What treatments are available?
Most people diagnosed with depression are treated by their family doctor, although a small minority of people may be referred to a psychiatrist or a member of the local Community Mental Health Team for more specialised help. Depending on your symptoms, the severity of the depression, and your circumstances, the doctor may suggest anti-depressant medication, a talking treatment or a combination of both.
Antidepressant medication acts on chemicals in the brain that lift your mood. They treat the symptoms, but cannot treat the root cause of depression. This is why talking treatments are often prescribed in conjunction with antidepressants, so that you can be helped to address the reasons why you became depressed in the first place.
It may take a few weeks before medication starts to have a noticeable effect; your doctor will normally talk through the process with you and will generally arrange to see you regularly during the initial stages of medication to monitor effectiveness. As with any medication, you may experience unwanted side-effects, which you need to discuss with your doctor. There is a range of anti-depressant medication available and a different one may be more effective. It can take a bit of time to find the right one.
Complementary & Lifestyle treatments:
Some people find treatments such as herbal remedies or homeopathy helpful. It is important that you discuss such treatments with your doctor in case of interaction with any medication they may have prescribed.
Treatments like massage can help to make you feel better, and sometimes the care and attention given by complementary therapists can feel very supportive and healing in itself. Practices such as meditation and yoga may also be helpful for some people. You may find creative therapies such as art and poetry can help channel energies.
Admission to hospital
In severe cases of depression, in-patient hospital treatment may be appropriate, for example when the condition has proved to be resistant to treatment, where the person is so severely depressed they cannot cope at home, or where the person is assessed as being at a high risk of suicide.
Hospital admission can give medical staff the opportunity to accurately assess a person’s condition over a period of time, and to provide levels of care and attention that could not be provided at home.
Talking treatments (counselling/therapy)
Talking treatments (counseling/therapy) alone can be effective in combating depression for some people. For others a combination of talking treatments and anti-depressant medication may be most effective. Talking treatments aim to help people recognise contributing factors in their lives, and work out coping strategies to deal with these.
Referrals for talking treatments can be arranged by your doctor.
Information provided by SANE www.sane.org.uk