Lots of people undergo from depression, and it’s not something that anyone need be embarrassed of. This is an essential starting point for those who are in need of treatment. Depression should be treated like any other physical illness, and like other physical illnesses it can often be fixed with prescription drugs. Having said that, it can also often be dealt with without drugs, through psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy unfortunately also has a stigma surrounding to it in the minds of various people, but it is nothing more than a method of counselling where the depressed person is given an occasion to discuss about life and the way they feel. The very procedure of being able to talk about pain and unhappiness in a non-judgemental atmosphere can have an extremely healing effect, especially for those who are suffering mild or moderate cases of depression. Severely depressed persons do not typically benefit 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 professional counsellor will generally be the best person to provide advice as to the need for further treatment.
Severe depression needs medication and sometimes hospitalisation. Even then, it can frequently take some time to get treatment right, as there are a collection of antidepressant drugs available on the market and some of them can have risky side-effects.
Part of the reason for the popularity of antidepressants such as Prozac or Zoloft is that they usually have few and far between side-effects, apart from a regular decrease 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 precise dosage right is far more complex than with Prozac or Zoloft. People certainly have been known to gravely 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 decide if the subject requires hospilisation.
For those who need to be hospitalized, electric shock therapy (ECT) is another form of treatment that has proven very advantageous to some people. This is generally only used with people who have rare and acute symptoms of depression and who have become manic. ECT is normally only considered for those who have not been successful on antidepresasnt medication and when all other methods of treatment have failed to make the symptoms of the depression less serious.
ECT involves electrical stimulation that causes the brain to seizure in order to ease the depression. While this sounds awful, this treatment should not be connected with the torturous forms of shock therapy often portrayed in the cinema. Today, patients who are given ECT you are also given muscle relaxants so as to get rid of all discomfort and pain. ECT is generally used in conjunction with both antidepressant medication and counselling. Sometimes the ECT will allow a person to become free of a depressive episode after which they will be able to keep up their equilibrium through the use of normal antidepressants.
Dealing successfully with depression can evidently be very tough, 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.