Depression…It is for real!!!! Our sweet friend did a guest blog for us a few weeks ago on depression. the blog on depression
She has blogged about the solutions that you can try! Some of them are really interesting!
Treatments for Depression
Since I recently wrote my story about my battle with depression I thought I would share some treatment methods that I’ve tried and others that I’ve heard about to treat depression.
Psychotherapy (also known as Talk Therapy)
This is one of the most important things someone suffering with depression can do. I was lucky enough to have the same therapist for 14 years so she became a friend, but she knew me very well and I could reach out to her as soon as I started seeing the signs of an “episode” coming on. She gave me her cell phone number and was always available to me. I had to find a new therapist recently because mine retired and that was difficult, but I found one after searching and getting recommendations from my Psychiatrist. One important aspect of talk therapy is to continue seeing your therapist even when you are feeling well so that the therapist/counselor has a comparison point of the “real you”.
Most health insurance plans have a mental health component to them and talk therapy is usually covered with a specialist copay. Also, many companies offer EAP (Employee Assistance Program) benefits and usually these therapist/counselors are included in these for no cost. Overall this treatment method can be a medium cost.
The biggest thing to keep in mind with medications is that they aren’t like antibiotics or blood pressure medications that tend to be proven to work to manage specific symptoms. Unfortunately, medication in the case of depression is more of an art than a science. Many times you have to try different ones to see if they work and may even need to combine different ones because they reach different parts of the brain to fix the chemistry. And the most frustrating part is that a “cocktail” that works for a year or more may all of a sudden stop working or need adjusting. You need to find a good doctor (a family doctor, gynecologist or psychiatrist) that understands these medications and how they interact. Many of these medications have known side effects that some people can’t handle. Depending on your insurance coverage the cost of this treatment can vary significantly.
TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation)
This is a newer treatment method that I’ve tried a couple of times with mixed results. All of the documentation (linked below) says that it’s a non-dug treatment, but in my experience if you are already on medication(s) your doctor won’t want to take you off of them or make any changes while you are doing TMS. Keep in mind this is a VERY expensive treatment option and a huge time commitment. However, as my doctor reminded me, you go to college to get the job of your dreams and go into debt doing that, so why wouldn’t you invest in your future health. Some insurance carriers are also starting to cover this, which makes sense since they then don’t have to pay for medications going forward.
So, what is it? NeuroStar TMS Therapy is an FDA-cleared safe and effective treatment for patients with depression who have not benefited from prior antidepressant medication. It works by stimulating areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with severe depression.
Because it is not a depression drug, NeuroStar TMS Therapy is free from the side affects that patients often experience when they take antidepressant medication.
NeuroStar TMS Therapy – How it works
Is similar to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Uses precisely targeted magnetic pulses
Stimulates key areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with depression
Is conducted right in the doctor’s office
Facts about NeuroStar TMS Depression Treatment
Patients are awake and alert during treatment
Patients can go back to their normal activities immediately after treatment
In-office treatment takes 37 minutess
Treatment is administered 5 days a week, for approximately 4 to 6 weeks
With nearly 500 NeuroStar physicians providing therapy, and more than 12,000 patients treated this novel treatment approach to achieving remission is bringing new hope to patient every day.
More information on this treatment approach can be found at: http://neurostar.com/neurostar-tms-depression-treatment/.
In the news:
U.S. News and World Report – http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2014/12/15/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation-what-is-it-and-who-needs-it
Medical Journal – http://neurostar.com/pdf/53-51133-000%20Dunner%20J%20Clin%20Psych%20Long-term%20data%20Press%20Release.pdf
This is a treatment that I have never tried because we’ve thought it was a Catch 22, but it really does work for a lot of people. There are several different kinds of groups and they are usually free to participate in. In the Houstonarea you can go to this site and find a group near you: http://www.dbsahouston.org/. There are also on-line forums now for those who don’t wish to go in person. http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_OSG.
Also, here is a list of the different resources available from one of the organizations that creates these groups: http://www.dbsahouston.org/list-of-houston-support-groups/.
Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, during the winter months because there is less sunlight that the Spring/Summer months. The light box can help to simulate natural light and should be used in the morning and/or evenings when it’s dark outside. There are many different kinds of these lights and the following website gives all kinds of information on how to choose the right light box for you: http://psycheducation.org/treatment/bipolar-disorder-light-and-darkness/light-therapies-for-depression/. This can be a cheaper treatment method.
Diet & Exercise
Everyone knows that eating right and exercising are good for your health, but it’s even more important for people suffering from depression. Getting your endorphins moving is important. I will fully admit that this is one of the hardest things to do when you are in a funk, but just getting out and walking helps. I’ve had to force myself to do this or have my parents call me and hold me accountable for going for my walk. This is another inexpensive/free treatment method. Eating leafy greens helps too.
This is not a treatment method I’ve ever had to use, but I know some people who have and it has saved their lives. This is basically where you check yourself into a facility and have treatment 24/7 with professionals and peers.
My question for you is this: What helps your deal with any depression you may have?