The management and care of a patient to combat depression is very essential for its success. Medical treatment includes: All treatment not otherwise excluded (below). Using prescription medications, or use of a non-prescription drug at prescription strength. Below a six step by step guide in the treatment of depression.
Step One: Know the Signs and Symptoms of Depression
The first step in beating depression is to recognize the symptoms. Says Dr. Mago, “Not all these symptoms are present in every person who has major depression, but many of them are:”
Changes in sleep, appetite, and energy
Lack of interest and difficulty concentrating
Feeling guilty, hopeless, and empty
If you have some depression symptoms, it’s important to know that not all depression is abnormal. “Symptoms of depression can occur in normal people who suffer a loss, and the most typical example is bereavement. A major depressive disorder is differentiated from normal sadness by being more severe and persistent than is warranted by the circumstances,” Mago says. You might have a major depression if you have symptoms of depression all the time and they last for at least two weeks. If you are having persistent thoughts of suicide or death, you should get help right away.
Step Two: Get Help for Depression
“If you think you may have depression, the next thing you should do is to seek assessment from a mental health professional or from your family doctor. Be open about describing your symptoms and to the possibility that they may indicate some form of depression,” advises Mago.
There is no lab test that can tell a health care professional if you have depression. The diagnosis is based on your symptoms. “In most cases, a few basic laboratory tests should be done to rule out the possibility that another medical condition, most typically underactivity of the thyroid gland, may be causing the depression,” says Mago.
Step Three: Get the Right Depression Diagnosis
Different types of depression may require different kinds of treatment. “The therapist should assess the type of depression, differentiating between a normal sadness due to a significant loss, bipolar depression, and different types of unipolar depression,” says Mago. Common types of depression include:
Major depression. This is also called clinical depression, major depressive disorder, or unipolar depression.
Dysthymia. This type of depression is similar to major depression, but not as severe.
Postpartum depression. This is a serious type of depression that affects about 13 percent of women who are pregnant or new mothers.
Another possible diagnosis is bipolar disorder. Although this is a condition distinct from depression, bipolar disorder was once known as manic depression because it alternates between periods of depression and excitability.
In most cases, depending on the type of depression you have, the next step in beating depression is starting treatment. “Patients presenting to their family doctor are likely to be prescribed an antidepressant unless they request a referral for psychotherapy. For mild or moderate depression, psychotherapy can be as effective as medication. If possible, the combination of an antidepressant and psychotherapy is warranted in some patients,” explains Mago.
Step Four: Understand the Types of Depression Treatment
Finding the right kind of treatment is an important step. Treatments can be used alone or in combination, and will depend on your diagnosis and response to the treatments you are started on. Here are some of the possibilities:
Psychotherapy. This is therapy that uses talk instead of medicine. Types of psychotherapy include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy.
Medications. If you have a more severe type of depression or you are not responding to psychotherapy alone, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant. These medications may take up to six weeks to work.
Electroconvulsive therapy. In severe cases where medication and psychotherapy are not working, ECT is highly effective.
Step Five: Assess Your Depression Treatment
As you continue the steps toward recovery from depression, you should know that 80 to 90 percent of people diagnosed with depression can be treated successfully. But it is not unusual to have some treatment adjustments along the way. “With the first trial of an antidepressant medication, about one third of patients show excellent improvement, one third have substantial but incomplete treatment, and one third have little or no improvement. Of patients who have incomplete response, the majority go on to have substantial improvement with a change in the antidepressant, addition of another medication to the antidepressant, or addition of psychotherapy,” says Mago.
Step Six: Get Complete Care for Depression
“In recent years it has been realized that patients with clinical depression should be treated till they are have virtually no symptoms at all. Otherwise they remain at higher risk of becoming depressed again in response to stresses in their life,” notes Mago.
It’s also important to remember that there are steps you can take for yourself to beat depression and keep it from coming back. These include lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise. You should also educate yourself about depression and establish a good support system. With the proper steps, you can beat depression.