Depression. What exactly does this term mean? The World Book Encyclopedia defines depression as, "A serious mental disorder in which a person suffers long periods of sadness and other negative feelings." These feelings could be directed towards things or people they once enjoyed or being around. Now the real question arises; how can depression be treated? To this day, many experts question how exactly depression can be treated, and they have many different thoughts and theories.
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One way to treat depression is psychotherapy. Many people would argue that psychotherapy is the most successful means of treatment. Psychotherapy is often the first form of treatment recommended. During psychotherapy, a person diagnosed with depressive disorder talks to a licensed and trained mental health professional who helps him or her identify and work through the different aspects that may be triggering their depression. However, in his article "Fall into Helplessness," Martin E. P. Seligman said that the only cure for depression is "recovery of belief that responding produces enforcement" not psychotherapy. If the doctors know what the cause is, they have a better understanding on how to help the person. According to the Cleveland Clinic Health System, some examples of things that can cause depression are "grief from the loss of a loved one, disputes with family, friends, or co-workers, possibly moving to a new city, graduating from high school or college, changing jobs, and substance abuse." People who actively participate in therapy recover more quickly and have fewer relapses than those who choose not to seek help. People tend to think that therapy is a "quick fix" to a problem that was created over a long period of time. They become frustrated and sometimes more depressed when therapy does not "cure" them immediately. Psychotherapy is a great tool to treat depressive disorders, but the person must understand that it is not a quick fix and sometimes can be a very long commitment.
The second kind of treatment for depression is for patients to be put on an antidepressant drug. Antidepressants are medicines used to help people who have depression. People who take antidepressants usually get better after only taking them for a short period of time. The American Academy of Family Physicians states, "Most antidepressants are believed to work by slowing the removal of certain chemicals from the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are needed for normal brain function. Antidepressants help people with depression by making these natural chemicals more available to the brain." Antidepressant drugs can often cause side effects. In his article "What Good is Feeling Bad?" Randolph M. Nesse says that Prozac, a type of antidepressant, has become the "most prescribed antidepressant, because it does not cause dependency and its side effects are, for most patients, few and mild." As seen, not all people get side effects. Some examples of common side effects someone may encounter may be weight loss or gain, nausea, trouble sleeping, and temporary irritability.
Another type of treatment is hospitalization. A person is hospitalized and kept under close supervision due to suicidal thoughts or the possible danger towards other people. According to The World Book Encyclopedia, hospitalization is "an essential treatment for depressed patients who are suicidal." Although the very idea of going to a psychiatric hospital is an outrage to most people, there are times when people who are severely depressed or anxious should consider committing themselves to a psychiatric ward for a period of time. Many people tend to feel shame or feel as if they have been a failure in life. If there is a need to go to the hospital, keep in mind it is only a temporary situation that is designed for safety precautions.
In conclusion, as you see, there are several treatments for depression. You can speak to several highly trained psychotherapists, psychologists, medical doctors and ask them their opinion on the best way to treat depression and you will probably receive many different answers. What may work for one person does not always work for someone else. The best way seems to be a combination of approaches. For example, start out with one and see if the person improves, as in psychotherapy. If the patient improves slightly, then that could be the treatment that works; if there is minimal improvement, maybe medication along with psychotherapy is the way to go. Of course, if the person is a danger to him or herself or others, hospitalization is the only choice to make. As you see, treating depression is not a simple task; it’s not just popping a pill and everything is good. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment from the person with depression and the mental health provider who is treating him or her.
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