Can Depression Be Cured?

Can Depression Be Cured

Can Depression Be Cured

Can Depression Be Cured?

Anyone who has ever suffered through a period of depression has asked themselves this question at one point or another, and the medical community has been arguing about it for as long as emotional depression has been considered a medical issue. If you ask 10 mental health professionals whether they believe that depression can be cured or not, you are likely to get 10 different answers, all them variations of “sometimes”.

There are many treatments available for individuals suffering from depression, and depending on the severity of the case, and the patients response to a given therapy, there may be an opportunity for a significant reduction or even total elimination of the symptoms of depression. This article will examine some of the different treatments available for depression, and attempt to shed some light on what does or does not constitute a cure for depression.


Can Depression Be Cured By Talking?

Psychotherapy has been used as a treatment for depression symptoms since the 19th century when Sigmund Freud pioneered the science of psychoanalysis. Psychotherapy is often referred to as “the talking cure” because it consists of the patient discussing their thoughts and feelings with a mental health professional. Psychotherapy for depression can be administered by a variety of health care professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses. One of the most common types of psychotherapy for depression is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. CBT focuses on helping patients acquire a basic “toolkit” of behavioral and cognitive skills that they can then use to combat depression “from the inside out”. CBT performs as well as medication in patients with moderate to severe depression, and is often recommended for patients under the age of 18. In addition, psychotherapy is often used in conjunction with one or more additional treatment options, such as medication.


Can Depression Be Cured: Medication For Depression

There are two main types of medication used in the treatment of depression, tricyclic antidepressants, or TCAs and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Tricyclic antidepressants were initially developed in the 1950′s and the synthesis of drugs like imipramine represented the first major pharmacological breakthroughs in the treatment of depression. TCAs were effective in treating depression, and were used extensively until the first SSRI medications were introduced in the early 1980′s. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors quickly became the first line in depression medication, and millions of people have used them successfully to manage the symptoms of depression and depression disorders. As with all medications, TCAs and SSRIs have the potential to cause unwanted side effects in people who take them, and some patients may have difficulty continuing to take the medication in extreme cases. Fortunately, there are a large number of SSRI and TCA medications available, and by working with a doctor, most people are able to find a medication “cocktail” that minimizes or eliminates the symptoms of depression without the presence of unwanted side effects.


Can Depression Be Cured: Medical Procedures To Cure Depression

There are a number of medical procedures used in the treatment of depression, the most well researched among them being electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. Electroconvulsive therapy is a treatment where seizures are induced in the patient by stimulating the brain with electricity. ECT is often used in cases where a patient has been unresponsive to medication and is suffering from severe or major depression. Some studies suggest that ECT may be the most effective short-term treatment for depression, because it can be administered immediately, whereas antidepressant medications can take several weeks to build up effective levels in the blood stream. For this reason, ECT is often used in emergency situations involving catatonic depression or depression with psychotic features. Studies suggest that ECT may be most effective when followed by a course of antidepressant drugs.


Can Depression Be Cured: Alternative Therapies For Depression

The two most commonly recommended alternative therapies for depression are simple exercise, and bright light therapy.


Can Depression Be Cured With Simple Exercise?

The two most commonly recommended alternative therapies for depression are simple exercise, and bright light therapy. When a person exercises, their body produces chemicals called endorphins, and there is some evidence to suggest that endorphins act as the body’s own “natural antidepressants”, and can alleviate the symptoms of depression to a degree. Many people have difficulty starting an exercise routine until they have reduced their symptoms through the use of a more traditional treatment for depression. However, studies show that regular exercise increases the effectiveness of medication and psychotherapy in the treatment of depression.


Can Depression Be Cured: Light Therapy For Depression

Therapy with bright lights has been shown to be more effective than placebos in treating certain types of depression, particularly Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder experience the symptoms of depression most acutely during the winter months when there is less natural light due to the shorter days. The use of special high intensity lamps to treat this type of depression is growing, and there is evidence to suggest that light therapy is an effective treatment for SAD when used in conjunction with antidepressant medication.

All of the therapies above have proven effective in treating depression to varying degrees in different patients. The answer to the question “Can Depression Be Cured” is most certainly a yes, however you should consult with your doctor to determine what course of therapy if any is best suited to your individual case.

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