Depression

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources

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Common Symptoms of Depression

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Treatments for Depression

  • Stop new medications: For depression that occurs as a side effect of medication, ceasing the medication is usually sufficient to alleviate depression. If you have recently started taking a new medication, speak with your doctor regarding alternatives to the medication. If your doctor has prescribed a medication, don't stop taking it without consulting with your doctor first.
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  • Therapy: Some individuals choose to work closely with a therapist to combat depression. It is important to talk to several potential therapists and change therapists if necessary to ensure the best fit.
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  • Antidepressant drugs:While a variety of different antidepressants exist to treat depression, it is important to find which works best for you and ensure no negative drug interactions with other medications you may be taking.
       
    • Selective serotoninreuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): Due to the serotonin imbalance characteristic of depression, these drugs work to functionally increase the amount of serotonin available to the brain.
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    • Other antidepressants: While serotonin is the primary neurotransmitter implicated in depression, other neurotransmitters can also play a role. These antidepressants are often used for SSRI-resistant depressionas they target other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine.
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    • Tricyclic and tretracyclic antidepressants: While effective, there are often severe side effects.
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    • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): These drugs are also effective, but can also have severe side effects and require the patient to follow strict dietary rules. 
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  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): ECT involves delivering mild electric stimulation to the brain while a patient is unconscious. Because such treatment can also cause memory loss and confusion, it is usually only used after other methods have proven unsuccessful.


Home Remedies for Depression 

Depression itself is difficult to treat at home. But once on the road to recovery, certain small changes in your daily habits can help hasten your recovery and decrease the likelihood of a recurrence. 

  • Build a support system: Telling people you trust can help ensure you stay on track. Having a solid support system can help ensure that the depression does not return.
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  • Stay positive: Building your own self-esteem and trying to maintain a positive outlook can help you ward off depression.


How to Prevent Depression 

  • Get regular exercise: Getting more exercise has been correlated with a decrease in anxiety and depression. Joining a group exercise class can also help ensure a support system while allowing you to get regular exercise. Try exercising at least 20 to 30 minutes, a minimum of three times a week. Exercising more days out of the week is even better!
  • Eat a balanced diet: Ensuring a healthy diet can help relieve stress and other triggers of depression. Furthermore, during depression, you often have heightened levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol directs fat storage towards more visceral areas of your body and consequently increases the amount of abdominal fat. Eating unhealthy foods causes more fat to enter your body and cortisol then directs this fat to your abdominal area. This further increase in abdominal fat increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes, so try to maintain a healthy diet!
  • Get enough sleep: Maintaining good sleeping habits can impact your mood.
  • Deal with stress: Stress can be a trigger for depression. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can help you stay healthy.

 

Katherine Solem is a health writer and editor living in San Francisco. 

Published: July 5, 2011

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