Depression Meds & Compliance
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Don't think your meds are making a difference? Don't stop taking them! Find out why it's important to keep taking your antidepressant.
Transcript: When you take cold medicine, in an hour or less your symptoms diminish. That makes it easy to see why...
When you take cold medicine, in an hour or less your symptoms diminish. That makes it easy to see why you should KEEP dosing yourself. But it's less obvious-at least right away-why you should STICK to an antidepressant. The benefits don't kick in immediately-in fact, it can take up to two months before you feel significant relief from your depression. For some people, that can be so frustrating that they don't want to stick with the therapy. A depressed person plagued with pessimism and negativity might give up TOO SOON. For others, the SIDE EFFECTS associated with the medication are troubling and make them reluctant to take the meds. And for still others, depression makes them disinclined to seize control of their wellbeing and take full responsibility for becoming healthier. They are just not willing or able to comply with treatment recommendations. On the flip side, some people stop taking the medication as soon as they start to feel BETTER. In reality, you should stay on your meds for at least 6 months, and LONGER if you've had 2 or more major depressive episodes within 5 years. But whatever the reason, many, many people FAIL to follow their doctor's prescription for antidepressant therapy. In fact, different studies have reported that only about 20 percent of patients comply, according to the World Health Organization. This is VERY risky behavior, because stopping medication abruptly or taking it sporadically can increase depression-like symptoms or plunge you back into full blown major depression. When it IS time to come off antidepressants, your doctor will put you on a tapering-off schedule so your body can gradually adjust to going without the medication. To learn more about antidepressants, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Having major depressive disorder (MDD) can be difficult, but having a family that understands and supports you can help. Watch this video about helping your family understand your MDD.
Transcript: Major depression can be hard to understand if you've never experienced it. So you may find that your...
Major depression can be hard to understand if you've never experienced it. So you may find that your family members are a little confused by what you are going through. You need to let them in on what's going on with you. The idea SEEMS daunting, but major depression is a burden that will feel lighter once you LET yourself open up to people who care about you. You don't need to tell EVERYONE in your family-start SLOWLY and confide in one trusted relative first. If you're feeling up to it, answer questions about your major depression. They'll want to know about your symptoms. If you inform them about the most common ones--such as fatigue, disinterest, irritability, sadness and lack of appetite-they'll better understand why you may sometimes behave in ways they don't expect or understand. They may MISTAKENLY think that you can just SHAKE OFF your depression. Tell them that you have a very REAL illness which is caused, at least in part, by a CHEMICAL imbalance in your brain. Your antidepressants correct the imbalance, and YOUR work in therapy will relieve your symptoms, but NEITHER work right away. Eighty to ninety percent of people diagnosed with major depression DO recover successfully, but it takes time. You might need at least a couple MONTHS of treatment to feel the full effects of medication and to begin to benefit from therapy. Your relatives will be EAGER to support you-and you should let them. But they may not KNOW what you need, so give them specifics to the best of your ability-you might prefer encouraging words, an entertaining diversion or simple conversation. By the same token, you should feel comfortable with politely telling them when you DO want to be left alone. But...COMPLETE isolation isn't a good idea. Social connections are important- a 2005 study showed that emotional support helps ease depression. To get more information about major depression, watch other videos in this series.More »
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If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with MDD, then you probably have many questions. Check out this video for FAQs about major depression treatment.
Transcript: If you've been NEWLY diagnosed with major depression, you PROBABLY have some questions. Let me help you...
