It's actually depressing to know that so many people are undergoing depression right now. About 15 million adults in the United States are currently diagnosed with this psychological problem. What's even more disturbing is the fact that a large percentage of these people are not getting the help they need. Even though this is a severe illness, it can be treated. A person just needs to get appropriate help.
How do you know if you're depressed?
Feeling sad from time to time is normal. What isn't normal is when the sadness doesn't go away to the extent that the person feels empty and hopeless. The first thing to dwindle in a depressed person is his quality of life. He would lose interest in the things that he used to be passionate for. He would withdraw from friends, feel exhausted all the time, and even refuse to take up employment.
Other significant symptoms of depression include difficulty to focus on even simple and mundane tasks, feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, inability to control negative thoughts, anxiety, and nervousness, loss of appetite or excessive eating, short temper and irritability, sleep deprivation, self-loathing, and suicidal tendencies.
In severe cases of depression, the feeling of hopelessness in a person makes him feel that suicide is the only way to escape the pain. If you or any other person have thoughts about death or suicide, it is crucial to seek help immediately. Talk to a family member or to a doctor.
What Are Treatment Options Available?
There are many effective treatments available for depression.
Psychotherapy combined with drug therapy is the most common form of treatment. Doctors will prescribe antidepressants that work to strengthen the nerve cells that connect parts of the brain. The most common types of drugs for this ailment include SSRIs, like Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft. Taking medicines is usually done on a trial-and-error basis, with a doctor prescribing a different medicine if the first one prescribe doesn't seem effective for you. The effect of an antidepressant usually lasts for weeks or months.
In addition to that, therapy is important for any depression treatment. Even though this doesn't yield overnight results like the antidepressant medications, therapy has longer lasting benefits. There are various kinds of therapy. A popular one is the cognitive behavioral therapy that enables to you analyze your own thought patterns and teaches yourself how to change them. Therapies can be done in a one-to-one session or in a group session. Keep in mind that all conversations inside a therapy are kept confidential by a licensed therapist.
There are also natural treatments that have been pointed to alleviate depression. These include fish oil, folic acid, St. John's wort and valerian, among others. But so far, studies are yet to prove the effectiveness and reliability of these forms of treatment.
Moreover, lifestyle changes can also play a role in boosting a person's mood, thus helping a treatment work better.