How to Treat Major Depression

young and depressed just look at those sunglasses he's hiding something

When most people talk about depression, they are referring to major or clinical depression, an acute condition marked by periods of intense sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness. It is a mental health issue that affects millions of people around the world. Fortunately, treatment options have come a long way in recent decades, and new discoveries are being made all the time. It is a treatable condition, but understanding how to treat major depression means undertaking certain steps. These include the following:

  1. Understand the person's complete mental health history before beginning treatment. By isolating the length and severity of the person's depressed episode, you are better able to suggest appropriate treatment options.
  2. Remember to check for drug interactions before starting any pharmaceutical interventions. Contact the patient's medical doctor to discuss any potential complications that may arise from treatment.
  3. Help the patient decide on whether they would accept mood-stabilizing drugs and would prefer to try natural remedies first. Such remedies include exercise, yoga, meditation, and light therapy. Research does not always agree on the effectiveness of these approaches, but they are worth considering. Also, offer to refer a depressed person to a dietician to discuss how changes to diet or lifestyle may also help the healing process.
  4. Try an antidepressant. It is important that someone observe a depressed person taking an antidepressant for the first time; some first-time users have paradoxical reactions, including suicidal tendencies, that make observation absolutely vital.
  5. Give the drug time to work. Many antidepressants don't begin to work for two or three weeks and may take up to three months to show full effectiveness. The dosage may also need adjusting during this time. Be patient and use the time to provide additional emotional and behavioral counseling and support.
  6. Be prepared to alter the treatment protocol based on observed reactions. Because everyone responds to depression treatments differently, it may be necessary to add secondary therapies or abandon the primary therapeutic method altogether.

The most important thing to remember when treating major depression is to be patient. Everyone responds differently to both drugs and therapy, and only time will tell how responsive a given individual is. Furthermore, everyone has a different degree of knowledge about depression, so don't be surprised if you have to explain some things that seem obvious. By the same token, be prepared for patients who know almost as much as you, and don't patronize them.


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