If you've been NEWLY diagnosed with major depression, you PROBABLY have some questions. Let me help you answer FIVE of the most common ones. Do you need to go on antidepressants? Forever? Your psychiatrist will help decide what pertains to YOU, personally. But the American Psychiatric Association recommends antidepressants as an initial treatment choice for mild to moderate depression, and strongly suggests they be used for patients with SEVERE depression. Since major depression is partially caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals, ANTIDEPRESSANTS balance OUT the levels of these chemicals, known as neurotransmitters. People react to antidepressants differently, but often, people who have had 2 or more major depressive episodes within 5 years-- DO stay on antidepressants for a long time. Next question. How LONG before the antidepressants KICK IN? Well, you might START to feel better in a couple weeks, but they must be taken REGULARLY for 6 - sometimes even 8 -- weeks before you feel maximum relief. So it's important not to give up too soon. If you're not feeling better even after 6 to 8 weeks, your doctor will probably switch the medication or add a second one. THIRD question: What about SIDE effects? SSRIs -- or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors - are the most popular class of antidepressants, namely because it has FEWER side effects than older antidepressants. And while the side effects depend on which SSRI you take, many of them may go away over time. SSRI side effects may include: nausea, agitation, dry mouth, headache, weight gain, loss of orgasm and low sex drive. Other antidepressants, such as tricyclics and MAO inhibitors, may ALSO cause high blood pressure, constipation, blurred vision and weight gain. If you're being bothered by side effects, your doctor should be able to switch your prescription. Fourth question. Do you need BOTH psychotherapy AND antidepressants? You might. While psychotherapy and antidepressants are DEFINITELY effective on their own, numerous studies have shown that TOGETHER, they're far MORE successful. Last question. How can I help MYSELF? There's plenty you can do to take an active role in your treatment, and Mental Health America reports that a pro-active approach WILL aid recovery. You can: Start exercising...eat healthy... take supplements...meditate... and get acupuncture. These techniques - have all been shown to relieve symptoms for some people. Ask your psychiatrist for additional info. To get more details on major depression treatment, watch other videos in this series!More »
Last Modified: 2013-07-30 | Tags »
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Ready to stop taking your antidepressants? Go slowly. Stopping antidepressants takes time, so do it right.
Transcript: Your antidepressant plays a VITAL part in your recovery from major depression, and you should NEVER stop...
Your antidepressant plays a VITAL part in your recovery from major depression, and you should NEVER stop taking them cold-turkey. But there ARE times when you might think about going off of them. Maybe the side effects have become unmanageable. Or your major depression is in REMISSION. Or you and your psychiatrist might decide that you don't NEED the antidepressants anymore. You may also decide to stop taking antidepressants because you're a woman who wants to or has become pregnant. Whatever is behind your decision to come off your meds, you need to end treatment SAFELY. NEVER quit taking medication abruptly, and NEVER stop medicating WITHOUT a doctor's approval. Why? Well, antidepressants regulate the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain. After a bit of time, your brain ADAPTS to the new level. If you stop taking your meds too FAST, discontinuation symptoms may occur. These symptoms may mimic symptoms of DEPRESSION and may also include other side effects such as dizziness. Abruptly stopping an antidepressant might even throw you into depression RELAPSE. To SLASH your chances of discontinuation symptoms, you need to TAPER OFF your medication. This means taking ever smaller doses over 2 to 6 weeks. Some pills can be cut in half in order to make a smaller dose, and others come in a low-dose form. Your psychiatrist will establish your tapering-off schedule based on YOUR needs. Depending on what dose you STARTED with, it might take a month to several months to safely, FULLY wean yourself off your antidepressant. To learn more about antidepressants, watch additional videos in this series.More »
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Pregnancy is important, but so is your depression treatment. Know your treatment options when dealing with major depression and pregnancy.
Transcript: Becoming pregnant should be a source of great joy, but for a woman who has to deal with major depression,...
Becoming pregnant should be a source of great joy, but for a woman who has to deal with major depression, it can also trigger concern --- for her fetus AND her own mental health. First, and most important, an expectant mother should NOT suddenly stop any depression treatment. That can cause a relapse. If you are on antidepressants, and find out you are pregnant, go talk with your doctor immediately about your next steps. If a woman's major depression is in remission and symptoms such as sadness, fatigue and social isolation have faded, she CAN try to slowly taper off medication, replacing it with more psychotherapy instead. However, there's a real risk that she'll experience a RELAPSE in that situation as well, so this should only be done with a doctor's supervision. So does all this mean a woman should STAY on antidepressants if she's pregnant? While antidepressants DO pass through the placenta, there is NOT solid information on just how much they affect the fetus either pre-or-post birth. A pregnant woman, her psychiatrist and her OB/GYN should review the risks and benefits before making a decision about which medications--and how much of them--to take. To CUT DOWN on your antidepressant dosage, supplement treatment with more psychotherapy, daily exercise, acupuncture and other possibly helpful non-drug methods. To learn more about major depression, watch other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-28 | Tags »
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Anger and depression have a volatile relationship. See how they continually fuel each other and what you can do to break the cycle of anger and depression.
Transcript: Anger and depression have a volatile relationship. Depression can fuel anger, and anger can act as an...
