Depression Treatments: Antidepressants, Psychotherapy, or the Inner Works of One’s Self
By Sonaya Singh
How is depression defined? The medical definition is, “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems” (Mayo Clinic). To people who do face depression, it’s everything listed above and more. It’s about
feeling like the world is closing in on you. No one wants to listen to us; they think we’re good, but we are really not. It’s hard to get out of bed and force a smile upon our face. We go to school or work looking happy and then we come home with tears running down our face, and different emotions spiraling out of control. Sometimes you’re just lucky if a person facing depression wants to even get out of bed.
What we come to now, is how people facing depression can be treated? When in need of treatment for depression, a treatment plan should be in place to manage and reduce the symptoms, but is it necessary for many medications to be taken and to go through psychotherapy or can you treat depression yourself with natural treatments?
I agree that patients with depression each have their own situation, but when it comes to treatment, the question is not just about
treating depression naturally but trying to limit how much medication being taken. As stated above, depressed patients face depression differently; some are required to take medication, some more than others. Therefore, can medication be limited and most importantly, can depression be treated naturally?
When you have fallen into depression, the idea of a pill that can maybe change your actions in a positive way and give you hope again is intriguing, but are antidepressants the most effective way to go about
it? There are many questions to consider when thinking about
antidepressant treatment, such as, are antidepressants always the best treatment option? Will this medication give me a positive and long- term result? Is this medication effective? What are the side effects and concerns? And are there non- drug alternatives that are just as or more effective? Depression isn’t simply just thoughts and feelings of sadness. There is more to it such as, not feeling alive or losing all hope. Therefore, to help patients with depression, there are certain antidepressants that people can take. “When depression is severe, medication may be helpful—even lifesaving. However, research shows that very few people become symptom-free on antidepressants, and some become worse. Furthermore, many who respond initially to medication soon slip back into depression, despite sticking with drug treatment…Other studies show that the benefits of antidepressants have been exaggerated, with a growing number of researchers concluding that—when it comes to mild to moderate depression—antidepressants are no more effective than placebos” ( Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.).
Along with this information, Dr. Mercola has the same belief. He believes that antidepressants are definitely not the way to go. He shares a surprising study that antidepressants were not invented for depression. “Researchers used certain drugs to manipulate the behavior of stressed animals, and then concluded (erroneously) that the drugs would be "good antidepressants." But chronic stress does not cause the same molecular changes that depression does, making the hypothesis incorrect” (Dr. Mercola). Along with that, antidepressants focus on the effect of depression rather than the cause. According to the text, “An imbalance of neurotransmitters in your brain may not trigger depressive symptoms in the way that has long been believed. Instead, the biochemical events that lead to depression appear to start in the development and functioning of neurons. This means antidepressants focus on the effect of depression and completely miss the cause… yet another reason why they are so ineffective for most people” (Dr. Mercola).
In addition with antidepressants being ineffective, they lead to many serious health problems such as diabetes, *****, stroke, etc. Diabetes is a very serious health problem but when it can be linked with depression, it’s definitely serious. According to WebMd, “Depression and Diabetes Risk… People who are depressed have elevated levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which can lead to problems with glucose or blood sugar metabolism, increased insulin resistance, and the accumulation of belly fat -- all diabetes risk factors, Frank Hu, MD, PhD, and MPH says”(Denise Mann).
As stated above, many question whether or not antidepressants are the best way go about
“curing” depression. Research has also shown that antidepressants don’t really make people feel less depressed but maybe feel worst due to the symptoms of the drug. Therefore, this leads us to the next alternative which is non- drug and according to some people works, which is psychotherapy.
According to Yvette Brazier, psychotherapy refers to a range of treatments that can help with mental health problems, emotional challenges, and some psychiatric disorders. In this case, psychotherapy helps depressed patients with pinpointing life problems, helping them regain a sense of control and pleasure in life, etc. In a depression case for some people, it’s not the medications that will do justice for them but maybe having someone to talk to. That’s why many may seek psychotherapy as an option. “Several approaches to psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and psychodynamic, help depressed people recover. Psychotherapy offers people the opportunity to identify the factors that contribute to their depression and to deal effectively with the psychological, behavioral, interpersonal and situational causes. Skilled therapists can work with depressed individuals” (American Psychological Association).
taking antidepressants and doing psychotherapy in a collaborative manner? In Greenberg and Goldman’s article, they share the studies of how effective each of these treatments are individually and together. According to an article in Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, “Psychotherapy and antidepressant medications are the two preeminent treatment choices for depression. This article puts each of these treatments into perspective by presenting an overview of what is currently known about
their effectiveness either singly or in combination. Discussion of placebos, common factors among therapies, relapse rates, depression severity, patient treatment preferences and exaggerations in pharmaceutical advertising provide guidance for clinicians in deciding on the best course of treatment” (Roger P. Greenman and Elizabeth Davis Goldberg).
