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Major Depression: Reasons Why People Avoid Treatment continued...

Expert advice: Don’t allow depression to linger. Speak to your doctor. If you find it difficult to seek treatment for a mental disorder, remember that treatment for it may help prevent serious health conditions like heart disease.

I don’t want to take antidepressants. “Sometimes I think what keeps people from coming in to see us is that they’re afraid they’ll have to take a pill,” Muller says. “They think, ‘I don’t want to take a pill for the rest of my life.’”

Although antidepressants are effective against depression, treatment for depression doesn’t always involve medication. “We have psychotherapies these days that are as effective, so if you are depressed, medication may not be the only option,” Muller says.

“Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy that focuses on the here and now -- helping you look at your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors to try to improve your quality of life and reduce your depression,” she says. “We know that it may work as well as medications in the short term, but may also last longer.”

Expert advice: See a therapist (psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker) as well as your regular doctor. If you do need a medication, it most likely won’t be for life. Learn all you can and don’t rely on stories you have heard from others who have taken antidepressants, Muller says. Every person reacts a little differently to them.

I don't feel sad all the time. Why do I need treatment for depression? You don’t need to feel sad or cry all day to be clinically depressed. Often people with depression see their primary care doctors for problems such as muscle pain, sleeping problems, or fatigue, not knowing those are signs of depression, Nelson says. Sometimes these symptoms accompany sadness; other times they don’t.

“There is also so-called ‘masked depression’ -- when, for whatever reason, people don’t feel in touch with a sense of sadness or abnormal mood,” he says. “They may be more likely to report something like apathy, blunted mood, or not feeling like themselves.”

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