COM­MEN­TARY Treat­ing de­pres­sion

The Covington News - - Health & Wellness -

Re­gard­less of what you may have heard, de­pres­sion is not a weak­ness, a flaw or sim­ply the re­sult of a chem­i­cal im­bal­ance in the brain. It is caused by a com­bi­na­tion of bi­o­log­i­cal ( in­clud­ing ge­net­ics), so­cial and psy­cho­log­i­cal fac­tors. Treat­ment that fo­cuses on only one of th­ese fac­tors is not likely to be as ben­e­fi­cial as one that ad­dresses all three.

There are many forms of treat­ment avail­able. The im­por­tant thing is to find what works best for you. De­pres­sion is a com­pli­cated dis­or­der. No two in­di­vid­u­als are alike so there is no sim­plis­tic an­swer when it comes to de­pres­sion. How­ever, to­day the most com­mon approach is a com­bi­na­tion of med­i­ca­tion and psy­chother­apy.

A num­ber of dif­fer­ent ther­apy ap­proaches may be uti­lized de­pend­ing on the sever­ity of the de­pres­sive episode and the re­sources avail­able within the com­mu­nity. Most psy­chother­a­peu­tic ap­proaches em­pha­size the client tak­ing a proac­tive approach in ther­apy cog­ni­tive- be­hav­ioral ther­apy is the most com­mon approach with ex­ten­sive, long- term re­search show­ing it to be both safe and ef­fec­tive.

It con­sists of sim­ple tech­niques which fo­cus on a per­son’s in­ter­nal di­a­logue. It is less con­cerned with the causes of de­pres­sion than what a per­son can do right now to help change the way they are feel­ing. It tar­gets thoughts and be­hav­iors as the mech­a­nisms of change for un­wanted or de­bil­i­tat­ing emo­tions.

When a per­son is so de­bil­i­tated that they can­not ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in ther­apy, med­i­ca­tion and a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment be­come the treat­ment of choice un­til the per­son re­gains suf­fi­cient en­ergy to par­tic­i­pate in treat­ment. Se­lec­tive sero­tonin re­up­take in­hibitors are the most com­monly pre­scribed med­i­ca­tions ( Paxil, Zoloft, Well­butrin to name a few).

While gen­er­ally con­sid­ered safe and ef­fec­tive, there are a few long- term stud­ies. There­fore, care should be uti­lized when tak­ing th­ese med­i­ca­tions for more than a year. Al­ways con­sult your physi­cian be­fore be­gin­ning or stop­ping a med­i­ca­tion. As with all med­i­ca­tions, there are side ef­fect.

Elec­tro­con­vul­sive shock ther­apy is used for de­pres­sion that is se­vere and has proven un­re­spon­sive to other forms of treat­ment. While it sounds hor­ri­fy­ing, it has been shown to have re­mark­able ther­a­peu­tic ef­fect when ev­ery­thing else has failed.

Last, but not least, is self- help, which is too of­ten over­looked by the ex­perts. Sup­port groups may be very ef­fec­tive. Books ( such as “ The Feel­ing Good Hand­book”) are widely avail­able and ben­e­fi­cial to many, es­pe­cially those whose symp­toms are mold to mod­er­ate.

De­pres­sion is treat­able. It need not rob you of your life. Reach out for help if you need it. Help is avail­able.

Peggy Nolen

Colum­nist

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