We see the course of therapy and drug treatment for patients and what life is like for them after they have been treated. After a discussion with patients, clinicians plan to learn and seek for ways patients can undergo therapy and drug treatments in a positive and easygoing manner. Therefore, for clinicians, it is important to understand the psychosocial factors of this illness and to offer their patients proper care and treatment. This will then build a collaborative bond between clinician and patient. Overall, empirical evidence will help clinicians better determine which treatment is the best for a patient overcoming depression. Now we’ve learned two ways to helping people cope with depression that supposedly work, so what do medical professionals think when it comes to drug treatments and talk therapy?
Some doctors do believe that antidepressants aren’t the most beneficial way to “cure” depression. They know that these drugs are not meant to cure but ease the struggles and feelings depressed patients have. Doctors and other medical professionals know that antidepressants are meant to treat some symptoms, not cure the underlying problem. “Remember, antidepressants aren’t a cure. Medication may treat some symptoms of depression, but can’t change the underlying issues and situations in your life that are making you depressed. That’s where exercise, therapy, mindfulness meditation, social support and other lifestyle changes come in. These non-drug treatments can produce lasting changes and long-term relief”’(Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.).
According to Olga Khazan, she shares evidence from studies that show many depressed adults who took part in aerobic exercise, saw a difference just as much when they took the antidepressant, Sertraline. What are antidepressants and why are SSRIs the most common drug given? According to Medical News Today, “Antidepressants are psychiatric medications given to patients with depressive disorders to alleviate symptoms. They correct chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain which probably cause changes in mood and behavior… SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Experts say that SSRIs are not only very effective in treating depression; they also have fewer side-effects than the other types. SSRIs block the reuptake (absorption) of serotonin in the brain, thus helping the brain cells receive and send messages, which results in better and more stable moods. They are called "selective" because they seem to mainly affect serotonin, and not the other neurotransmitters” (Christian Nordqvist). How do antidepressants combat depression? According to WebMd, “These drugs improve symptoms of depression by increasing the availability of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. It is believed that these brain chemicals can help regulate brain circuits that affect emotions.” This is true in some cases but what needs to be remembered is “Antidepressant medication can be useful for some people in lifting severe depression symptoms quickly, but should not be the sole treatment for depression” (Mark Tyrrell and Roger Elliott).
Although we may not be completely exact on how antidepressants work, studies show exercise is shown to enhance endorphins which are natural chemicals that act like morphine and other painkillers; and like antidepressants, exercise helps the brain grow. What I mean by helps the brain grow, is that according to research, exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5 that is released into the bloodstream while we’re sweating. Over time, FNDC5 stimulates the production of another protein in the brain called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which “preserves existing brain cells, it also activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and effectively makes your brain grow larger” (Dr. Mercola). Also, there’s a theory that exercise boosts norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood. Although antidepressants treat some symptoms and doctors would refer depressed patients to psychotherapy, is there a way for patients to “cure” themselves?
Depression is hard for many to face but a prescript
ion for antidepressants does not need to be involved unless otherwise. There are many natural ways to go about
helping yourself and becoming a better person. To start off by coping with depression yourself, you need to first understand why you feel this way and how can you go about
fixing it. “Sadness doesn't always need treatment. And it's important to remember that the pain muscle and the joy muscle are the same. If you can't feel one, you won't feel the other... I'm in no way intending to diss anti-depressants or suggest you ignore your doctor's advice. I know antidepressants can be life-saving for people. But unless you're suicidal or otherwise in dire need of urgent medication, before you dose up on side-effect laden pharmaceuticals, it's worth considering some natural treatments that might help lift your mood.” (Dr. Lissa Rankin). According to Dr. Mercola, natural measures such as addressing your negative emotions and improving your nutrition can make a big difference. With some help from Dr. Mercola, the best ways to ease depression are the natural ways and those are: do a bit of emotional housekeeping, get regular exercise, improve your general nutrition, supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids, and let the sun shine down on you. Depression isn’t easy to always easy to cope with but with natural treatments, they will help, and if you stick with them, you’ll have a new regimen you stick to and it will most likely help especially if you keep up with it.
What can really be said about
natural treatments is that they are very beneficial. People who use natural treatments to get over depression understand that it can come and go but it’s about
what you’re willing to do to make yourself better. Depression won’t completely go away but by changing your attitude towards life and changing your lifestyle, these natural treatments are guaranteed. “This study’s four main recommendations for how to fight sadness without drugs and they are: happiness, spending time outside, exercise, and diet” (Dave Aspey). According to doctors and other medical professionals, despite the lack of effect that some antidepressants give, natural treatments such as talking with a friend or family, being outside, changing your diet, etc., will make big difference. It is up to you to make a difference.
Depression is a mentally and emotionally challenging. From once being a happy and flamboyant person to now being sad and hopeless; feeling like you can’t come back from that and feeling less than others. It is difficult; that’s why we have viewed the different types of treatment that can help depressed patients. From a wide range of research, facts, and evidence, I personally think naturally is the way to start. Natural treatment is probably the best option unless you are told otherwise by your doctor and need medication. By getting some sunshine, exercising, reading a book, doing emotional cleaning, etc., it is possible for someone to feel better than they did; even if it is a little better. I also think it’s all about
how you view the world, who you surround yourself with, and how you handle the situation.
Post Edited By Moderator (BnotAfraid) : 12/31/2016 4:01:35 PM (GMT-7)