Depression Treatment Options

Once you have a depression diagnosis, your doctor will discuss the different depression treatment options with you. The kind of depression treatment that's best for you depends on the type of depression you have. For example, some patients with clinical depression are treated with psychotherapy, and some are prescribed antidepressants. Others are prescribed antidepressants and psychotherapy. Still others may undergo electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also called electroshock therapy. This treatment may be used with patients who do not respond to standard depression treatment options.

Whatever depression treatment your doctor prescribes, it's important to understand that there are no "instant" solutions. You may have to try different antidepressants to find the most effective drug for you. In addition, you'll have to take the antidepressant for several weeks to see if it benefits you at all. Being patient is important. Trust your doctor to know your personal history. With that, he or she can find the best depression treatment options that help improve your mood.

What Are Depression Drugs?

Depression drugs can help lift your mood and ease the sadness and hopelessness you feel. You'll need to work with your doctor to find the depression medicine that is most effective with the fewest side effects.

How Do Antidepressants Work?

It's thought that three chemical messengers are involved with depression. The three are norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters transmit electrical signals between brain cells.

Researchers have found a link between chemical imbalance in these brain chemicals and depression. Antidepressant medications increase the availability of neurotransmitters or by changing the sensitivity of the receptors for these chemical messengers. It is believed that modifying these brain chemicals can help improve mood, although the exact ways they work is still unclear.

What Are the Types of Antidepressants?

There are several types of antidepressants.

These drugs improve symptoms of depression. The major types of antidepressants include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs work by altering the amount of a chemical in the brain called serotonin.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). SNRIs are another form of antidepressant medicine. They treat depression by increasing availability of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). TCAs primarily affect the levels of two chemical messengers in the brain, norepinephrine and serotonin. Although these drugs are effective in treating depression, they can have more side effects than other drugs. So they typically aren't the first drugs used.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs are most effective in people with depression who do not respond to other treatments. They are also effective for treating other mental illnesses. Substances in certain foods like cheese, beverages like wine, and medications can interact with an MAOI. So people taking this drug must adhere to strict dietary restrictions. For this reason these antidepressants also aren't usually the first drugs used.



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