Overview of Depression
Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person?s everyday activities.
It?s also fairly common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source estimates that 8.1 percent of American adults ages 20 and over had depression in any given 2-week period from 2013 to 2016.
People experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. It can also influence relationships and some chronic health conditions.
Conditions that can get worse due to depression include:
It?s important to realize that feeling down at times is a normal part of life. Sad and upsetting events happen to everyone. But, if you?re feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis, you could be dealing with depression.
Depression is considered a serious medical condition that can get worse without proper treatment. Those who seek treatment often see improvements in symptoms in just a few weeks.
Home Remedies for Depression :
Some people use natural remedies, such as herbal medicines, to treat mild-to-moderate depression.
However, since the FDA do not monitor herbal remedies, manufacturers may not be truthful about the quality of these products. They may not be safe or effective.
The following are some of the more popular herbs and plants that people use to treat depression:
St. John?s wort: This is not suitable for people who have or may have bipolar disorder. Learn more here.
Chamomile: This contains flavonoids that may have an antidepressant effect. For more information about chamomile, click here.
Lavender: This may help reduce anxiety and insomnia. Learn more here about lavender.
It is essential to speak to a doctor before using any type of herbal remedy or supplement to treat depression. Some herbs can interfere with the action of drugs or otherwise make symptoms worse.
When to see doctor for Depression :
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or mental health professional as soon as you can. If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.
Treatment for the Depression
Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
Before a diagnosis or treatment, a health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and possibly a physical examination. In some cases, a blood test might be done to make sure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem. The evaluation is to identify specific symptoms, medical and family history, cultural factors and environmental factors to arrive at a diagnosis and plan a course of action.
Medication: Brain chemistry may contribute to an individual?s depression and may factor into their treatment. For this reason, antidepressants might be prescribed to help modify one?s brain chemistry. These medications are not sedatives, ?uppers? or tranquilizers. They are not habit-forming. Generally antidepressant medications have no stimulating effect on people not experiencing depression.
Antidepressants may produce some improvement within the first week or two of use. Full benefits may not be seen for two to three months. If a patient feels little or no improvement after several weeks, his or her psychiatrist can alter the dose of the medication or add or substitute another antidepressant. In some situations other psychotropic medications may be helpful. It is important to let your doctor know if a medication does not work or if you experience side effects.
Psychiatrists usually recommend that patients continue to take medication for six or more months after symptoms have improved. Longer-term maintenance treatment may be suggested to decrease the risk of future episodes for certain people at high risk.
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, or ?talk therapy,? is sometimes used alone for treatment of mild depression; for moderate to severe depression, psychotherapy is often used in along with antidepressant medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating depression. CBT is a form of therapy focused on the present and problem solving. CBT helps a person to recognize distorted thinking and then change behaviors and thinking.
Psychotherapy may involve only the individual, but it can include others. For example, family or couples therapy can help address issues within these close relationships. Group therapy involves people with similar illnesses.
Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment can take a few weeks or much longer. In many cases, significant improvement can be made in 10 to 15 sessions.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a medical treatment most commonly used for patients with severe major depression or bipolar disorder who have not responded to other treatments. It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. A patient typically receives ECT two to three times a week for a total of six to 12 treatments. ECT has been used since the 1940s, and many years of research have led to major improvements. It is usually managed by a team of trained medical professionals including a psychiatrist, an anesthesiologist and a nurse or physician assistant.