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Who Could Provide Treatment for Major Depression?

It is quite common for people from time to time to feel sad and down and find some difficulty in overcoming these emotions. There are many reasons for people to get depressed and it gets painful for both the depressed person and his family and friends. Usually, depression is not too serious and is transitory. It can be caused by too much stress or a negative experience. In minor cases, the depressed person can get through his difficulties with a little help from friends or family although there might be times when antidepressant medications might be needed. After a few days or a couple of weeks at most, the person should be able to recover and resume his normal life.

There are times when depression lingers for more than two weeks and the case is then considered as severe. Major depression is becoming more common these days. It is said to be caused by some underlying medical condition or a chemical imbalance in the brain. Sometimes, a person simply cannot get over a traumatic experience and continues on a downward spiral. Generally speaking, depression cannot be traced to a single causative factor. Then again, there is much to learn about depression as a mental health disorder. One thing is for sure, anybody suffering from major depression must be treated, the sooner the better. If left untreated, depression worsens and chances for the affected person to commit suicide increases.

Treatment for major depression should be administered by professional health care providers who are qualified and experienced in dealing with mental health concerns. In most cases, the depressed person first consults with the family doctor who is usually a general practitioner. It is a good decision since the family doctor is already knowledgeable about the patient’s medical history and personal background. The family doctor can prescribe the first line of antidepressants and if needed, he can refer the patient to the appropriate mental health specialist.

One professional who could be of big help to the depressed individual is a licensed counselor. The role counselors play in giving treatment for major depression is limited support to the medical care being provided by physicians. Counselors have received related education and training to offer advice to people who have problems in coping with changes or developments in their lives, but they are not qualified or licensed to prescribe medications.

A depressed person can also seek help from a psychologist. A psychologist is a professional who studied the science of human behavior and mental health. He is duly licensed to offer therapeutic services. Psychologists are not medical doctors and hence cannot legally write prescriptions. However, there are some specially trained psychologists who can and are allowed to prescribe psychiatric medications. Although most of the time, the psychologist works hand in hand with a psychiatrist in providing total mental health care.

The most qualified professional to provide treatment for major depression is the psychiatrist. He is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders pertaining to mental health. Psychiatrists can provide a full range of medical services and administering treatment for major depression. They are duly licensed to prescribe medications and can provide counseling too. They can also employ other medical means to administer treatment for major depression including hospital confinement. Perhaps the best medical intervention you can avail of to treat your major depression would be that of a psychiatrist working in tandem with other health professionals for your total care.

Additional Resources:

Managing Chronic Depression – Harvard Health Publications
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/December/managing-chronic-depression

Partial recovery. Some patients continue to experience subthreshold symptoms after treatment for major depression, or relapse within two months. While these less severe symptoms might suggest dysthymic disorder, the DSM-IV defines this pattern – residual symptoms remaining or occurring less than two years after an episode of major depression – as a major depressive episode in partial remission.

Treatment For Depression
http://www.butler.org/depression/treatment.cfm
Tricyclic antidepressants (named for their chemical structure) were the first line of treatment for major depression. They are effective in treating depression but their side effects are usually unpleasant. Today, tricyclics such as imipramine, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, and desipramine are used as a second- or third-line treatment.

Symptoms: Depression, Anxiety & ADHD
http://newenglandpsychiatry.com/tms.html
Transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS, procedure used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) or sometimes termed as “major depression”. The technique involves use of an electromagnetic coil to create electromagnetic pulses in the brain which have an antidepressant effect. It is an FDA-approved treatment for major depression.

Setting Priorities With Patients in Depression Treatment
http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/758125
Major depressive disorder affects about 16% of the US population and accounts for a substantial proportion of annual visits to both mental health professionals and general medical practitioners. [1,2] Up to 30% of adults seen by primary care physicians have some form of depressive illness, [2] and most treatment for major depression in the United States occurs in primary care settings. [3] Most of the morbidity and mortality from depression arises from its undertreatment [4] ; people with depression often hesitate to seek help, or they may not recognize the presence of depression as a treatable malady.

