Clinical depression is more than just feeling blue or down after a bad day at work or during a difficult period of life. Clinically depressed people can feel down, sad or hopeless all the time, and can experience these symptoms:
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
- Persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or guilt
- Appetite loss or overeating
- Restlessness or irritability
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Difficulty thinking clearly, remembering or concentrating well enough to read or watch television
These symptoms can be similar to grieving the death of a loved one. However, in depression, these feelings arise without a loss or they last much longer than the usual cycle of grief.
Fortunately, different treatments exist for depression and your doctor will assist you in making the right choice for your needs.
Psychotherapy, also known as "talk therapy," is both talking about problems and finding solutions. A good therapist will help individuals develop skills for coping with overwhelming feelings and symptoms, and offer methods to alter behaviors that may be contributing to symptoms.
Medication therapy and medication management for depression primarily includes antidepressant medication, or can be combined with other medications. There are different classes of medications you may need to try before finding the best fit for you.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are additional treatment methods used if other options are ineffective. Both interventions are effective and approved by the FDA. Speak to your doctor about risks and benefits. TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate key areas of the brain to release neurotransmitters at the synapse. This treatment is administered while sitting comfortably, and a curved device rests on the patient's head. Treatment length typically varies.
ECT is an option for treatment resistant depression. ECT is performed under general anesthesia. Electrodes are placed on the patient's head and deliver an electric current which affect neurons and chemicals in the brain.
Behavioral Health Providers
Here are the different types of providers you may be referred to for care:
- A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Treatment often includes medications. Family doctors and nurse practitioners can also prescribe medications for the treatment of mental illness.
- Psychotherapists provide talk therapy employing different techniques and interventions based on different theories. A psychotherapist must be licensed and may include the following: licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed professional counselors (LPC), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), and psychologist (Ph.D. or PsyD).