Depression Treatment Options

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We determine how to give which treatment to particular patients based on a number of different things. So first of all, it depends on the patient themselves. Have they had a previous history? Have they tried different types of antidepressants or different types of therapy?

And also exactly what their symptoms are. So some people, when they're depressed, sleep all day, and other people can't sleep. And so we try to use the side effect profile of antidepressants to pick an antidepressant that might help the patient with their depression but also with their other symptoms based on the side effect profile.

Also, I think patient wishes really play a role. I have patients who come in who are depressed who would really prefer to try psychotherapy before taking a medication. And so even if I would normally prescribe a medication, we'll try psychotherapy first.

We measure success based on patient report and sometimes family or partner reports. A lot of psychiatrists are using measurement-based practices. Meaning that they'll use scales that the patient or the psychiatrist will fill out in order to measure whether a person's symptoms are improving across the course of treatment. But I think it's really important to include the patient's opinion on whether they're improving and whether they're back to baseline.

If a particular treatment is not working for a patient, the first thing is to not give up. It is to keep trying. I think it's really important to emphasize to patients that sometimes it takes a few trials of treatment approaches in order to achieve success, but that the key is to hang in there and to keep trying.