Seeking treatment for depression in Sydney can seem futile or even impossible when sufferers are in the midst of a particularly dark episode. However, it is important to recognise that even the severest depression can be tackled with the correct treatments. One of the first, and perhaps hardest, things for a depressed person to do is to understand the nature of their condition in order to determine their best treatment options, as there are a wealth of options out there to try. The following are just a few steps that sufferers can take to take back control of their lives.
Lifestyle changes – preventative treatment for depression
Lifestyle changes may not be enough to treat the depression on its own, but they are certainly a strong supplementary tool that can speed up recovery and prevent further episodes. Such changes could include:
Exercise may be the last thing you want to do when depressed but its effects can be stark. Exercise boosts powerful brain chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins, helping to trigger the growth of new connections and cells in the brain.
Getting enough sleep
Sleeping for at least seven hours a night is vital for maintaining a good mood. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate irritability, fatigue and an overall low mood, only serving to compound symptoms of depression. Aiming for between seven and nine hours a night is about right for most people.
Surround yourself with friends and family
Reducing isolation is a key factor in recovery from depression. Make sure you keep in regular contact with friends and family and make sure they are aware of any problems you are having. True friends are unlikely to turn away. If you’re struggling to find friends, join a club or volunteering group to get yourself back out there.
Reactive treatment for depression:
Medications are a common depression treatment and can often have a profound impact on recovery. Your doctor can advise on the best medication to try. The most common include:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Examples include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
Examples include duloxetine and venlaxafine.
Tricyclic antidepressants, which include drugs such as imipramine and doxepin, are some of the most effective treatments out there. However, the side effects can be so severe that they are not frequently prescribed anymore.
Note that many antidepressants carry side effects and it can be tricky finding the right one for you. You may need to try a few different medications before settling on one that works, something which requires patience and perseverance. For some medications, it can take several weeks for effects to be felt or for side effects to wear off.
Psychotherapy is a broad term that describes the practice of talking through your issues with a mental health professional. It can take the form of interpersonal therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy, for example, and can be very effective as a natural way of treating depression.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
ECT is when electrical currents are passed through a person’s brain to alter the function of neurotransmitters in the brain. It is usually a last option for those who do not react to medication or have a high risk of suicide.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
TMS is another option for those who do not respond well to medication. It basically involves the placement of a treatment coil in the scalp, which then sends magnetic pulses to stimulate the cells in the brain that help regulate mood. It is a proven and effective method and can help sufferers of depression get their lives back on track without the need for years of pills.
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