Treatment for depression may include one or a combination of the following:
Medicine. Antidepressants work by
affecting the brain chemicals. Know that it takes 4 to 8 weeks for these medicines to
have a full effect. Keep taking the medicine, even if it doesn’t seem to be working
at first. Never stop taking your medicine without first talking to your healthcare
provider. Some people have to switch medicines or add medicines to get results. Work
closely with your healthcare provider to find treatment that works for you.
Therapy. This is most often cognitive
behavioral or interpersonal therapy. It focuses on changing the distorted views you
have of yourself and your situation. It also works to improve relationships, and
identify and manage stressors in your life.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This treatment may be used to treat severe, life-threatening depression that has not responded to medicines. A mild electrical current is passed through the brain. This triggers a brief seizure. For unknown reasons, the seizures help restore the normal balance of chemicals in the brain and ease symptoms.
With treatment, you should start to
feel better within a few weeks. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months,
or even years. Continued treatment may help to prevent depression from appearing
Depression can make you feel
exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. It’s important to realize that these
negative views are part of the depression and don't reflect reality. Negative thinking
fades as treatment starts to take effect. Meanwhile, consider the following:
- Get help. Some research shows that if
depression is treated as soon as possible, long-term problems are decreased. If you
think you may be depressed, see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
- Set realistic goals in light of the
depression and don’t take on too much.
- Break large tasks into small ones. Set
priorities, and do what you can as you can.
- Try to be with other people and
confide in someone. It’s usually better than being alone and secretive.
- Do things that make you feel better.
Going to a movie, gardening, or taking part in religious, social, or other activities
may help. Doing something nice for someone else can also help you feel better.
- Get regular exercise, studies show
exercise can improve mood.
- Expect your mood to get better slowly,
not right away. Feeling better takes time.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Stay away from alcohol and drugs.
These can make depression worse.
- It's best to delay important decisions
until the depression has lifted. Before deciding to make a big change --change jobs,
get married or divorced -- discuss it with others who know you well and have a more
objective view of your situation.
- Remember: People don’t "snap out of" a
depression. But they can feel a little better day-by-day.
- Try to be patient and focus on the
positives. This may help replace the negative thinking that is part of the
depression. The negative thoughts will fade as your depression responds to
- Let your family and friends help