Anger and depression have a volatile relationship. Depression can fuel anger, and anger can act as an outlet for uncontrolled depression. And the angrier a depressed person becomes, the more depressed he may feel. According to researchers, anger and depression activate adjacent areas of the brain, share the same neurological pathways and are regulated by the same neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.Numerous risk factors can lead to simultaneous feelings of depression and anger in susceptible individuals. Some of these risk factors include: * Heredity. The tendency towards depression AND uncontrolled anger IS related to genetic predispositions. They don't determine your fate, but can alert you to your risk and make you more vigilant about avoiding potential triggers of both depression and anger.* Poor health. The frustrations and fears associated with poor health, plus the lack of physical activity that often goes along with it, can fuel feelings of anger and depression that may be brewing inside a person. * Environmental factors. This includes loneliness, lack of support system, unemployment and debt. No mystery why these can worsen depression or cause anger.* Drug and alcohol abuse. Artificial stimulants and depressants may affect the part of the brain that triggers feelings of depression and anger. It turns out that what people THINK will provide relief only makes them feel worse in the long run. Fortunately, the cycle of depression and anger can be broken with the right treatment, which may include anti-depressants combined with stress-relief techniques, lifestyle modification and talk therapy. For more information on how to manage depression, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Hypnotherapy? Really? Yes, really. When it comes to hypnotherapy and depression, experts believe that this deep relaxation can help promote positive thinking. Find out how.
Transcript: Whether you are taking anti-depressants or not, you may want to try an adjunct treatment such as talk...
Whether you are taking anti-depressants or not, you may want to try an adjunct treatment such as talk therapy -- or even hypnotism. Although there is some controversy about what it means to be hypnotized, it appears that succumbing to the suggestion that you are deeply relaxed and free of conscious thought, puts the nervous system to sleep for short periods of time. During these trance-like, 'hyper-relaxed' moments, your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure slow down. In depression treatments, it's at that point when your doctor or hypnotist may help you construct new, healthier thought processes and behaviors, such as deep breathing or positive thinking, to use when feelings of depression set in. Afterwards, you are brought back to normal waking consciousness and you will discuss the process with the hypnotherapist.Does it really work? Well, a 2007 study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis found that it was more helpful than cognitive-behavioral therapy in reducing depression, anxiety and hopelessness. And the benefits continued for a year after the hypnosis was used. However, hypnotherapy isn't for everyone. In fact, up to 10 percent of the population cannot be hypnotized at all. And it's not suitable for people who use drugs or alcohol or experience delusions and hallucinations. In addition, since many states do not regulate hypnotherapy, you'll want to really research your options and consult your doctor to make sure the practitioner is reputable.It is best to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment for major depression from a doctor or psychiatrist before considering hypnotherapy. Without a proper diagnosis, hypnotherapy may worsen symptoms of depression. And the MOST effective way to relieve major depression is proven to be a combination of lifestyle modification, medication and psychological therapy -- which may include hypnosis.For more information on ways to manage depression, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Life becomes challenging when someone you know is depressed. It's tough to know what to say and when someone is depressed what NOT to say.
Transcript: When a loved one has major depressive disorder or MDD it's tough to know what to say - or NOT say. You...
When a loved one has major depressive disorder or MDD it's tough to know what to say - or NOT say. You want to understand what the person is going through, but the truth is you DON'T quite. And you want to offer comfort and consolation-but aren't sure what will help. Well, there are some basic guidelines that will help you navigate the tricky situation. First and foremost, remember that your loved one didn't CHOOSE to be depressed. Depression is caused by a combination of factors: a person's genes and biochemical make up, life experiences and psychological factors. If you understand THAT, it will help you avoid laying BLAME on the person for being depressed. And you won't say things such as "Get over yourself, you're just in a rut." or "Why do you always have to be such a drama queen?" It will ALSO help you understand that a person can't simply SHAKE OFF depression. You do more harm than good by suggesting that they just "Snap out of it!" or "Think some good thoughts." Also, don't belittle the situation. You only hurt the person's feelings by saying:-"What do you have to be depressed about?"- or "You're not the only one who gets sad."While dealing with a loved one's depression may be difficult, don't make the situation about YOU. Telling your loved one that you know how they feel because you were ONCE blue, or relating what YOU DO to get out of a funk, will not ring true, unless you've also had MDD. Instead try saying: -"I can't really understand what you're feeling, but I am here if you need anything any time of the day or night." - and "Maybe seeing a therapist is a good idea." For more information on dealing with depression, check out other videos on this site.More »
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Young adults and children on antidepressants are more prone to suicidal thoughts. Learn more about antidepressants and suicide risk in this video.
Transcript: In 2004, the Food & Drug Administration added a black box warning to ALL antidepressants stating...
