The treatment of depression can be tricky, because there are so many types of depression, as well as underlying causes, and many symptoms to go with each of them. Most people receive treatment for their depression through their personal physician, rather than a mental health professional specially trained in the care and treatment of mental health disorders. While general practitioners may be great at treating illnesses and other physical problems, most have received only minimal mental health training, if any, and simply do not know the intricacies of proper treatment.
The most common treatment for depression these days is medication. There are many different medications on the market today, all with varying dosages, and the general rule of thumb seems to be “keep trying different ones until one works.” Meanwhile, however, depression symptoms can worse, side effects can be damaging, and other mental and physical symptoms of depression may go completely untreated. While medication is a good starting point in the treatment of depression, we do not believe it is the only option, and vary rarely should it be used alone to effectively treat depression.
Below, you will find the most common treatments for depression, including different classes of medication used for depression treatment. Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with these treatment options, so you can make informed decisions regarding your own care, or the care of a loved one. Medications:
SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed medication for treating depression. To understand how they work, you must first understand the chemical process that leads to depression in the first place. In people suffering from depression, the brain does not regulate serotonin normally. In a person without depression, serotonin moves freely between the transmitter and the receptor in an area known as the synapse, and the brain regulates the amount of free serotonin in the synapse appropriately. In someone with depression, however, the receptors, in a process known as reuptake, remove that free serotonin more quickly than normal, leaving less serotonin in the synapse. Serotonin is the chemical that creates feelings of content, happiness, and wellbeing, so you can see how having less of it around can lead to depression.
SSRIs, as the name implies, inhibits the reuptake process, allowing more serotonin to be utilized before it’s absorbed into the receptor. They are effective in reducing or eliminating feelings of depression in most individuals, though, since no body is exactly the same, different SSRIs act in different ways in different individuals. This is why many people will find that one SSRI works for them, while another does not.
Common SSRIs include:
While these are great at aiding in the treatment of depression, they often come with undesired side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, nervousness, dry mouth, drowsiness, rash, and reduced sexual desire. Due to the various side effects, you must decide whether or not the benefits of the medication outweigh the benefits.
MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors)
MAOIs work differently than SSRIs, and are contraindicated by many other medications. They are rarely prescribed for depression, except for in extreme cases. SunnyHill Clinic & Spa does not prescribe MAOIs to patients, as these medications should be used only under direct supervision of a psychiatrist, and administered only with very close monitoring. They must be used in conjunction with a very strict diet, since side effects include dangerously high blood pressure. There are many other serious side effects associated with MAOIs, which has caused them to be replaced by safer SSRI medications in most cases.
Common MAOIs include:
If you are currently taking an MAOI for depression or any other medical condition, you will need to speak with your prescribing physician before switching medications or following another treatment plan. Please let us know about any MAOIs you may be taking, before beginning treatment at SunnyHill.
Therapy for depression can be used either in conjunction with medication, or alone. Common therapy types include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), including dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which focuses on consciously changing attitudes, behaviors, and belief systems in order to overcome feelings of depression. It has proven highly effective in the treatment of depression, especially when combined with appropriate medications.
Alternative Treatment Options
For those who do not wish to take medication or engage in other traditional treatment options, there are alternative treatment options available for the treatment of depression.
Meditation & Relaxation
We offer many alternative therapies at our clinic. If you are interested in pursuing alternative care, please let our staff know so we can work to find the best treatment option for your particular needs.