Depression and anxiety are very devastating illnesses. They affect millions of people around the world, yet they can be defeated...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

How to Use Medication to Treat Depression

How to Use Medication to Treat Depression
As can be said of many things in life, the treatment of depression and its effectiveness depend on the individuals we are trying to treat. For this reason, the medical industry largely agrees that medication and psychological treatment are the best treatment for depression. Whatever might be the cause of your particular depression, both medication and psychological treatments can help you relieve your main symptoms.

That is why the best thing for you to do if you have depression is to work together with your doctor or your mental health expert, to get the treatment that is best for you. The reason why I said this is that even though there are people who respond very well to psychological treatments, there are many other people who respond even better to medications. I have seen some people who got better with only some of the 10 natural programs discussed above, or with some kind of "talking" (psychological) treatment, and I equally know some other people (including me), who require both medication and psychological treatment.

Here is an important word of caution:

 I am not advising every person who is having depression to use medication for treatment. What I am now going to share with you are my personal experiences and research results on the use of medication for treating depression, which I have used to treat my own depression.

Before I go into discussing the effectiveness of the medication for treating depression, it is better for you to first see an outline of exactly the medications that are used for treating depression. The most common ones for treating people having depression are anti-depressants.

What exactly are anti-depressants? They are a class of medications that are purposely produced and designed to alleviate or relieve the symptoms of depression.

Types of Anti-depressants.
There are various types of anti-depressants in the market. Every type, class or family helps to relieve depression in its own way. Within each class, each drug works slightly differently. Each class has side-effects and common warnings, and several of each drug have additional warnings and side-effects of their own.

Now let us look more closely at each class of anti-depressants, beginning with the one a lot of people have been talking about.

1. SSRI.
SSRI is an abbreviation for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. SSRI drug works by inhibiting or preventing your neurotransmitter serotonin from re-absorption by your nerve cell that released it, and by so doing, forcing the serotonin to continue working actively.

Examples of SSRI's are Fluoxetine and Sertraline (I use this one to manage my own depression).

2. SNRI and SSNRI.
These 2 medical terms are very synonymous. SNRI is an abbreviation for serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, while SSNRI is an abbreviation for selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, but there is really not any considerable difference.

Examples of SNRI’s are duloxetine and venlafaxine. I managed my depression with venlafaxine for three years before I noticed it no longer worked for me.

Of course, we have other family or classes of anti-depressant drugs, but those two mentioned above are the ones I have tried. I can mention more but I am trying to not to go too technical in my discussion on anti-depressants.

It is unfortunate that you cannot one particular anti-depressant that works for everyone! Only by trial and error you can find an anti-depressant that works very well for you, or by trying the ones prescribed for you by your psychiatrist or doctor. It is also through trial and error that you can determine the correct dosage of the drug. In my own case, my psychiatrist recommended starting with a small dosage every time he placed me on a particular anti-depressant and then asked me to increase it according to my need over time.

Do not forget that medications generally have side effects, so the ones prescribed here are not excluded. I had luck with both sertraline and venlafaxine in that the side-effects I experienced were just minor nausea and headache.

Those side-effects I mentioned lasted me only a few days, so they can be ignored when compared to the numerous positive benefits I got from those anti-depressants.

If you are having depression, It is very important your psychiatrist or doctor monitor your anti-depressant medication so that both of you will know if you are taking the correct dosage and if it is working well for you.

How Long Does it Take Anti-depressants to Work?
Anti-depressant medications, as already discussed above, help you alleviate the symptoms of depression. Please read the post Types of Depression, Symptoms, Warning Signs and Effects for details. People having depression usually have an imbalance in some natural chemicals in their brains. So what anti-depressant medications do is help their brains to restore this usual chemical balance and in so doing alleviate the symptoms.

One question people often ask me is, "How long does it take anti-depressants to work?"

From my personal experience, it took me 2 to 3 weeks to see substantial improvements. From my personal researches however, I discovered it can take some people as many as 6 weeks after taking your first dose of anti-depressant medication before you will notice substantial improvements. Yet for some other people, it can take even up to 8 to 10 weeks before they begin to feel better. They however received the maximum benefit after taking the medications for over 6 months.

In general, Anti-depressant drugs have good tolerance and are very effective. From my research, about 71 percent of people having major depression begin to feel better after taking the first type of anti-depressant medication their doctors prescribed for them.

Before I began taking my anti-depressant medications, my depression got worse each day. Although I was already taking some therapy before then, I experienced no appreciable improvement in the symptoms of my depression. The only time I had a break-through in my depression was when I began taking anti-depressant medications.

Psychological Treatments.
Psychological treatments are often used by psychiatrists and psychologists because of their effectiveness in helping someone having depression to get relieve and recover it. I must let you know that the psychological treatment I received really helped me to treating my depression because I am now living a very joyful and happy life.

What Are the Available Psychological Treatments and How Do They Work?

1. CBT.
A very effective one of these psychological treatments is called CBT, which is an abbreviation for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. It is a program that is structured in such a way as to recognize how people’s feelings are affected by that the way they think. CBT helps people having depression to think rationally about mutual difficulties, thereby helping them to change the patterns of their thoughts and their reactions to certain situations. You can think of CBT as "My feelings are affected by my thoughts."

Like some of the examples I gave above, people having depression may think negatively about their future, environment, other people and even themselves like these:

"I'm a failure.”
"If I died nobody would miss me."
"This world is a scary and cruel place."
"I’ve got nothing and I live for nothing.”
“My life will never get any better."

When you think negatively it will not help you recover and will make you more vulnerable to depression very quickly. It is very important for you to recognize any negative or unhelpful thoughts in your mind, remove and replace them with enthusiastic, realistic and rational thoughts. This explains why I love CBT. It has the power to provide people experiencing depression the tools they need to challenge their negative thoughts.

2. IPT.
IPT is an abbreviation for Interpersonal Therapy and is used to treat people who are easily upset by criticism or other people's reactions or comments. They may even feel criticized where there is no any intention of criticism. In this regard, how IPT can help is that it will help you seek for different ways you can get along with other people such as friends and families, especially in social gatherings.

3. Family Therapy.

The use of Family therapy is also effective helps treating people having depression because the members of their family and their close friends have the opportunity to learn and recognize depression. This will make them to accept it as a real medical ailment that they should help to treat. If you have depression your bosom friends and family members should give you their understanding and support. This is a very important aspect of Family therapy for treating depression.


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