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Some Mental Health Conditions & Their Treatments

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
What is ADHD?

For the many children, adolescents and adults who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) it can be hard to sit still, plan ahead, finish tasks, or oftentimes to even be fully aware of what's going on around them. To their family, classmates or coworkers, they seem to exist in a whirlwind of disorganized or frenzied activity. Unexpectedly--on some days and in some situations--they seem fine, often leading others to think the person with ADHD can actually control these behaviors. As a result, the disorder can mar the person's relationships with others in addition to disrupting their daily life, consuming energy, and, in many cases, risks diminishing self-esteem.

ADHD, once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, is one of the most common mental disorders among children, affecting 3 to 5 percent of all children. Two to three times more boys than girls are affected. On the average, at least one child in every classroom in the United States needs help for the disorder. ADHD often continues into adolescence and adulthood, and, if left untreated, can cause a lifetime of frustrated dreams and emotional pain.

In the last decade, scientists have learned much about the course of the disorder and are now able to identify and treat children, adolescents, and adults who have it. A variety of medications, behavior-changing therapies, and educational options are already available to help people with ADHD focus their attention, build self-esteem, and function in new, ultimately successful ways.

Symptoms
There are three patterns of behavior associated with ADHD. People with ADHD may show several signs of being consistently (1)inattentive. They may have a pattern of being (2)hyperactive and (3)impulsive. Or they may show all three types of behavior.

Adjustment Disorder
Adjustment Disorder covers a wide range of emotional or behavioral symptoms that arise after the onset of certain disruptive life-changes--or "stressors"--in an individual's life. While situations such as moving to a new city, becoming a parent, being the victim of a natural disaster, experiencing financial difficulties, retiring, or feeling worried and anxious over world events can certainly elicit varying degrees of upset, Adjustment Disorder is characterized by distress that is excessive in relation to the stressor and ends up hindering key areas of an individual's life, including social, academic, or occupational functioning.

Adjustment Disorder can affect anyone and is fairly common. The stressor may be a single event or, in many cases, the disorder is a reaction to multiple stressors, for example, marital problems and marked business difficulties. An individual usually experiences the symptoms of the disorder within three months of the stressor(s). Adjustment Disorder is considered acute if it lasts less than six months and chronic when it persists for more than six months.

Although reactions, or symptoms, by and large depend on the individual and on the event(s) or situation(s) that caused the initial distress, Adjustment Disorder usually first presents as a negative change in work or school performance along with significant changes in social relationships. Some people with Adjustment Disorder experience symptoms very similar to depression. High levels of worry and separation anxiety are also possible symptoms. Some people manifest their symptoms through their personal conduct, for example, becoming withdrawn, or engaging in reckless behavior.

Symptoms
There are many different categories of Adjustment Disorder, each with specific symptoms:

  • Adjustment Disorder With Depressed Mood - Characterized by feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or bouts of crying.
  • Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety- Characterized by nervousness, worry, or jitteriness.
  • Adjustment Disorder With Mixed Anxiety/Depressed Mood - A combination of the two subtypes listed above.
  • Adjustment Disorder With Conduct Disturbance - Characterized by failure to adhere to societal norms and rules. Individuals with this subtype may violate the rights of others or engage in dangerous behavior.
  • Adjustment Disorder With Mixed Disturbance of Emotions/Conduct - This subtype includes people with anxiety or depression combined with conduct disturbance.
  • Unspecified - Characterized by other reactions such as social/emotional withdrawal, inhibition, or physical symptoms with no direct medical cause, such as stomachaches or headaches.

Causes
Adjustment Disorder can occur when an individual feels overwhelmed by a specific event or set of circumstances circumstances and their ability to cope well in many or all areas of daily life becomes threatened. Examples of common stressors include:

  • Personal challenges, such as job loss, financial crises, moving, ending a significant relationship, or being separated from a loved one.
  • Developmentally related stressors, such as going away to school, getting married, becoming a parent, retiring.
  • Continuous stressors, such as caring for an ill loved one, shouldering the new responsibility of single parenting, living in a high crime area, or cyclical business downturns.
  • Seasonal changes and holidays.
  • A global or nationally significant event, such as war, political unrest, poverty or famine.
  • Disastrous situations such as fires, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes.

