Depression is more than sadness. Depression affects your emotional and physical health. It is a disease that impacts those who care about you and, if left untreated, can stress relationships.
Depression is a serious medical problem affecting your body and your mind. Depression has no single cause. It is a result of changes in the brain due to genetic vulnerability, trauma in childhood, and life stressors. These changes disrupt normal circuits in the brain and cause the death of the nerve cells in the brain.
Depression affects relationships with people at work, with family, and friends. When you care about someone who has depression you can feel helpless. It can be very discouraging for both you and the person who has the illness.
There is no single cause of Depression and there is no single treatment. Research indicates that a combination of medication and psychotherapy can help control symptoms and enable people to live normal lives. Combining medication and psychotherapy is the most effective treatment strategy for restoring circuits in the brain to healthy functioning and helping new brain cells to grow.
Depression interferes with your ability to think clearly and concentrate. That is why it is helpful to bring someone who knows you well when you have your appointment for an evaluation. That person can help when you discuss your symptoms and learn from your doctor about the suggested treatment strategies. You will have a better chance of getting the best care when your psychiatrist explains how you can partner with your doctor in your treatment.
Research indicates that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in combination with medication has the greatest likelihood of helping you in the early stage of your recovery from Depression. Having CBT while taking medication increases the likelihood that you will improve more quickly than with medication, alone. Further, it increases the likelihood that improvement can be maintained.
CBT is based on the premise that your past experiences affect how you think in the present and how you think now influences your feelings and the actions you choose to take. CBT helps you replace negative thought patterns that have become habitual to more positive ones that will help you make your life better.
As the medication begins to work, and the severity of the symptoms of Depression lessen, the focus of therapy can expand to include issues that have an interpersonal focus. Using Interpersonal Therapy, you can explore your self image; the beliefs you have carried with you from your past; and how this all has impacted how you operate in your world today.
With an Interpersonal Therapy approach, you begin to heal your feelings of disconnect and loneliness that came with the Depression. Now you can begin to develop life strategies that promote good relationships and a successful, fulfilling life.
There is no single cause of Depression and there is no one medication that is best for all people with Depression. Picking the best medication to treat Depression is not simple. Your unique biology, psychological makeup, and lifestyle, as well as your past medication experience and your family’s experience (if any) with antidepressants influence what medication will be most effective for you. It can take up to 4 weeks to start feeling a little better.