medical condition such as thyroid problems, a metabolic disorder or a brain tumor.
The most common treatments for depression include psychotherapy and medicine. Usually, psychotherapy involves talking with a therapist and can be done individually or in groups. Psychotherapy can help you learn healthier ways to cope with stress and to deal with painful feelings. It can also teach you to recognize and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Depending on the type of psychotherapy, it can take a few weeks to several months for you to see improvement.
If you choose to get treatment, the first step is finding a therapist who you can trust and who understands your situation. Ask friends and family, health care professionals or faith leaders for a recommendation. You can also check with local mental health clinics or national mental health organizations for a list of credentialed providers. In addition, many community centers, senior groups and religious organizations offer counseling on a sliding scale.
Getting treatment for depression can be difficult, but it’s worth the effort. Depression is treatable, and it’s important to start treatment as soon as you can. You might need psychotherapy, medication or both to get better.
Antidepressants work by changing the way that your brain works. They usually take 4 to 6 weeks to have a full effect, and it’s important to keep taking the medicine, even if you don’t feel better right away. If you decide to stop taking the medication, talk with your doctor. Sudden discontinuation can cause unpleasant side effects.
It’s important to get enough sleep and eat healthy meals. Exercise can help, too. Some people benefit from meditation, yoga or other relaxation techniques.
If you have depression, try to avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. These can worsen your symptoms. If you have a chronic illness, it’s especially important to get treatment for depression so that you can manage your other health conditions. If you’re thinking about having children, be aware that depression can make it harder to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. It’s also important to be with other people and to do things you enjoy. Having close relationships can help reduce depression.