Treatment
Adjustment Disorder is very treatable. If left untreated, the symptoms of the condition can become progressively worse and/or develop into other debilitating disorders, such as depression or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Individuals suffering from Adjustment Disorder can even be at greater risk of suicide.

There are therapists who are especially experienced in helping those who suffer with Adjustment Disorder and providing pivotal help in relieving the symptoms, addressing the original stressor(s), developing new coping skills, and responding to the many ways the condition has affected personal and professional aspects of an individual's life.

Anxiety and Phobia Disorders
An anxiety disorder can make you to feel chronically distressed, uneasy and frightened (even to the point of prolonged panic). Left untreated, an anxiety disorder can dramatically reduce your daily productivity, as well as steadily erode your overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that can bring relief.

Most people experience feelings of anxiety before an important event such as a big exam, business presentation or first date. Anxiety disorders, however, are mental disorders that cause people to feel frightened, distressed and uneasy for no apparent reason. Often people suffering from an anxiety disorder also experience symptoms of depression, including a loss of interest in ordinarily satisfying activities; sadness and hopelessness; reduced feelings of pleasure; appetite and sleep disturbances; and difficulties with concentration, decision-making and memory.

How Common Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in America. Nearly 20 million people are affected by debilitating anxiety disorders each year.

What Are the Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders?

  • Panic Disorder - Repeated episodes of intense fear that strike often and without warning. Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal distress, feelings of unreality, and fear of dying.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - Repeated, unwanted thoughts or compulsive behaviors that seem impossible to stop or control.
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - Persistent symptoms that occur after experiencing a traumatic event such as rape or other types of criminal assault, war, child abuse, natural disasters, or crashes. Common symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, numbing of emotions, depression, anger, irritability, feeling distracted and being easily startled.
  • Phobias - Two major types of phobias are specific phobia and social phobia. People with specific phobia experience extreme, disabling, and irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger; the fear leads to avoidance of objects or situations and can cause people to limit their lives unnecessarily. People with social phobia have an overwhelming and disabling fear of scrutiny, embarrassment, or humiliation in social situations, which leads to avoidance of many potentially pleasurable and meaningful activities.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder - Constant, exaggerated, worrisome thoughts and tension about everyday routine life events and activities, lasting at least six months. Almost always anticipating the worst even though there is little reason to expect it; accompanied by physical symptoms such as fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headache, or nausea.

What Are the Treatments for Anxiety Disorders?
The sooner an anxiety disorder is diagnosed and treatment is begun, the sooner you can expect to feel the beneficial effects of recovery! The basic way to treat an anxiety disorder is with therapy, and, in some cases, a combination of therapy and medication.

Therapies for Anxiety Disorders?
There are therapists who are especially skilled at helping people who are suffering with anxiety disorders. Therapy provides a safe, comforting and confidential setting in which to receive the kind of help and understanding that can best assist in first relieving, then understanding, and finally recovering from the effects of an anxiety disorder.

Two of the most effective forms of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorders are behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy offers opportunities to learn to change actions through techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing or through gradual exposure to what is frightening. Cognitive-behavioral therapy supports and guides individuals as they learn to understand their existing thinking patterns and develop new, healthy skills for reacting to the situations that cause them anxiety.

Combination of Therapy and Medication
In some cases, a combination of therapy and carefully monitored medication offers very successful results. More medications are available than ever before to effectively treat anxiety disorders. These include antidepressants and benzodiazepines. If one medication is not effective, your prescribing doctor or therapist will identify a medication and dosage level that is best suited for you.

Understanding Attachment Disorder
What is Attachment?

