Q: What is depression and what’s the best treatment-talk therapy or medications?
A: A lot of people believe depression to be a result of “weak will” and that depressed persons should be able to get over it. In fact, we’ve known for several decades that depression is an illness of brain caused by imbalance of one of the monoamine systems (serotonin, dopamine and noradrenergic). It’s a medical illness and requires management similar to diabetes and hypertension. When a person has diabetes, they don’t tell their pancreas to “get over it”. Depression is usually caused by a combination of genes and environmental stress. It frequently tends to reoccur and in some cases it becomes chronic. Clinical depression is different than feeling disappointed when things in life don’t go as anticipated. Core features of clinical depression include the presence of several symptoms for 2 weeks or longer. Symptoms such as changes in sleep, appetite, concentration, energy level, interest in environment, feeling guilty, or having thoughts about death.
Depression can be treated either with talk-therapy or antidepressant medications. The best results are obtained by a combination of both strategies. Psychotherapy by itself is effective for mild to moderate levels of depression and can teach people critical skills needed in understanding their illness and managing their symptoms. Several FDA-approved antidepressants are available on the market that treat depression effectively. However, as with any other medications, risks of side effects must be weighed against potential for benefits. These treatment choices should always be discussed with your health care professional who can guide you to the best option for your specific condition.
We hope you find these tips helpful in understanding depression and seeking appropriate, timely help. For more information, please contact us at www.thesolacecenter.com or by phone at (281) 778-9530