In 2004, the Food & Drug Administration added a black box warning to ALL antidepressants stating that, in the first couple months of treatment, suicidal thoughts may INCREASE in children AND adolescents. In 2007, they extended the warning to people 24 and under. So if antidepressants RAISE suicide risk, why would they be prescribed for young people at all? Well, a comprehensive review of available data found that the BENEFITS of antidepressants to children and adolescents with major depression and anxiety disorders outweigh this upsetting-but relatively rare and transient--risk. The danger is greatest during the first 4 weeks of medication and decreases after that. According to the National institutes of Health, about 4 percent of children taking SSRI medications experienced suicidal thinking or behavior, including actual suicide attempts-twice the rate of those taking placebo, or sugar pills. However, there is no data that identifies WHICH antidepressants are riskier. To control the risk, young people on antidepressants should be monitored CLOSELY. And, according to the NIMH-funded Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study, they respond best when treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy .Antidepressants do not seem to increase suicidal thoughts or actions in adults OVER 24, however. And while they are not always effective, about 55 to 70 percent of people feel better -- at least in the short term -- as a result of taking an antidepressant. If you find yourself or a young person you know having suicidal thoughts, see your doctor IMMEDIATELY. If you've just started a new medication, it MIGHT be the reason for the extreme depression. But DON'T stop taking antidepressant medication WITHOUT a doctor's permission and supervision. Watch more videos in this series to learn more about treating major depression.More »
Last Modified: 2012-09-18 | Tags »
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Meditation may sound kooky and quaint, but it could improve your depression. Learn about the meditation and depression connection.
Transcript: When you think of "meditation", you probably picture Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged in Tibet. But...
When you think of "meditation", you probably picture Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged in Tibet. But meditation offers benefits to EVERYONE, and it might EVEN help EASE major depression symptoms. Numerous studies have used MINDFULNESS-based COGNITIVE therapy to examine meditation's effects on major depression. Patients practicing mindfulness meditation sit and concentrate on the rhythm of their breathing. It helps them notice their painful thoughts and then let them float away, instead of brooding over them. COGNITIVE behavioral therapy, in the form of gentle questions from a therapist, is done WHILE the patient is practicing mindfulness. THIS therapy is intended to help patients ALTER painful thinking patterns and respond to problems in a more constructive way. Research has validated this approach. In 2008, a study of people with major depression showed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy prevented relapse more than treatment with antidepressants alone did. The researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK randomly split 123 people into two groups-one group started MINDFULNESS-based COGNITIVE therapy and was allowed to stop taking antidepressants if they wanted to. The other group continued with only antidepressants. Forty seven percent of the MINDFULNESS-based COGNITIVE therapy group relapsed, compared to SIXTY percent of the group on antidepressant treatment alone. The meditators also reported GREATER enjoyment of daily life and BETTER physical health. Another relapse study in 2010 at Ontario's Center for Addiction and Mental Health looked at three groups of people with major depression. One group continued taking antidepressants, one STOPPED them and started mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and the third took placebos. The relapse rates were the SAME for those on medication and those who meditated and received drug therapy. If you're thinking about trying mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or even traditional mindfulness meditation, make sure you discuss it to your psychiatrist first and never stop antidepressant medication abruptly or without a doctor's supervision. To learn more about major depression, take a look at more videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-06 | Tags »
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You're about to start your initial antidepressants to help relieve your depression. Learn what to expect from your antidepressant treatment.
Transcript: When you're first diagnosed with major depression, you'll start psychotherapy and your psychiatrist will...
When you're first diagnosed with major depression, you'll start psychotherapy and your psychiatrist will give you a prescription for your FIRST antidepressant. It will probably belong to a class of drugs called SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. SSRIs are some of the newer generation of FDA-approved antidepressants. They're prescribed to patients newly diagnosed with major depression because they are generally more effective and their side effects are MILDER than those of the older antidepressants, such as tricyclics and MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. SSRIs help relieve your symptoms by upping the available levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. It-and other neurotransmitters-affect mood and help your brain communicate with itself and your nervous system. The psychiatrist will prescribe you one based on your individual needs. Common ones include fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram and escitalopram. Like all medications, SSRIs DO have side effects. They could include dry mouth, sleepiness, nausea, weight gain, dizziness and low sex drive. Your first dosage varies depending on the drug-you might start on 20 milligrams or 50 milligrams. The drug might take 4 to 8 weeks for its full benefits to kick in, so stick with it. But...about 20 to 40 percent of the time, your first antidepressant WON'T work for you. That's when doctors will increase your dosage, switch your prescription, or add a SECOND medication. For example, the doctor may add a second antidepressant, such as bupropion, or may switch you to an SNRI or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, such as venlafaxine, duloxetine and desvenlafaxine. If this doesn't work, your psychiatrist may move you onto an MAOIs OR a tricyclic antidepressant. It might take a bit of time to figure out WHICH antidepressant combo works for YOU, but ultimately, they'll probably help you push your major depression into remission. If you think you need antidepressants, make a doctor's appointment. ONLY take them when they've been prescribed to you by a professional! To learn more about antidepressants, check out other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-30 | Tags »
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You might think antidepressants will lift your mood overnight, but that's not usually the case, especially when your doctor starts you off on a low dose. Find out how long will antidepressants take to work from this video.