Attachment is the deep and enduring connection established between a child and caregiver in the first several years of life. It profoundly influences every component of the human condition--mind, body, emotions, relationships and values. Attachment is not something that parents do to their children; rather, it is something that children and parents create together, in an ongoing reciprocal relationship.

Attachment to a protective and loving caregiver who provides guidance and support is a basic human need, rooted in millions of years of evolution. There is an instinct to attach: babies instinctively reach out for the safety and security of the “secure base” with caregivers; parents instinctively protect and nurture their offspring. Attachment is a physiological, emotional, cognitive and social phenomenon. Instinctual attachment behaviors in the baby are activated by cues or signals from the caregiver. Thus, the attachment process is defined as a “mutual regulatory system”--the baby and the caregiver influencing one another over time.

Beyond the basic function of secure attachment—providing safety and protection for the vulnerable young via closeness to a caregiver—there are several other important functions for children:

  • Learn basic trust and reciprocity, which serves as a template for all future emotional relationships.
  • Explore the environment with feelings of safety and security (“secure base”), which leads to healthy cognitive and social development.
  • Develop the ability to self-regulate, which results in effective management of impulses and emotions.
  • Create a foundation for the formation of identity, which includes a sense of competency, self-worth, and a balance between dependence and autonomy.
  • Establish a prosocial moral framework, which involves empathy, compassion and conscience.
  • Generate the core belief system, which comprises cognitive appraisals of self, caregivers, others, and life in general.
  • Provide a defense against stress and trauma, which incorporates resourcefulness and resilience.

Children who begin their lives with the essential foundation of secure attachment fare better in all aspects of functioning as development unfolds. Numerous longitudinal studies have demonstrated that securely attached infants and toddlers do better over time in the following areas:

  • Self-esteem
  • Independence and autonomy
  • Resilience in the face of adversity
  • Ability to manage impulses and feelings
  • Long-term friendships
  • Relationships with parents, caregivers, and other authority figures
  • Prosocial coping skills
  • Trust, intimacy and affection
  • Positive and hopeful belief systems about self, family and society
  • Empathy, compassion and conscience
  • Behavioral performance and academic success in school
  • Promote secure attachment in their own children when they become adults

What is Attachment Disorder?
More and more children are failing to develop secure attachments to loving, protective caregivers. These children are left without the most important foundation for healthy development. They are flooding our child welfare system with an overwhelming array of problems--emotional, behavioral, social, cognitive, developmental, physical and moral--and growing up to perpetuate the cycle with their own children.

Research has shown that up to 80% of high-risk families (abuse and neglect, poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, history of maltreatment in parents’ childhood, depression and other psychological disorders in parents) create severe attachment disorders in their children. Since there are millions of substantiated cases of serious abuse and neglect in the U.S. each year, the statistics indicate that there are 800,000 children with severe attachment disorder coming to the attention of the child welfare system each year. This does not include thousands of children with attachment disorder adopted from other countries.

Disrupted and anxious attachment not only leads to emotional and social problems, but also results in biochemical consequences in the developing brain. Infants raised without loving touch and security have abnormally high levels of stress hormones, which can impair the growth and development of their brains and bodies. The neurobiological consequences of emotional neglect can leave children behaviorally disordered, depressed, apathetic, slow to learn, and prone to chronic illness. Compared to securely attached children, attachment disordered children are significantly more likely to be aggressive, disruptive and antisocial. Teenage boys, for example, who have experienced attachment difficulties early in life, are three times more likely to commit violent crimes. Disruption of attachment during the crucial first three years can lead to what has been called “affectionless psychopathy,” the inability to form meaningful emotional relationships, coupled with chronic anger, poor impulse control, and a lack of remorse.

