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    Sleep and Depression

    How Is Depression Diagnosed?

    Your doctor will take your medical history, and will likely ask you whether anyone in your family has depression or other mental health problems. He or she may also ask you to describe your moods, your appetite and energy, if you feel under stress, and if you have ever thought about suicide.

    Your doctor will also perform a physical exam to determine if the cause of your symptoms is caused by another illness.

    What Depression and Insomnia Treatments Are Available?

    Treatment choices for depression depend on how serious the illness is. Major depressive disorder is treated with psychotherapy (counseling, or talk therapy with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or licensed counselor), medications, or a combination of the two.

    The most effective treatment for depression is often a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Drugs tend to work more quickly to decrease symptoms while psychotherapy helps people learn coping strategies to prevent the onset of future depressive symptoms.

    Medications used to treat depression include antidepressants such as:

    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa and Paxil. These medications can perform double duty for patients by helping them sleep and elevating their mood, though some people taking these drugs may have trouble sleeping. Newer antidepressant medicines that affect multiple serotonin receptors besides the serotonin transporter include Viibryd and Brintellix.
    • Tricyclic antidepressants (including Pamelor and Elavil).
    • Serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like Effexor, Pristiq, Khedezla, Fetzima, or Cymbalta, that raise levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine -- brain chemicals that are thought to be involved in the neurobiology of depression.
    • Novel antidepressants such as bupropion (Wellbutrin).

    Some of the most effective types of psychotherapy for depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. With cognitive-behavioral therapy, patients learn to change negative thinking patterns that are related to feelings of depression. Interpersonal therapy helps people to understand how relationship problems, losses, or changes affect feelings of depression. This therapy involves working to improve relationships with others or building new relationships.

    Sleeping Pills

    Doctors may sometimes treat depression and insomnia by prescribing an SSRI along with a sedating antidepressant or with a hypnotic medication. However, hypnotic drugs usually should be taken for a short period of time.

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