- Understanding Depression Slideshow
- Take the Depression Quiz
- Depression Tips Slideshow
- Depression FAQs
- Patient Comments: Depression - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Depression - Therapy
- Patient Comments: Depression - Symptoms in Teens
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
- Depression facts
- What is a depressive disorder? Depression vs. sadness
- What are myths about depression?
- What are the types of depression, and what are depression symptoms and signs?
- Depression symptoms and signs in men
- Depression symptoms and signs in women
- Depression symptoms and signs in teenagers
- Depression symptoms and signs in children
- What are the risk factors and causes of depression?
- Postpartum depression
- What specialists treat depression?
- What tests do health-care professionals use to diagnose depression?
- What treatments are available for depression?
- What is the general approach to treating depression?
- What about sexual dysfunction related to antidepressants?
- What about discontinuing antidepressants?
- What are complications of depression?
- What is the prognosis for depression?
- Is it possible to prevent depression?
- What about self-help and home remedies for depression?
- How can someone help a person who is depressed?
- Where can one seek help for depression?
- What is in the future for depression?
- Where can people find more information about depression?
Quick GuideLearn to Spot Depression: Symptoms, Warning Signs, Medication
Where can one seek help for depression?
A complete physical and psychological diagnostic evaluation by professionals will help the depressed person decide the type of treatment that might be best for him or her. However, if the situation is urgent because a suicide seems possible, having loved ones take the person to the emergency room to be evaluated by an emergency-room doctor is essential. If the patient makes a suicide gesture or attempt, a 911 call is warranted. The patient might not realize how much help he or she needs. In fact, he or she might feel undeserving of help because of the negativity and helplessness that is a part of depressive illness.
What is in the future for depression?
We are close to having genetic markers for bipolar disorder. Soon after, we hope to also have them for major depression. That way, we can know of a child's vulnerability to depression from birth and try to create preventive strategies. For example, we can teach parents the added importance of providing a supportive and otherwise healthy environment given their child's vulnerability. Parents can also be taught the early warning signs of depression so that they can get treatment for their children, if necessary, to ward off future problems.
The new world of pharmacogenetics holds the promise of actually keeping the genes responsible for depression turned off so as to avoid the illnesses completely. Also, by studying genes, we are learning more about the matching of patients with treatment. This kind of information can tell us which patients do well on which types of drugs and psychotherapy regimens.
We are learning more about the interactions of the neurochemicals, the chemical messengers in the brain, and their influence on depression. Moreover, new categories of neurochemicals, such as neuropeptides and substance P, are being studied. As a result, we will soon be able to develop new drugs that should be more effective with fewer side effects. We are also learning startling things about how maternal stress early in pregnancy can profoundly affect the developing fetus. For example, we now know that maternal stress can greatly increase the risk for the fetus to develop depression as an adult.
Further information is also being discerned about how to most effectively make treatment of depression available and acceptable to all who need it. This is particularly important for children and adolescents, minorities, individuals who are economically disadvantaged or live in rural areas, the elderly and for people with developmental disabilities, who are known to suffer from lack of adequate access to mental health treatment that is knowledgeable and respectful of what may be their unique needs and preferences. While sadness will always be part of the human condition, hopefully we will be able to lessen or eradicate the more severe mood disorders from the world to the benefit of all of us.