Finding The Right Antidepressant
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Different antidepressants have different effects on people. Learn more about finding the right antidepressant for yourself and relieving your depression symptoms. Click here and view our video.
Transcript: Depression is typically treated effectively with antidepressant medication, psychotherapy or a combination...
Depression is typically treated effectively with antidepressant medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. But finding the right depression medication may be challenging for a number of reasons. Mental health professionals take numerous factors into consideration when prescribing an antidepressant including your age, health status, family history and potential interactions with any other medications you may be taking. The type of antidepressant prescribed also involves the particular depression symptoms you may be experiencing. For example, depression sufferers who feel agitated, angry or irritable may benefit from an antidepressant that has a calming effect. In contrast, those who are withdrawn and lethargic may do better with an antidepressant that produces a stimulating effect. The majority of antidepressants are believed to help restore the brain's chemical balance of neurotransmitters including serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which are thought to influence mood, emotions and pain levels. If you've never taken antidepressants, your mental health provider may prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, SSRI, which may have fewer and milder side effects than some other medications. Other types of antidepressants include monoamine oxidase inhibitors, MAOIs, such as Nardil, Parnate and Marplan; and norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors, called NDRIS, such as Wellbutrin or Zyban. Studies suggest only about half of depression sufferers respond to the first antidepressant prescribed. Many researchers recommend taking the initial antidepressant for at least eight weeks, noting that it may take up to 14 weeks to realize a medication's full benefits. If your antidepressant isn't working, your mental health provider may first try increasing your dosage. Trying a different antidepressant or adding a second medication may also significantly increase the likelihood of depression symptoms improving, according to a study funded by the national institute of mental health. Depending upon the severity of symptoms, your mental health provider may prescribe an anticonvulsant, anti-psychotic or stimulant, such as Ritalin or Dexedrine, in addition to your antidepressant. There is also evidence to suggest that certain genetic factors may determine whether you respond positively or negatively to a particular type of antidepressant. There may be instances where your antidepressant is helping your depression symptoms, but causing undesirable side effects. If that's the case, talk with your mental health provider about switching to a medication that offers a more optimal balance between symptom relief and minimizing side effects. It's particularly important to openly discuss concerns about antidepressant side effects with your mental health provider, especially problems that are sexually related, which is one of the main reasons many depression sufferers stop taking their medication. While experiencing disturbing side effects or waiting for yet another medication to improve your symptoms can be upsetting, make sure you let your mental health professional know about any problems you may be experiencing, rather than deciding on your own to stop taking your medication. If you stop taking your antidepressant without your mental health provider's permission, you may be at risk for your depression symptoms to worsen. Yet another reason to talk with your mental health professional before discontinuing your antidepressant medication the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This risk is especially critical in children, adolescents and young adults. Experts say finding the right antidepressant is often a process of trial and error. But with patience and perseverance, you and your mental health provider should be able to find the right medication to help you feel good again. Talk with your mental health provider about finding the right antidepressant.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Alternative treatments for depression, from reiki to nutritional supplements, can help ease depression symptoms. Could alternative treatment improve your mental health? Watch this video to see.
Transcript: Treatment for depression typically means medication and psychotherapy. But a number of alternative therapies...