Serious Problems Can Become Evident as Development Unfolds
Children who begin their lives with compromised and disrupted attachment are at risk for serious problems as development unfolds:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Needy, clingy or pseudoindependent
  • Decompensate when faced with stress and adversity
  • Lack of self-control
  • Unable to develop and maintain friendships
  • Alienated from and oppositional with parents, caregivers, and other authority figures
  • Antisocial attitudes and behaviors
  • Aggression and violence
  • Difficulty with genuine trust, intimacy and affection
  • Negative, hopeless and pessimistic view of self, family and society
  • Lack empathy, compassion and remorse
  • Behavioral and academic problems at school
  • Perpetuate the cycle of maltreatment and attachment disorder in their own children when they reach adulthood

Understanding Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a serious condition in which a person experiences both extremes or "poles" of feelings--mania and depression--in ways that often cause great pain and suffering for the individual, as well as for those who care about them.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression, is characterized by wide extreme mood swings from severe highs (mania) followed by episodes of distinct lows (depression) and is most often a chronic condition. Sometimes the mood switches are dramatic and rapid, but most often they are gradual. The length of an episode varies from person to person, but each one generally lasts for several weeks. Episodes may be longer at the onset of the illness before treatment has begun. Bipolar disorder usually emerges in late adolescence or early adulthood. At any given time, more than 2 million people in the United States suffer from bipolar disorder.

Most people with bipolar disorder will have at least a year of normal, productive life between episodes. However, about 10% to 30% will develop a pattern of rapid cycling at some time during the course of their illness. Rapid cycling refers to four or more episodes occurring in one year. Unlike a typical episode, episodes which occur during rapid cycling usually last for only a day or two, or in extreme cases, just a few hours.

When one member of a family has bipolar disorder, their condition affects everyone else in the family. When episodes occur, they often feel confused, alienated and helpless. During manic phases, family and friends may watch in disbelief as their loved one transforms into a person they do not know and cannot communicate with. During episodes of depression, everyone can become frustrated as they desperately try to elevate the depressed person's mood. Sometimes a person's moods are so extreme and so unpredictable that family members feel like they're stuck on an out of control roller coaster ride that is impossible to disembark from.

Symptoms of Depression and Mania
A diagnosis of bipolar I is made when a person has experienced at least one episode of severe mania; a diagnosis of bipolar II is made when a person has experienced at least one hypomanic episode but has not met the criteria for a full manic episode.

A person's diagnosis depends on the number of symptoms they have, how strong those symptoms are, and how long they last.

Depression

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Significant change in appetite or body weight
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down"
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

Mania

  • Overly inflated self-esteem
  • Inappropriate irritability
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Grandiose ("larger than life") notions
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Disconnected and racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Increased sexual desire
  • Increased goal-directed activity or physical agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences
  • Inappropriate social behavior

Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Despite extensive investigation, the exact cause of bipolar disorder is still unknown. Some researchers have suggested that the cycles of moods are brought on by a viral infection, but there is yet to be any conclusive support for this theory. Others have suggested that the symptoms of bipolar disorder are triggered by stressful events in one's life.

The most popular theory argues that bipolar disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The brain is made up of nerve cells, called neurons, and chemicals, called neurotransmitters. According to this theory, an imbalance of one neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, is thought to cause the symptoms of bipolar disorder. It seems there are unusually high levels of norepinephrine in a person's brain during manic episodes, and markedly low levels during depressive episodes.

Family history is another factor when determining the cause for bipolar disorder. Studies show that between 4% to 24% of those who have a relative with bipolar I will also develop the disorder. The rates for bipolar II are a bit lower; individuals who have a parent or sibling diagnosed with bipolar II have only about a 1% to 5% chance of developing the disorder. It's important to note that, while those who have biological family members with bipolar disorder are at greater risk of getting the disorder, it does not mean they absolutely will get it.

Treating Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is usually a life-long condition. Left untreated, the periods of mania and depression can occur over and over again and episodes can progressively become more frequent and more severe. The good news is that effective treatment is available. Treatment is vital to decreasing the suffering that accompanies the disorder and preventing future episodes. Basic ways to treat bipolar disorder are therapy, medication, and a combination of the two.

