As the cause, or causes, of an individual's depression are difficult to ascertain, treatment for the condition varies wildly between individuals. The severity of the depression, and the strength and prevalence of suicidal feelings, are taken into account when determining a treatment, and more extreme measures may be suggested where there appears to be a very real possibility of a suicide attempt.
For moderate depressive episodes, changes in lifestyle and diet may be the best option. Regular exercise and a vitamin-rich diet are known to have positive impacts on mood – and sometimes, vice versa. This 'treatment' may also be effective for purely psychological reasons – a change in lifestyle can make a person feel more in control and more positive about their life – and this can, with moderate episodes, be all that is required for a major change in mood. There are various herbal remedies that can be taken in conjunction with these changes.
Commonly, however, medical professionals recommend a program of SSRIs or anti-depressants, to be taken in conjunction with a course of psychotherapy. Popular and effective prescription treatments include Valium and Prozac, which are known to work well and with a minimum of side-effects. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the most common and effective form of psychotherapy, and works on the basis of helping to 'un-learn' the depressive thought processes.
In the most extreme cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be prescribed, with or without a stay in a psychiatric hospital.
In cases where these common treatments are not effective, the patient's optimism and the severity of lifespan of the condition are often the culprits. Simply put: a patient who has been suffering for a long time, and has less faith in the success of treatment, will tend to be more resistant to treatment than an individual who has suffered less, for less time, and feels more optimistic about becoming 'well' again.
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