Conquering Depression


Recovery from depression is quicker and more likely to occur with medication plus psychotherapy when compared with either treatment alone.


Antidepressant medications influence natural chemicals in the brain. The serotonin system influences mood, arousal, anxiety, impulses, and aggression. Antidepressants affect one or more of these chemicals (serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and acetylcholine). They help nerve cells in the serotonin system communicate with one another.

You may need to try a few different medications before finding the one that works best for you with the fewest side effects.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Doctors usually start by prescribing medications from a class of drugs known as SSRIs. Many people tolerate SSRIs without difficulty, but others who take these drugs can have sexual side effects, and they may cause nausea, insomnia, and headaches.

Newer antidepressants. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, and other new antidepressants affect the serotonin system in different ways. They provide a wider range of treatment options for people with depression.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). TCAs have been used since the 1960s and have been shown to be effective. However, they can cause dizziness, constipation, blurred vision, trouble urinating, and abnormal heart rhythms.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs are effective but can cause sedation, insomnia, and weight gain. They can also leave you feeling stimulated or restless. People taking MAOIs must avoid eating certain foods containing a substance called tyramine. Tyramine is found in yogurt, aged cheese, pickles, beer, and red wine.


Psychotherapy helps relieve symptoms and educates patients so that they can better manage their problems.

There are several types of psychotherapy, including:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has two parts. Cognitive therapy helps you recognize and change negative patterns
of thinking. Behavioral therapy works to change your reactions in situations that trigger depression.

Interpersonal psychotherapy concentrates on the thornier aspects of your current relationships, both at work and at home. These treatments will help you identify and practice ways to cope with recurring conflicts.

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on how life events, desires, and past and current relationships affect your feelings and the choices you make. By becoming aware of these links, you may find it easier to overcome obstacles.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In some situations, a treatment called electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can
be a life-saving option. In ECT, an electrical impulse is applied to your scalp and passes to the brain, causing a seizure. ECT is the quickest and most effective treatment for the most severe forms of depression. In most people, it is no more risky than other treatments for depression.


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