Depression is a mental health condition that is commonly diagnosed among Americans, especially women. The standard medical treatment for depression is a course of antidepressant medication to help the patient overcome the darkness and lack of energy to help them maintain their daily activities. This treatment plan means that antidepressants are one of the most prescribed medications in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A lingering concern with using antidepressant medications has been the increase in suicidal thoughts in patients with depression. Recently there was a comparative study that showed there was a large incidence in suicidal thoughts and actions taken to attempt suicide in young adults with depression as opposed to those treated with a placebo. It was a small percentage, but enough to continue the controversy for patients about whether to take antidepressant medication as the treatment plan of choice. This was published in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, online February 22, 2011, bit.ly/hADiCH.
Depression or any other mental health issue are very serious and need to be treated with care and compassion. There are physical and neurological pathways that can lead to depression. There are also behavioral patterns and emotional pattern that can be the cause as well. Clinically there are several causes for depression including any form of abuse, certain medications, conflict with members of your family or immediate circle, death or significant loss, genetics, a major life event, changes in lifestyle, personal problems or substance abuse.
I believe that all of these areas need to be addressed when treating depression. By treating people with pharmaceutical medications without addressing the emotional and behavioral issues it can cause a vicious cycle where the patient is not able to live a normal lifestyle without the aid of these medications. When looking at treatments it is important to consider how mind-body or more natural treatment can play a critical role in supporting patients with depression.
These treatments would include nutrition, stress management, behavioral changes, counseling and exercise--these can be crucial in not only changing the physical symptoms of depression but the mental symptoms of depression as well. In my next blog we will more closely at these treatments.