How to Treat Depression
Depression is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to work and live a healthy life. It’s important to get treatment right away if you think you have depression.
The disorder is not a one-size-fits-all, and treatments can vary widely depending on your unique situation. In some cases, you may need medication, while in others, psychological therapy can help alleviate symptoms.
Medication can be a useful tool in managing depression, but it should only be prescribed by your doctor if your depression is due to an underlying medical condition and you have tried other treatments. Some antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often used as the first line of treatment for depression.
Psychotherapy and behavioral therapies can also be effective in treating depression. These types of therapies focus on changes in your beliefs and behaviors. For example, in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you learn how to recognize and change negative patterns of thinking and behavior that cause you to feel depressed.
Talking with a therapist can be helpful, but it’s important to find the right therapist for you. Your therapist should be someone you connect with and who has experience treating people with depression. You can also ask your doctor for recommendations or search online to find a therapist near you.
Self-help materials, such as books and online e-therapies can also be helpful. These can provide information and support as you begin the journey to recovery.
In some cases, a combination of medications, talk therapy and exercise can be an effective way to treat depression. It’s best to discuss all of these options with your doctor before beginning any type of treatment, as the combination of medications and other therapies can be expensive.
Behavioural therapies can be especially helpful for people who are depressed and have difficulty managing their emotions. They can help you change unwanted habits that may be causing you to feel depressed, such as smoking or over-eating. These kinds of therapies can also teach you ways to improve your relationships and cope with stress in a healthier way.
Taking steps to prevent depression is also important. These can include getting enough sleep and reducing the amount of stress in your life.
Hormone changes can be a trigger for depression, particularly during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum), or in the weeks or months after menopause. These changes can affect how your body makes certain hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone.
Genetics can also increase your risk of developing depression. You’re about three times more likely to develop depression if you have a family history of the disorder or another mental health problem.
Brain chemistry can also play a role in depression, as can stress. Research suggests that a chemical imbalance in parts of the brain that control mood, thoughts and sleep can contribute to the disorder.
The body’s hormones can also change in response to certain events, such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. These can cause depressive feelings, as can medications or alcohol use.