Managing Chronic Depression – Harvard Health Publications
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/December/managing-chronic-depression
Double depression. Although it is not described in the DSM-IV , the literature defines double depression as an episode of major depression that occurs at least two years after an adult patient – or one year after a child or adolescent – develops dysthymic disorder. More than 75% of patients with dysthymic disorder will experience double depression at some point in their lives. And 25% of patients who seek treatment for major depression will recall having had dysthymic disorder in the past. Researchers do not yet know whether dysthymic disorder is an early manifestation of major depression, or if they are separate disorders with overlapping symptoms.

Treatment For Depression
http://www.butler.org/depression/treatment.cfm
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a psychosocial treatment developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder. While DBT was designed for individuals with borderline personality disorder, it may be used for patients with other diagnoses as well.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion), and how we act (behavior) all interact together. CBT helps patients to understand distortions in their thinking and actions and to learn new ways of coping with their illness.

Blackhawk TMS- Cutting Edge Depression Treatment for Major Depression
http://www.blackhawktms.com/
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy is a safe, painless treatment for depression and certain other conditions without the use of medications. TMS uses brief, MRI strength magnetic pulses to stimulate the parts of the brain associated with the symptoms of the illness. Unlike medications, which act throughout the entire body, TMS does not cause side effects such as weight gain or sexual dysfunction. TMS can be effective even if you have failed to respond to antidepressant medications. Unlike other treatments, such as electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), TMS does not cause cognitive side effects or memory problems. No anesthesia or sedation is used, so you can drive yourself to and from treatment and even go back to work or school right after a treatment. There is no need to disrupt your usual routine.

Physical Exercise As Treatment for Major Depression | Psych Congress Network
http://www.psychcongress.com/blogs/rakesh-jain/september-4-2012-108pm/physical-exercise-treatment-major-depression
One of the more impressive studies published relatively recently was conducted by Dunn et al. 6 Their data revealed that exercise as a therapy in patients with major depression was quite effective, but only if the patient exercised fairly rigorously and with regular frequency. Blumenthal and colleagues at Duke University published a study in 1999, 7 and then a follow-up study in 2007, 8 that compared the benefits of exercise with an established antidepressant. Exercise was nearly as effective as the antidepressant. Even more impressive, Blumenthal’s studies revealed that exercise was effective in mildly as well as severely depressed patients. It also revealed that both supervised and home-based exercise were effective as depression interventions.

Setting Priorities With Patients in Depression Treatment
http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/758125
Together with their patients, practitioners might identify the specific characteristics of the depression, alongside the patients’ concerns about treatment, in order to tailor an optimal treatment strategy. Because all treatments (including no treatment) involve risk-benefit decisions, clinicians should help patients to assume an active stance in the treatment process; assure their understanding about the pros and cons of treatment options; appraise likely adverse drug effects and their manageability; and agree on an appropriate forum and intensity for treatment (see Table 2 ). Clinicians should also apprise patients of the likely duration of treatment once response occurs, noting the importance of continuation or maintenance therapy, and clarifying that, once symptoms remit, premature discontinuation of an effective remedy may trigger relapse.

Managing Chronic Depression – Harvard Health Publications
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/December/managing-chronic-depression
Dysthymic disorder. The definition of dysthymic disorder has evolved, but the DSM-IV describes it as a type of chronic depression with symptoms that are not numerous or severe enough to meet the criteria for major depression. Dysthymic disorder affects about 6% of the general population at some point in their lives, and 36% of people seeking mental health treatment on an outpatient basis.

When dysthymic disorder occurs on its own (sometimes called “pure dysthymia”), its hallmark is depressed mood, accompanied by at least two additional symptoms of major depression. Some research suggests that dysthymic disorder may cause more cognitive symptoms, such as low self-esteem, difficulty making decisions or concentrating, and pervasive feelings of hopelessness, while major depression may cause more vegetative symptoms, such as poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or excessive sleep, and low energy or fatigue. However, dysthymic disorder seldom occurs on its own – major depression often follows on its heels.

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