Therapy
There are therapists who are especially skilled and experienced at helping people who are suffering from bipolar disorder. Therapy provides a safe, comforting, and confidential setting in which to receive the kind of help and understanding that can best assist in first relieving the symptoms, then recovering, and ultimately protecting the patient from future recurrences. It can take as few as one to two weeks to receive relief from the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Medication
Medication is often used to alleviate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Mood stabilizing medications, such as Depakote, Lithium, Tegretol, are most commonly used to treat bipolar disorder. During periods of depression, antidepressant medications may be prescribed.

Combination of Therapy and Medication
For those who suffer from bipolar disorder, a treatment plan of both therapy and medication can be the most effective in relieving symptoms and preventing future episodes.

Conscientious changes in lifestyle can be extremely helpful for the management of bipolar disorder. The therapist can suggest coping strategies that are particularly tailored to the daily life patterns of the individual. Some common suggestions may include:

  • Communicate openly with the therapist
  • Maintain medication treatment
  • Keep stress as manageable as possible
  • Maintain consistent patterns of activity
  • Make sure to get proper sleep and rest. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. It's important to tell the therapist if insomnia occurs, or if waking up becomes difficult
  • Stay open to feedback from family and friends who may be the first to recognize symptoms of episodes
  • Avoid alcohol or mood-altering drugs

It is important to remember that even very small amounts of alcohol, caffeine, or some over-the-counter medications can disrupt sleep and ultimately affect mood quality.

Depression

What is Depression?
Everyone gets blue now and then in response to life's disappointments, but when feelings such as sadness, loneliness, exhaustion, hopelessness, and irritability persist and prevent a person from functioning normally, they may be suffering from depression. Depression can be devastating to all areas of a person's everyday life, affecting their relationships with family and friends, impeding their ability to work or go to school, and even disrupting their normal eating and sleeping patterns. Depression is not a sign of personal weakness; people with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. If left untreated, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years, causing needless pain and suffering, not only to the person who is depressed, but also to those who care about them. Untreated, depression can even lead to suicide. Depression can afflict anyone, regardless of age, race, class, or gender. Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from depression each year, but only one out of ten seeks out and receives adequate treatment, even though the great majority of people with depression--including those whose illness is extremely severe--can be helped to full recovery.

Types of Depression
Depressive disorders come in different forms, just as in the case of many other illnesses. Two of the most common depressive disorders--major depressive disorder and dysthymia-are detailed below.

Major Depressive Disorder (often referred to as clinical depression) is manifested by a combination of symptoms that severely interfere with the ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. A diagnosis of major depressive disorder is made if an individual has five or more of the depression symptoms listed below, and at least one of the first two, during the same two-week period. Disabling episodes of major depression affect 15% of Americans and can occur one or more times in a person's lifetime.

Dysthymia (sometimes called minor or chronic depression) does not strike in episodes like major depression; rather it is characterized by less intense, more persistent symptoms that may last for years (at least two years in adults, and at least one year in children or adolescents). Typically, there are no disturbances in appetite or sexual drive. Severe agitation, sedentary behavior, and suicidal thoughts are also not usually present in dysthymia. While the symptoms of dysthymia are not as disabling as those for major depression, people who suffer from this depressive disorder do experience decreased energy, general negativity, and an overall sense of dissatisfaction and hopelessness that pervades most, if not all, areas of their life. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes; in such cases, the condition is known as double depression. Almost 10 million Americans suffer from dysthymia each year.

While major depressive disorder and dysthymia are considered the two most common depressive disorders, there are other types of depression, including adjustment disorder, complicated grief, and seasonal affective disorder.

Symptoms of Depression
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom listed below. The severity of symptoms also varies with individuals. A person's diagnosis depends on the number of symptoms they have, how strong those symptoms are, and how long they last.

