Depression is a condition that can easily be misunderstood since all of us have some periods of feeling sad. Depression is generally episodic in nature and comes and goes in phases. There are stretches of perfectly normal behavior that alternate with periods of gloominess. Sometimes an ailment as simple as a viral fever can cause certain symptoms to appear that may seem like depression.
Some behaviors that may indicate depression are as follows:
- A depressive mood that continues for more than two weeks
- Persistent symptoms like self loathing, low self-esteem, insomnia or too much sleep
- Gloominess that hampers daily functioning
If similar symptoms surface, professional help should be sought for treating depression.
The treatment of depression requires a continuous and long term regimen of antidepressants and similar medications. Antidepressants are drugs that fight depression. They work by trying to increase the supply of neurotransmitters, like dopamine, that are essential for the normal functioning of the central nervous system. Antidepressants remove depressive feelings by elevating spirits and general mood.
The two major types of antidepressants are
- Drugs that block the chemical re-absorption of certain neurotransmitters that are related to sleep, depression and memory.
- Drugs that inhibit the action of monoamine oxidase to allow monoamines to accumulate.
Bipolar disorder needs a different type of treatment, since this condition is characterized by phases of manic and depressive episodes. Lithium, the lightest known metal, is used for managing the manic state, and antidepressants are used to control the depressive state. Physicians arrive at the appropriate combination of antidepressants and mood stabilizers based on trial and error.
Though antidepressants are the mainstay of depression treatment, natural remedies for depression are an option that is less toxic in nature. These natural remedies include talk therapies, psychiatric help, and self-help techniques amongst others. Some herbal and natural products have also proven to be extremely effective in treating depression naturally.
Food plays an important role in the overall effectiveness of a treatment. A healthy protein-rich diet helps in keeping the nervous system in good shape. Homeopathic remedies and herbal antidepressants have also shown positive results in treating depression.
While taking any medication for depression, it is helpful to keep certain things in mind.
- Patience - Try to give your medication at least three weeks to show effective results. In severe cases, you may have to wait up to eight weeks.
- Continuous monitoring - Never discontinue medication without explicit instructions from your consultant. In most cases the dosage of antidepressants will need to be tapered off slowly.
- Regular monitoring - Visit your consultant for regular monitoring. The nature of antidepressant medication makes it necessary to avoid over correction or under correction.
- Understand and manage side effects - Seek proper advice about the side effects of the drug. Regardless of how mild or temporary they may be, the side effects can prove to be bothersome in many cases.