Exploring How Depression Treatments Have Advanced with Modern Science
Not all that long ago, the common treatment for depression was simply the advice to "cheer up," or, in severe cases, more drastic treatments like electroconvulsive therapy. Later, early medications used to treat depression often caused as many problems as they solved. This historical ignorance of depression combined with the typical symptoms of the disorder mean that many sufferers are still nervous or pessimistic about seeking professional help. But modern science has made incredible strides in both its understanding of and response to depression in recent years, and it has led to some dramatic changes in how depression is handled in patients.
Getting to the Root of Depression
The advent of sophisticated brain-imaging technology has led to a better understanding of the specific chemical processes behind depression, most notably the complex interplay of hormones that can plunge you into and out of the disorder. Depression may even influence the shape and structure of your brain; frequent sufferers of depression, for example, are more likely to have a smaller-than-average hippocampus. Most importantly, the sheer variation of the condition has emphasized that no two cases of depression are exactly alike, and treatments must be adjusted to accommodate this fact.
Formulating Comprehensive and Individualized Treatment Plans
When you seek depression treatment, your counselor or doctor should first prioritize discovering the underlying cause of your condition. You may have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, or you may be vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder. In other cases, patients develop depression as a co-morbid issue with another mental problem like social anxiety disorder. By taking the time to understand why you are depressed, your counselor will be able to formulate a specific treatment plan typically involving a mix of medication and psychotherapy and tailored to your individual needs.
Managing Treatment Side Effects
Depression was once medicated with the same handful of anti-depressants regardless of its cause, and there were few alternatives available when unpleasant side effects emerged. Nowadays, however, there are more options on the market, and it is relatively easy to adjust your prescription and dosage until you find a blend that works for you. This prevents patients from feeling like they need to choose between seeking help for their depression and being forced onto an emotional roller coaster and allows patients to decide what feels right for them.
Preventing Depression from Recurring
Finally, it is important to understand that depression is often not a one-time event, and around 50 percent of individuals who become depressed once will become depressed again. Although you may have to learn to live with a tendency to depression, you can minimize its impact on your life through maintenance therapies, often conducted through counselors at depression treatment centers. These occasional check-ins can help you recognize the signs of depression and begin treatment early, sparing yourself the loss of productivity and happiness that might otherwise occur. If you are done living with depression and want to begin exploring the possibilities modern medicine and psychology can offer, call a treatment center such as Dr Kuris Counseling Centers to get started today.