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, even sex.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism.
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness.
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping.
  • Significant change in appetite or body weight.
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down."
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts.
  • Restlessness, irritability.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions.
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.
  • For a child or adolescent, symptoms of depression also include such youth-specific considerations as performance in school and interaction with classmates.

Causes of Depression
There are many possible factors that can contribute to depression. For some people, depression is the result of a combination of factors, while for others, a single cause can be responsible for the onset of depression. Common contributing factors include the following:

  • Stressful Life Events
    Catastrophic illness or death of a close family member or friend, divorce, career crisis, moving to a new place, financial problems, or any unwelcome change in life patterns can be risk factors for depression. Research also indicates that stressors in the form of social isolation or early-life deprivation can lead to permanent changes in brain function that increase susceptibility to depressive symptoms. For some individuals, stressful life events can contribute to recurrent episodes of depression.
  • Severe or Chronic Illness
    Severe or long-term illness can bring on or aggravate depression. Up to 60% of chronic pain patients suffer from some degree of clinical depression. There are also illnesses that may be directly related to depressive disorders, such as strokes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, thyroid disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and hormonal abnormalities. When it occurs with other illnesses, depression is frequently unrecognized and goes untreated. This can lead to unnecessary suffering since depression is highly treatable, even when it occurs with other disorders. Individuals or family members with concerns about the occurrence of depression with another illness should discuss this issue with their physician.
  • Medication Side-Effects
    Some medications cause depressive symptoms as side effects; among them are pain relievers for arthritis, cholesterol-lowering drugs, certain medications for high blood pressure and heart problems, and bronchodilators used for asthma and other lung disorders. In addition, different drugs can interact in unforeseen ways when taken together. It is important that each physician and pharmacist knows all the different types and dosages of medicine being taken and discusses the possible side effects with the patient.
  • Biological Factors
    Genetics research indicates that vulnerability to depression results from the influence of brain chemistry imbalance acting together with environmental factors. Modern brain imaging technologies are revealing that in depression, neural circuits responsible for the regulation of moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior fail to function properly, and that critical neurotransmitters-chemicals used by nerve cells to communicate-are out of balance.
  • Co-Occurrence of Depression and Anxiety
    Research has revealed that depression can co-exist with anxiety disorders (e.g., panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder). Studies have shown an increased risk of suicide attempts in people with co-occurring depression and panic disorder, the anxiety disorder characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear and physical symptoms, including chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Rates of depression are especially high in people with post-traumatic stress disorder, a debilitating condition that can occur after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.
  • Substance Abuse and Addictions
    It is estimated that 25% of people with substance abuse suffer from major depression.
  • Family History
    Evidence suggests that depression runs in families. Still, just because a person has family members with depression does not guarantee that he or she will develop it. Similarly, a person may get depression even if no one else in their family has experienced it.

Treating Depression
The sooner depression is treated, the sooner recovery can begin. The American Psychiatric Association reports that "80% to 90% of all people with depression-even those with the severest cases-improve once they receive appropriate treatment." Basic ways to treat depression include therapy, medication, and a combination of the two.

  • Therapy
    There are therapists who are especially skilled at helping people who are suffering from depression. Therapy provides a safe, comforting, and confidential setting in which to receive the kind of help and understanding that can best assist in first relieving, then understanding, and finally recovering from the effects of depression. It can take as few as one to two weeks for people to begin to receive noticeable relief from their symptoms with therapy.
  • Medication
    Antidepressant medication is often the first step in treating cases of depression because of the relatively quick relief it can bring to physical symptoms. Once medication treatment begins, minor improvement is usually seen in one to two weeks and the full effect of relief becomes evident approximately three to four weeks later.
  • Combination of Therapy and Medication
    In some cases, neither therapy alone nor medication alone may treat depression as quickly or thoroughly as the patient or the therapist would like. For these cases, both types of treatment used together can have very successful results. For those who suffer from chronic depression, combination therapy is especially helpful in dealing with the condition and how it affects their lives.