There are several different treatment options for those dealing with Depression. In the past, psychotherapy and prescription medicines were primarily used to help alleviate and treat the symptoms associated with Depression. Recently, Complimentary and Alternative Medicines, or CAMs, have gained in popularity as people take an interest in finding natural alternatives to traditional Western medicine. The important thing to remember is that what works for one person may not be right for another. If the first depression treatment option doesn’t suit the needs of the patient, they should continue their search for the right fit. There is hope.
Psychotherapy, or “talk” therapy, means speaking with a trained mental health professional to learn techniques to cope with problems like Depression. There are different types of mental health professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and licensed counselors, and there are different types of psychotherapy as well. Everyone is different, and finding the right person to talk to is important.
Interpersonal therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, andPsychodynamic therapy are some of the therapies that are regularly used to deal with Depression. Interpersonal therapyfocuses on the patient’s disturbed personal relationships and how these relate to their depression. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, or CBT, helps the Depressed patient change negative thinking patterns and the behavior associated with Depression.Psychodynamic therapy seeks to resolve any conflicting feelings experienced by the patient. This last type of therapy is generally reserved until the patient’s Depressive symptoms have improved.
There are a wealth of prescription medications available to help alleviate the symptoms associated with Depression. It is usually recommended that anyone seeking medical help in dealing with their Depression should also be involved in some sort of psychotherapy. While medication cannot cure Depression, it can relieve the symptoms and help the sufferer cope with this disorder. Medications are on of the most popular depression treatment methods available.
There are three main classes of anti-depressant medications;selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic medications, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Tricyclic anti-depressants have been in use since the 1950s. They stabilize chemical imbalances in the brain by acting on certain neurotransmitters. The common side effects associated with tricyclic anti-depressants include dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, and sexual dysfunction. Examples of tricyclic medications include Elavil, Tofranil, and Pamelor.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) work by inhibiting the metabolic degradation of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. While these medications do increase levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain, they also increase levels of an amine known as tyramine. This will, in turn, cause a sharp rise in blood pressure, especially after a person has consumed certain foods. MAOIs are considered a last resort because of their harmful effects on blood pressure, and they are only used when a patient doesn’t respond to any other type of medication. If a person is taking an MAOI, strict dietary guidelines are suggested to lower the risk. Nardil and Parnate are a couple of common MAOIs.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) affect the availability of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which are all involved in mood stabilization. The SSRIs are the most recent class of anti-depressants to have been developed, and these medications generally have fewer side effects than the MAOIs or tricyclics. Some of the SSRIs on the market include Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac.
Complimentary and Alternative Medicines
Complimentary and Alternative Medicines, or CAMs, are defined as a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Many CAM therapies do have scientific research that demonstrates their effectiveness, but in many cases there are still key questions yet to be answered regarding their effectiveness in treating depression.
Acupuncture focuses on balancing Qi, or life energy flow, in the body. Certain emotions are associated with specific organs, and imbalance in these organ systems can cause the build-up of negative emotions that must then be released. Acupuncture seeks to release these emotions and restore balance.
Aromatherapy uses scented essential oils extracted from plants to stimulate emotional responses in the brain. Common oils that are helpful for those suffering with depression include rose, sage, jasmine, lavender, sandalwood, and orange.
Exercise isn’t just good for the body; it’s also good for mental and emotional health. It stimulates the production of neurochemicals that can elevate mood, and it provides a physical release for pent up emotions including anger and frustration.
Herbalism is perhaps the oldest form of medicine in existence. Plants often contain active constituents that can help alleviate the symptoms associated with depression. Some of the herbs indicated for depression include St. John’s Wort, Siberian Ginseng, Damiana, and Ginko biloba. These can be found in over-the-counter herbal supplements. In some cases, the plants can also be brewed into teas.
Yoga, like exercise, can help to release the feelings of anger, frustration, and irritability that can develop as a result of depression. Combining breathing exercises with physical movement and concentration, yoga calms the mind and fosters a new perspective on the current situation.
Integrated medicine combines mainstream medical therapies with Complimentary and Alternative medical techniques. The physician and the patient work together to determine which CAMs would best suit the patient’s needs, and they also decide when to use more traditional medical techniques for depression.
There are a wealth of options for those dealing with depression. Exploring the different avenues to find the right one is important. The key is to remain hopeful that a solution can be found.