Depression can be so frustrating. You may have already attempted to treat the symptoms of your depression in a variety of ways. Maybe you took up yoga or have signed up for monthly massages. You might have overhauled your diet or taken up daily brisk walks. It seems no matter what you do the stubborn symptoms cling to you, continually disrupting your quality of life.
No matter what valiant attempts you may make to alleviate the debilitating symptoms of depression, in many cases clinical depression requires clinical treatment. This equates to seeking out psychiatric help for depression where a mental health professional can access evidence-based therapeutic interventions for the most promising treatment results.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a complex mental health condition that can lead to significant impairment in daily functioning. Those who suffer from MDD may find that its symptoms impact many areas of their lives, including career, family, and interpersonal relationships. When someone exhibits a minimum of five of the following symptoms most of the time for more than two weeks, it meets the diagnostic criteria for MDD:
- Persistent low mood, feelings of sadness and despairsuicidal sings
- Change in sleep habits resulting in insomnia or hypersomnia
- Change in eating habits resulting in sudden weight gain or loss
- Slowed motor and cognitive functioning
- Feelings of guilt or shame
- Losing interest in the activities or hobbies once enjoyed
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Some of the risk factors for developing depression are genetics, individual personality traits, substance abuse, history of trauma or abuse, sudden unexpected death of a loved one or other significant life event.
Depression can manifest itself in different forms. Other types of depression include:
- Postpartum depression
- Seasonal affective depression
- Persistent MDD
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
When Should You Seek Psychiatric Help for Depression
What starts off as seeming like a bout of the blues may become concerning if the symptoms persist more than two weeks. Symptoms of depression can be very disruptive to functioning at work or as a parent, which is a good reason to seek help. If an individual is contemplating self-harming behavior such as a suicide it constitutes an urgent condition that should be immediately acted upon. If no such acute event is present, then a visit to one’s medical primary care provider is a good first step. The doctor will do a thorough physical exam and order blood tests that will usually identify whether a medical condition is at the root of the depressive symptoms.
If there is no related health problem, the doctor will then either prescribe antidepressants or refer the patient to a mental health provider. The mental health provider, usually a psychiatrist, will be able to prescribe and monitor medications appropriate to the specific type of depression, as well as order psychotherapy sessions.
How Does a Psychiatrist Treat Depression?
The psychiatrist is accustomed to following a treatment protocol of antidepressant drug therapy with or without psychotherapy, and alternative therapies. In most cases, however, the treatment results are better if both of these measures are prescribed together. The antidepressants take 4-6 weeks to begin to show effects, so the psychotherapy is a constructive use of time while waiting for the drugs to take effect. Psychotherapy can take many different forms, such as psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, pseudo-attachment therapy, or dialectical behavior therapy.
There are dozens of antidepressants on the market today. These include SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, and tricyclics. The drugs vary in how they impact brain chemistry, and dosing adjustments or even changing to a different drug is common when trying to find the best fit for each patient. However, all antidepressants do have side effects, so finding one that offers more benefits than adverse effects is key. About 50% of patients with depression will find symptom relief through antidepressant drug therapy.
Alternative methods for treating depression can be used to compliment the traditional treatments, or some, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a noninvasive brain stimulation therapy, may be used in lieu of antidepressants with those drugs have proven ineffective or intolerable.
How Lifestyle Changes Support Depression Treatment
Treatment results can be further supported by through fundamental adjustments to daily routines and habits. These might include making dietary changes by eating more lean protein, fresh produce, whole grains, nuts, and seeds while avoiding sugary foods and alcohol. Getting regular exercise has been proven to help elevate the ‘feel good’ hormones that result from physical exertion. Keeping a regular sleep schedule and avoiding electronics an hour before bedtime can produce more quality sleep. Practicing relaxation through mindfulness and yoga are also beneficial to individuals struggling with depression.
Anew Era Psychiatry Provides Psychiatric Help For Depression
Anew Era Psychiatry is an Orange County-based mental health treatment provider that specializes in treating major depressive disorder. At Anew Era Psychiatry the clinical staff of psychiatrists, therapists, and adjunctive treatment therapists offer multiple options for treating depression from a variety of approaches. For more information about seeking psychiatric help for depression, please contact Anew Era Psychiatry today at (949) 577-6853.