Depression is termed as a mood disorder that involves relentless feelings of sorrow and disinterest. It can also be called as clinical depression, major depression or major depressive disorder as well. This often affects the way a person thinks or behaves socially with others. Victims of clinical depression may also have trouble in handling the daily activities. This might also be associated with the feelings of self loathing that can lead to more depression.
Clinical depression is more than just an occasional bout of sadness and cannot be considered as a weakness or something from which a person can easily get out. Clinical depression may often need a treatment that has to continue for a longer time. Most sufferers need a psychological counseling, medication or a combination of both. Apart from these, some other types of treatment may also be helpful.
The precise source of clinical depression is not known. Like every other mental disorder, following factors may play a significant role:
- Innate qualities: The symptoms of depression may be commonly seen in those people who have blood relations with other sufferers. Scientists are trying to find the right cause and connection for such appearances.
- Life incidents: Traumatic situations like death, elevated stress levels and financial issues can cause depression in most people.
- Biological dissimilarity: The sufferers of depression may seem to have certain physical variations in their brain. The implication of these changes is yet undetermined and may help in finding the causes.
- Brain chemistry: Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that occur naturally in the brain and they play a pivotal role in depression. An imbalance in the count of these chemicals may trigger depression and its symptoms.
- Hormones: An imbalance can be caused in the body due to the less or more secretion of hormones. Hormonal changes may be due to menopause, thyroid problems and other conditions.
Conventional Treatments for Handling the Symptoms of Clinical or Major Depression
A variety of treatments for depression are available. Psychological counseling and medication are the prominent type of treatments that is found to be effective in most people. Specific medications may be prescribed by the doctor or a therapist that can help in relieving the symptoms of depression. Some people also benefit by relying on a counselor or mental health practitioner.
A hospital stay may be recommended when the symptoms are severe and one may have to abide by the course rules until the symptoms show some improvement. Following are the type of approaches or treatment designed for depression.
Anti-Depression Medications for Patients Suffering from Clinical or Major Depression
An array of antidepressant medications is found for treating depression, including the ones that are mentioned below. Before following, it is advisable to speak about the side effects with your doctor.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): The treatment often begins with an SSRI prescription. These medications are safer to use and do not come with a warning of harsh side effects. Paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), escitalopram (Lexapro) and sertraline (Zoloft) are the most common types of medications prescribed.
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRI medications involve desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor XR).
- Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs): The medication that is usually prescribed from this group is Bupropion (Wellbutrin) and may affect the sexual life of an individual.
- Unusual antidepressants: Such medications do not fit into the category of antidepressants. Mirtazapine (Remeron) and trazodone fall into this category. These are sedatives and the doses have to be taken in the evening. Vilazodone (Viibryd) is a new medication included in the group and has side effects that are associated with a person's sexual drive.
- Tricyclic antidepressants: Nortriptyline (Pamelor) and imipramine (Tofranil) can be called as tricyclic antidepressants. Their side effects are intense and severe. This is why; they are not prescribed easily unless the basic SSRIs fail to show some improvement.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): Tranylcypromine (Parnate) as well as phenelzine (Nardil) is MAOIs that can be prescribed when other medications fail to show effects. A strict diet is required to be followed when this medication is being taken as it can show severe interaction. This is why; foods like wines, cheeses, pickles and medications like decongestants and birth control pills and herbal supplements must be avoided. Selegiline (Emsam) can be stuck as a patch on the skin and may have severe side effects as well.
- Other medications: Various medications can be combined with antidepressants to enhance its positive effect. A combination of two antidepressants like antipsychotics and mood stabilizers may be used. These medications, like stimulants and anti-anxiety drugs can be included for a short term use.
Few Points to Remember while Taking Anti-Depressants:
If an antidepressant has helped your family member in tackling clinical depression, it may help you as well. Finding the right medication often takes time and patience is the key. It takes time for a particular medication to adjust to the metabolism of your body without causing many side effects.
Any antidepressant should not be discontinued without consulting the doctor. Usually addiction is not caused by an antidepressant, but their prolonged used may at times make you physically dependent. Abrupt stoppage of treatment can worsen depression and show some ill effects on the condition. Speak with your doctor and decrease the dosage when in need.
If the disorder is present right from the time of birth, some antidepressants may affect you in an unusual way. In some cases, the doctor may also ask you to do some genetic tests for determining the reaction of your body to various drugs. Pharmacogenomics is the term used for understanding the reaction of genes when subjected to a particular drug.
Taking Anti-Depressants during Pregnancy for Clinical or Major Depression
Certain antidepressants may pose a threat to your health if you are breast feeding or are pregnant. Speak to your doctor if you have conceived during the medication course or thinking about conceiving in the due course.
Can Anti-Depressants Increase the Risk of Suicidal Tendencies?
Many antidepressants are often safer to use, but FDA suggests including a list of warnings that are often required before the consumption of drugs that are prescribed by the doctor. There are instances when a teenage, child or adult showed some signs of suicidal thoughts or vague behavior. This may be seen in the first weeks after prescribing the medication.
A person who is taking such drugs should be kept under strict observation and any changes in behavior to be noted. If you or your relative shows suicidal thoughts while consuming an antidepressant, report the instance to your doctor immediately. It should be understood that antidepressants will eventually reduce these thoughts and improve the mood in the long run.
Psychotherapy for Treating Patients Who are Suffering from Clinical or Major Depression
Psychotherapy can be referred as a basic medication for depression. The mental therapist often speaks about the conditions and all the related issues. This is also called as talk therapy, psychosocial therapy or counseling.
Dialectic behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, commitment therapy, interpersonal therapy, mindful techniques and acceptance are various kinds of psychotherapy that are generally used. They can help you with:
- Adjusting during crisis or any emotional situation.
- Identifying behaviors and beliefs that are negative as well as replacing them with positive feelings.
- Exploring the experiences and relationships as well as develop a strong interaction with fellow mates.
- Finding alternatives for coping with difficulties and tackling them.
- Identifying the causes that lead to depression and change them positively.
- Regaining control over life and stabilizing the imbalances as well as anger that is a major symptom of depression.
- Setting realistic and smaller goals that are easier to achieve.
- Developing a situation for tackling difficult events that can cause troubles.
Hospitalization & Residential Treatment Programs for Patients with Major Depressive Disorder
When the symptoms are severe in some people, a hospital stay may be required. Inpatient hospitalization is essential for those who are unable to care for themselves and have a chance of harming themselves. Some hospitals may also arrange for psychiatric treatment that can help in staying calm and secured until there are signs of improvement.
Partial hospitalization or daily treatment programs may be designed for some people. These help a person in getting support or counseling for controlling the symptoms. Some procedures may be suggested for a few people:
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) for Managing Clinical or Major Depression
In this type of treatment, the brain is subjected to electric fields. The procedures often affect the neurotransmitter level that can render relief in cases of severity when all the other treatments fail to work. This may involve various side effects like headaches that can be tolerated. Some may also show signs of temporary memory loss. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is suggested for those, who cannot recover with medication and are unable to take antidepressants due to health issues or increased suicidal risks.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for People Struggling with Clinical or Major Depression
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be opted for those people who fail to respond to antidepressant medications. During the procedure, the person is asked to position himself on a chair and a coil is placed on the scalp. The coil sends various magnetic impulses that stimulate the brain cells. It regulates the mood and helps in getting rid of depression. The treatment may continue for six weeks with five seatings every week.