Lots of people endure from depression, and it’s not something that anyone need be embarrassed of. This is an important starting point for those who are in need of treatment. Depression should be treated like any other bodily illness, and like other physical illnesses it can often be fixed with prescription drugs. Having said that, it can also frequently be dealt with without drugs, through psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy unfortunately also has a stigma associated to it in the minds of various people, but it is nothing more than a form of counselling where the depressed person is given an occasion to chat about life and the way they feel. The very process of being able to talk about pain and misery in a non-judgemental environment can have an immensely healing effect, especially for those who are suffering mild or moderate cases of depression. Severely depressed persons do not generally profit from psychotherapy and counselling to the same extent. Severe depression generally requires supplementing counselling with other depression treatments. Even so, counselling is not only a good starting point in the process, but a competent counsellor will generally be the best person to give advice as to the need for more treatment.
Severe depression needs medication and sometimes hospitalisation. Even then, it can often take some time to get treatment right, as there are a selection of antidepressant drugs available on the market and some of them can have dangerous side-effects.
Part of the reason for the popularity of antidepressants such as Prozac or Zoloft is that they usually have a small number of side-effects, apart from a regular diminish of libido, and hence are relatively safe to prescribe. However such drugs do not work at all for some people who may require ‘tricyclics’ such as Vivactil, Norpramin or Pamelor. The problem with tricyclics is that it can cause problems for those already suffering with heart disease, and getting the correct dosage right is far more tricky than with Prozac or Zoloft. People certainly have been known to seriously overdose on tricyclics.
These issues highlight the need for antidepressant medication to be administered by a trained psychiatrist and not by a general practitioner. A good psychiatrist will also be the best person to dictate if the individual should be hospilatised.
For those who need to be hospitalized, electric shock therapy (ECT) is another form of treatment that has proven very valuable to some people. This is generally only used with people who have rare and harsh symptoms of depression and who have become manic. ECT is usually only considered for those who have not been successful on antidepresasnt medication and when all other types of treatment have failed to make the symptoms of the depression less acute.
ECT involves electrical stimulation that causes the brain to seizure in order to lessen the depression. While this sounds shocking, this treatment should not be associated with the torturous forms of shock therapy frequently seen in films. Today, patients who are given ECT you are also given muscle relaxants so as to remove all discomfort and pain. ECT is generally used in conjunction with both antidepressant medication and counselling. Sometimes the ECT will let a person to become free of a depressive episode after which they will be able to look after their equilibrium through the use of normal antidepressants.
Dealing efficiently with depression can obviously be very testing, and the cost (financially as well as physically) can be high, but these costs generally pale in comparison to the toll taken by depression that is left untreated.