Transcript: You've been told that antidepressants will make you feel better...but WHEN will the relief hit? Well......
You've been told that antidepressants will make you feel better...but WHEN will the relief hit? Well... let's backtrack for a second. In depressed people, mood-enhancing brain chemicals-called neurotransmitters-are out of balance. Antidepressants work by influencing the levels of brain chemicals. Your first antidepressant will probably be an SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It affects a brain chemical called serotonin, a neurotransmitter that GREATLY influences your mood. SSRIs are WIDELY prescribed because they have relatively mild side effects. But SSRIs and other antidepressants don't turn you into a happy, optimistic person overnight. You might feel some beneficial effects in the first 2 to 4 weeks, but the full effects usually take 6 to 8 weeks. Generally, if you DON'T feel relief within that amount of time, the particular drug you are taking may not be effective for you. But that's TOTALLY okay-it happens to 20 to 30 percent of people on antidepressants for the first time. Your doctor will increase your dose, switch your prescription or add another antidepressant to your treatment regimen. If you've successfully treated your depression with antidepressants, you'll probably want to come off of them. But DON'T stop taking them without your doctor's guidance. Stopping them ABRUPTLY may TRIGGER withdrawal symptoms and possibly a recurrence of symptoms. To prevent a depression relapse, a patient is USUALLY counseled to remain on their antidepressant for 6 to 12 months. At that point, the doctor may GRADUALLY reduce the dose and eventually, a person may go off the drug completely. However, patients who have had 2 or more major depressive episodes within 5 years, or those who continue to have low levels of depression, may have to remain on their medication indefinitely. Even though it'll probably take some time - and maybe some trial and error - antidepressants WILL likely help you return to a productive and healthy life. More than 80 percent of patients respond to some antidepressant! To learn more about antidepressants, check out other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-12 | Tags »
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Is group therapy right for you? Well, it certainly has its advantages. Check out this video to learn more about the benefits of group therapy.
Transcript: Along with antidepressants, INDIVIDUAL, one-on-one psychotherapy is a cornerstone of treatment for anyone...
Along with antidepressants, INDIVIDUAL, one-on-one psychotherapy is a cornerstone of treatment for anyone with major depression. But GROUP psychotherapy is effective in treating major depression as well. The group structure is more affordable than individual therapy. It allows you to practice your new coping skills with others, and it will improve your communication skills because you can interact with the other participants without fear of judgment. Plus, group therapy may help you avoid feelings of loneliness. Your DOCTOR will decide if group therapy will SUPPLEMENT your current treatment or REPLACE individual therapy sessions, but it's NOT something you should start on your own. Also, if you're having suicidal thoughts, you need more than group therapy. You should speak ONE ON ONE to a mental health professional. A typical group therapy session involves several people, usually no more than 12, sitting in a circle. The group is always guided by a mental health professional. Several types of psychotherapy can work in a group format, including cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is most often used for major depression, however. Like individual psychotherapy, cognitive GROUP therapy will help you identify and replace your negative thinking patterns and behaviors for positive ones. Interpersonal therapy is used to treat several types of depression. It focuses on improving the patient's behavior and interaction patterns with others. SUPPORT groups may also help you from feeling lonely, but they're a bit different from group psychotherapy. Support groups are not always led by professional therapists because they exist to help you COPE with symptoms, not to TREAT your unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. You can gain helpful tips from group members on how to MANAGE depression and feel less isolated, but you wouldn't usually begin a support group until AFTER you're on a steady treatment plan for managing your depression. Whichever forum you and your doctor decide may best help you manage your depression, remember that there's NO need to go through this illness alone. To learn more about major depression treatment, take a look at other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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