All antidepressants can have side effects, but some may be more problematic than others. Keep in mind that they do not work immediately and usually take at least several weeks for maximal benefit. Combining the right medication with psychotherapy or another intervention, like a support group, might be what you need to feel better. Learn More About Medication for Depression. Postpartum depression — depression after giving birth — has been well documented, with women like Brooke Shields and Drew Barrymore opening up to the media about their experiences.
There are a number of potential reasons for this. Women may be reluctant to reveal negative feelings at a time in their lives when society, family, and friends all expect them to be joyful. Women who are poor or who became pregnant unintentionally may regard symptoms of depression as a realistic response to their situation. Therapists and physicians generally attempt to treat antenatal depression with non-medication methods first, as there is evidence that antidepressants may pose a risk to fetuses.
For women with severe antenatal depression, however, antidepressants may be essential. Women need to educate themselves and work with their physicians to balance the risks and the benefits to both themselves and their infants. A type of mild to severe depression that typically sets in as the hours of daylight wane in the fall, seasonal affective disorder SAD afflicts as many as 6 percent of Americans.
Women are particularly at risk, experiencing SAD four times more often than men, as are people who have a relative with depression. The causes of SAD are unclear, says NIMH, but research suggests it may be due to seasonal fluctuations in levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate mood, or to an overproduction of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
Depression (major depressive disorder) - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
Scientists also posit that people with SAD may produce too little vitamin D, which impacts serotonin activity. For many people with SAD, simply waiting for spring to arrive is not an option. Light therapy, which generally involves sitting in front of a light box first thing in the morning, can help; so can cognitive behavior therapy, a type of psychotherapy. Physicians also prescribe antidepressants, usually an SSRI selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor , a category of drug that includes Prozac and Zoloft, or Wellbutrin bupropion.
Combining a number of different approaches under the oversight of a physician may be your smartest move. Among the symptoms associated with major depression are recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal ideation with or without specific plans for committing suicide. Learn More About Understanding Suicide. An enormous amount of help is available for people who have depression or who have a child, parent, spouse, or friend living with this mental illness. Websites run by organizations like the National Institute of Mental Health NIMH provide copious background information as well as updates on clinical trials.
Grassroots groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness connect you with support and services, offer education, and let you know that you are not alone. Personal blogs share the struggle and the wisdom of lived experience. Learn More About Depression Resources. Additional reporting by Pamela Kaufman.
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American Psychiatric Association. The APA offers a wealth of information and resources for people who have depression.
- Danger on the Flying Trapeze (Trailblazer Books Book 16).
- Depression is a real illness..
- Beyond Blue Support Service.
- A Fresh Set of Eyes (David Lloyd Investigations Book 2)!
We love that you can easily locate a doctor who specializes in treating your condition on their Find a Psychiatrist page. National Institute of Mental Health. The NIMH is the largest research organization in the world committed to understanding the treatment and prevention of mental disorders. Their site offers information about depression and also lets you search for clinical trials in your area.
Search for a support group near you or start your own. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
Causes and Treatments of Depression
This organization provides hope, support, and inspiration to those battling depression and bipolar disorder. DBSA chapters offer support groups around the country. Most are volunteer-run and allow participants to meet with others who might have similar struggles. Families for Depression Awareness. Families need support, too. This organization caters to family members, friends, and caregivers of those who suffer depression.
Depression: What You Need To Know
Their free webinars cover ways to spot depression and intervene with those who are affected. This app offers activities and games to overcome negative thoughts. The company says 86 percent of those who use the app report feeling better about their lives after just two months. Bright Light Therapy Lamp. If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder SAD , bright light therapy may help improve your symptoms. And, it received an average of 4. Time to Change. Start by focusing on the causes of depression which are backed by facts rather than focusing on reasons which are subjective and relative.
- What You Need to Know About “Smiling Depression” | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- Killing The Practice Before It Kills You.
- The Amnesiacs Quest;
- The Dawning Clocks of Time.
- related stories;
- Stay Connected?
- Male Infertility (Cambridge Clinical Guides).
Researchers are still learning about all the different mechanisms that drive depression. The "chemistry" of depression is not well understood, but researchers do know that an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters can happen in anyone, even in the absence of an obvious "trigger. Some influences, such as brain structure, genetic predisposition, and environmental exposures, are not something a person can control.
Risk factors that fall under the category of lifestyle choices are considered modifiable, but the extent to which an individual can do so will depend on their own ability and how much support they have. Depression can make it much more challenging to address factors that might be contributing to depression, such as substance use or diet. As much as it is a mental illness, depression can also be physical. Symptoms like chronic pain and fatigue can make it difficult for people to take on lifestyle modifications, such as exercise, even if they want to and believe they could help.
To make these changes and stick with them people need to have the right tools and a good deal of support. To get treatment, a person with depression needs to feel safe talking about how they are feeling. Looking at the causes helps people both those with depression and those who want to support them understand that being depressed is a medical condition , not a choice. Depression can be, needs to be, and deserves to be treated. However, there are many different ways to treat the condition. What works for one person may not work for another, and some people have to try many different options before finding something effective.
How well a specific treatment works also depends on the type of depression a person is experiencing. Antidepressant medications such as Prozac and Zoloft , are among the most commonly-prescribed treatments. Psychotherapy is another option and is often used in combination with medication. Research indicates that for many people, using therapy and antidepressants together can effectively treat depression.
However, these interventions alone may not adequately address symptoms for every person with depression. In these cases, other types of treatment such as electroconvulsive therapy ECT can be used.
ECT involves the brief application of an electrical pulse to the scalp in order to produce a seizure. Newer depression treatments include various types of brain stimulation therapy such as vagus nerve stimulation VNS and transcranial magnetic stimulation TMS. For vagus nerve stimulation , a device similar to a pacemaker is surgically implanted into the brain and provides periodic stimulation to the vagus nerve.
Many people wait a long time before seeking help for depression, but it's best not to delay. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery. Sometimes there's a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, losing your job or even having a baby, can bring it on. It affects men and women, young and old. Your recommended treatment will be based on whether you have mild, moderate or severe depression. If you have mild depression, your doctor may suggest waiting to see whether it improves on its own, while monitoring your progress.