If you have been feeling very down and out for a prolonged period of time, you may be suffering from depression.
Almost everyone feels down from time to time. We all encounter disappointments and adverse events that make us feel down. However, if these feelings stay with you for several weeks, and they effect your ability to function well, it is likely you are depressed.
Depression comes in many forms and the type that is affecting you will depend on many factors. Some people have what is called dysthymia, which is a continual blue mood. However, people with dysthymia are usually still functional. People that are having a major depressive episode are usually totally dysfunctional. They will generally not have an interest in anything and quite often they don’t want to get out of bed at all.
Depression is a very serious issue and it can strike people who would otherwise be highly functional and productive individuals. The good news with depression is that it can be treated and most people are able to return to having productive lives.
However, major depression can be very dangerous and people who are having an episode should not be left alone. This is a particularly difficult situation for individuals who live alone and don’t have a good support system.
Treatment for depression normally has a two pronged approach. The two facets of depression treatment normally involve therapy,with a psychologist, and medications that are prescribed by a psychiatrist.
Some people will respond to therapy alone and not need any medication, others cannot recover without the use of anti-depressant meds. The patient’s response to therapy and medications is highly individualistic. However, people with a strong support system have a much higher probability of recovery than those without an adequate support system.
There are many different types of anti-depressant medications that are available. All of them work by altering neurotransmitters that are responsible for conducting nerve impulses in the brain. However, treatment of depression is by no means an exact science and the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these medicines will say in all of their literature that the mechanism of action for their medication has not been fully elucidated.
There are several categories of medications, the type used by many individuals are called SSRI’s or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. The majority of the most popular anti-depressants fall into this category including, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, and many others. However, SSRI’s are not effective in every one, so there are other meds that work on other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine.
Some well known anti-depressants that are not SSRI’s include Wellbutrin, Remeron, and Effexor. Unfortunately finding a medication that works for you can only be done by a process of trial and error. In addition, none of these medications are immediately effective. It normally takes a least one month to find out if a particular medication is going to be effective for you. This can seem like a very long process for someone who is depressed. Unfortunately, all anti-depressants take time to work and they are normally effective when they are used in conjunction with therapy.