Treatment for depression typically means medication and psychotherapy. But a number of alternative therapies may also help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your state of mind and help you manage your depression. Alternative therapy refers to practices used that are outside the realm of conventional western medicine, such as acupuncture, meditation, yoga, massage therapy, and reiki. Studies show more than one-third of depression sufferers use alternative therapies to manage their symptoms. Commonly cited reasons include preferring a more natural way of coping with depression, the high costs and side effects associated with medication, and personal belief system. One of the most popular alternative therapies for depression is acupuncture, an ancient chinese healing method that seeks to balance life force, called chi, which flows through the body along meridians related to each of the bodys organs. Acupuncture helps restores chi through insertion and manipulation of needles along the affected meridian, stimulating the bodys ability to overcome imbalances. Acupuncture is associated with improved sleep, an increase in endorphins, and an increase in the release of the brain chemical, serotonin, important for mood regulation. Tai chi, also dating back to ancient china, is an exercise system of smooth, slow movements to achieve harmony and balance of body and mind. Researchers report tai chi practitioners experience an enhanced sense of wellbeing, as well as reduced depression, tension and fatigue. The japanese technique, reiki, which means universal energy, seeks to overcome blockages or energy imbalances in the body. Reiki practitioners use their hands to improve the bodys energy flow and life force. Reiki is believed to reduce stress and tension, improve sleep and increase energy. Meditation techniques may help depression sufferers relax mentally and physically, often resulting in a renewed perspective. Meditation is also believed to trigger endorphin release and lead to positive feelings of wellbeing that may linger long beyond the actual meditation period. Recent research suggests massage therapy relieves depression and anxiety by impacting the bodys biochemistry. Studies of depression sufferers measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol before and after massage, with post-massage cortisol levels showing up to a 53% reduction. Yoga is also believed to help alleviate depression symptoms. Hatha yoga, or physical yoga, combines poses, controlled breathing, chanting, and meditation. Yoga helps promote circulation and concentration, while energizing the mind and body. These alternative therapies may be effective as an alternative to, or in combination with, traditional treatments. There also are several nutritional components and supplements that have been used to manage depression symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables, are believed to be essential to health mental functioning. Both st. Johns wort and sam-e are used to treat depression in europe and may be effective in treating mild to moderate depression. However, st. Johns wort may produce adverse interactions with some medications, so make sure to talk to your doctor to avoid any interaction. And neither is approved by the fda. Remember to discuss alternative therapies with your doctor before beginning to use them, so that you can get the most out your depression treatment.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Managing depression can be tough, there are steps you can take. Self-help techniques and natural remedies for depression can go a long way. Learn more here.
Transcript: Psychotherapy and medication don't work overnight, but the good news is that there ARE a number of things...
Psychotherapy and medication don't work overnight, but the good news is that there ARE a number of things YOU can do on YOUR own, in addition to ongoing treatment, that may help improve YOUR depression symptoms. Mustering the motivation to change your lifestyle may not be easy when coping with the fatigue, hopelessness and negative feelings that often characterize depression. But there are a variety of ways that may ultimately enable you to improve your mood and feel more in control. Thinking about things that previously provided satisfaction or enjoyment is a good start. If you were physically active before you were depressed, you may want to begin walking, join an exercise class or even pop in an aerobics video a few times a week. Depression sufferers typically have reduced levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, which is important for mood regulation. Researchers believe exercise increases levels of serotonin, which may improve state of mind. Numerous studies demonstrate the mental health benefits of having a pet. In addition to helping relieve isolation, pets offer unconditional love, provide opportunities for social interaction and provide a sense of purpose, building self-esteem and a sense of responsibility that helps refocus your priorities. Many experts believe regular journal writing can help depression sufferers sort out thoughts and feelings. The act of honestly expressing feelings in black and white may be difficult, but it can also provide an invaluable outlet for confronting your emotions and encouraging self-examination. And, while housecleaning may not be the top of your list when fighting depression, it doesn't hurt to take a look around to see where you can brighten things up. While a dark room is good for sleeping, you may want to have brighter sheer panels under your heavier drapes to let light in during the day! And if the weather is warm enough, open up your windows to let in both some fresh air and light. Fresh flowers and live plants, along with ridding your house of clutter may also help relieve depression symptoms, while making you feel more in control. When coping with depression, the things you avoid are as important as the things you prioritize. For example, alcohol and drugs often worsen depression symptoms, and may interfere with antidepressants you may be taking. Equally important is eating a healthy diet that ensures you are getting the nutrients your body needs for healthy functioning such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, while limiting fats, sugars and caffeine. You should also make healthy sleeping patterns a priority. Since depression often disrupts normal sleep, this can be a challenge. However, resisting the compulsion to "sleep through your problems" and actively taking steps to promote restful sleep can be helpful for depression sufferers. Remember, as you begin taking steps to improve your depression symptoms, it's not so important that you always enjoy the activities as that you feel you're taking positive steps in your recovery not unlike taking your medication every day. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please see a mental health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2014-02-04 | Tags »
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