Could You Be Depressed and Not Know It?
WebMD can help you recognize depression - and find relief
What Are the Causes of Depression? continued...
Treatment for Depression
According to depression experts at the American Psychological Association,
you should seek treatment for depression if it persists for more than two weeks
-- particularly if your depression is severe enough to interfere with normal
life activities. If you suspect that you are depressed, talk to your physician,
who can rule out physical causes and refer you to a mental health
Experts now understand that depression has to do with shifts in brain
chemistry, so a piece of the treatment puzzle involves re-balancing chemicals,
Wood says. But it doesn't have to involve medication. The best treatment for
your symptoms depends on your individual story, she says; whether you've been
depressed before, and whether your symptoms keep you in bed all day or simply
sap your energy. So try to describe your history and symptoms as precisely as
possible when you speak to your physician and psychotherapist.
Treatment for depression usually involves psychotherapy, antidepressants, or
both, according to Susan G. Kornstein, MD, a professor in
Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Medicine. Experts now believe that
a combination of both is most effective. In a study from Vanderbilt University
in Nashville, TN, researchers concluded that psychotherapy and medication
together were effective for 70% of women, says Valerie E. Whiffen, PhD,
professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa, Ontario, and author of
A Secret Sadness.
There is evidence that in many cases, psychotherapy works as well as
antidepressants do, and there are no side effects, according to Whiffen.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) for example, focuses on improving the patient's
relationships to help reduce depressive symptoms. Half of the women in the
Vanderbilt study who received IPT were no longer depressed at the end of
treatment -- the same result seen with antidepressants alone.
For many people, antidepressants are very effective in treating depression,
particularly when depression is severe or persistent. We don't completely
understand how antidepressants work, but we do know that they readjust the
balance in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. There are currently many
different types of antidepressants on the market, so be sure to work with a
psychiatrist who can help you find the medication that is most effective for