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What Happens in Depression Treatment?

Depression should be considered as a serious illness, as it causes many ill-effects. Different individuals are affected in different ways by the condition. While some people experience episodes of overwhelming sadness, low energy and loss of appetite, many lose interest in things that once gave them happiness. In this article, we’ll learn about the things that happen during a depression treatment.

How the Treatment Begins

Treating depression begins with understanding how you are feeling. There are some questions which help physicians to figure out whether you are experiencing any symptoms of depression, or if it is some other mental health condition, or whether the crux of the problem was a physical cause. For example, a blood sample can be assessed by physicians to check for any signs of thyroid problems, which are known to cause depression.If your physicianconfirms that you are depressed, the first treatment action will depend on what the physician thinks is going on.

Your physician may start by prescribingsome antidepressants. Antidepressants are drugs meant to relieve the symptoms of depression by adjusting how chemicals in your brain affect brain circuits that basically control your mood.Your physicianmay also refer you to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or some counselor. These mental health specialistsunderstand your problems and feelings, and figure out how to address them. In most cases, the treatment plan includes a combination of both.

Antidepressant Drugs

Antidepressant medicinesare made to make you feel better byregulating brain circuits that define your mood. Most of the common antidepressants increasethe levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin enables transmission of messages from one area of the brain to another. It usually may take about two to four weeks for the antidepressants to start showing up a noticeable effect. Physicians most likely prescribe these drugs for at least several months, even up to a year.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common form of antidepressants prescribed by physicians. This is because they are known to have the fewest side effects. However, with any form of antidepressant, one may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Sexual problems
  • Nausea
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Dry Mouth
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness or headaches

It is important to know thatpeople taking antidepressants should be kept under a close watch, especially during the first few weeks of medication. Young people may experience more negative thoughts, possibly even suicidal thoughts while taking antidepressants.

These usually get better with time; this is because your body begins to adjust. If a few months of medication don’t seem to help, or if the side effects are getting hard to bear, tell it to your physician, but don’t discontinue your medication on your own –it can cause more problems. When it is time for you to stop taking the drugs, your physician will slowly reduce your dose to allow your body to readjust.

Psychotherapy Treatment

Psychotherapyinvolves consulting a mental health professional who will help you better understandyour thoughts, your feelings, and your emotions. Together, you’ll figure out what helps you feel better and what might be troubling you. Psychotherapy helps you figure out why you are feelinglow and how to manage difficult emotions better. The physician will help you overcome your fears andask you to change certain behaviorswhich may not be helping you manage your feelings.

Sessions are hosted on a regular basis, once or twice a week depending on your need. These sessions are meant to benonjudgmental and strictly confidential. A professional psychotherapist can help you understand how your emotions and thought are affecting your condition; offer you ways and means to improve your interpersonal relationships; spot early signs of a problem and seek help; and help you confront your fears while managing stress.

Therapy sessions may take a few months to sometimes more than a year, depending on the severity of your depression. But many patients have reported feeling better in just a matter of weeks. You and your physician will collectively decide when you’ve made enough progress and that your sessions can stop. Try a few therapists and seek the one you are most comfortable sharing your feelings with.

Electroconvulsive Therapies

For individuals whose depression is quite severe and drugs or psychotherapy aren’t quite helping, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is recommended. This therapy involves sending a tiny, painless electric current through your brain.It causes a brief seizure in the brain that can relieve the symptoms of depression.ECT is considered an effective treatment for depression by many physicians worldwide.

ECT is typically performed in sessions over a period of up to a month. They are performed under the effect of anaesthesiaso that you’re asleep and won’t feel anything. But like any other treatment, it also has some side effects, including headaches, nausea, memory loss, confusion, and disorientation. If your physicianrecommends ECT as a treatment option, do talk about the pros &cons.

Modern Methods of Brain Stimulation

While ECT has been around for a while, many other technologies have been developed off late. These methods are designed to treat depression by stimulating certain areas of the brain,which are known to control the mood. Repetitive TranscranialMagnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is one such procedure which uses a magnetic coil to stimulate specific areas of your brain over a series of sessions.  As part of this treatment, the individuals are awake and will feel no pain or discomfort. Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is another modern technique wherein a device is placed under the collarbone and then a thin wire is attached to the vague nerve in your neck. The device emits signals to certain brain regions that affect your mood.

Things to do!

It is important that you get proper sleep. If you’re facing any problems in sleeping, tell your physician about it. Try and cut back on caffeine and alcohol as they trigger stress.You may also consider joining a support group;get acquainted with people who are dealing with the same condition, and learn how they are managing it.

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