Treating depression: challenging, not impossible

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Depression. While we may be getting better at talking about it, it remains a challenge to treat successfully. Is it possible to offer new information? Is there a different way to view an illness and syndrome that seems vast and at times unrelenting? Are we closer to understanding the clinical causes that could lead to remedies for prevention? 

Despite the advances that led to a host of medication options, depression remains one of the toughest illnesses to treat successfully. Patients struggle with asking for help, and when they do the treatment options can sometimes be filled with more risks than benefits. Medications for depression can lead to side effects that make compliance very difficult. There is a percentage of individuals who, despite numerous trials, simply do not respond to the benefits of medications. Symptoms remain, and the quality of life can be like wading through quicksand. 

Antidepressant medications are the third leading type of medication prescribed. With the illnesses that are treated today, that is an overwhelming statistic. There are hundreds of self-help books on diet, exercise, wellness coaching, natural remedies; all the positive ways to ensure a happy and healthy life. Yet, despite the yoga, organic foods and philosophical meditation exercises, suicide rates are not coming down. Sound depressing? Hopeless? Today it often feels like the battles won are losing out to the war that persists. However, there are many cases of depression that are treated successfully so that a full life is not only possible, but typical. Seeking help is essential.

Recommendations made today can be obsolete tomorrow. The important take-away today is do not stop trying to find relief. Depression is a complicated illness. It can have many presentations and, for the same individual, can change from one episode to the next. It is vital to be connected to skilled behavioral health experts. Therapy and medication may need to be paired with new life style routines to give the best outcomes. Treating many illnesses today is often a multifaceted approach. No one thing can be relied on as a quick fix. Don’t give up hope. Do what it takes to treat your depression to the degree that you find happiness, comfort, calm, relief. Life is rarely perfect, but it should have contentment. Depression is like many illnesses; it is often chronic and something that one can learn to live with. It has its ups and downs, but it does resolve. 

It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. We are incredibly autonomous creatures. It is our nature to be independent and deny symptoms. We prefer to solve problems on our own and value stubbornness as if it were a positive characteristic. But sometimes our challenges are just too big. Know where your limitations are and respect them. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when the time comes, whether it’s determining if a new medication is right or it’s finding a therapist to deal with psychological issues that are affecting the quality of life. Don’t assume that you can take care of everything all the time. None of us can. None of us can be expert in everything, even with the Internet at our fingertips. Be willing to seek the benefits of someone else’s wisdom. Share the worry and concern with someone that can help. Depression is a serious illness. Take the time needed to get treatment right.