You may be suffering from major depression if some of the many symptoms last for at least two weeks. Some of these symptoms include thoughts of death or suicide, sleeping too much (or not enough), lethargy, difficulty concentrating, appetite fluctuations and withdrawal from life. You may have feelings of extreme anger, become discouraged, guilty or even delusional.
Antidepressants are often used to fight symptoms of major depression, but more often than not, the medication should be used in conjunction with psychotherapy sessions rather than alone. Keep in mind that antidepressants used to treat young adults sometimes trigger suicidal thoughts and behavior, so they should be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a health care provider.
If psychotic symptoms are part of your bout with major depression, lithium and thyroid supplements might be prescribed to further promote the effectiveness of antidepressant medications. If symptoms of major depression, especially thoughts of suicide, aren’t relieved by any of these methods, a physician might suggest ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy). This type of treatment uses electric current to cause a seizure and relieve scattered thoughts.
Doctors may also recommend a less harsh form of treatment than ECT, called TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). This method alters brain function, but with fewer side effects than ECT. Light therapy has also been used effectively to combat symptoms of major depression. Winter months that offer a small amount of sunlight are especially difficult for major depression patients and light therapy can help them regain normal sleeping habits, lessening that symptom of major depression.
Sufferers of major depression symptoms should keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle also helps them feel better and improves their thought processes. Alcohol and drugs should be avoided as should fatty foods. Eating healthy, balanced meals and exercising on a daily basis can also go a long way in relieving symptoms of major depression.
Alternative methods of treating symptoms of major depression include herbal remedies, acupuncture and meditation techniques. Be sure and tell your physician if you’re using any type of natural or alternative methods for treating your major depression as some of these methods might have harmful side effects if used with prescription antidepressants.
No one knows exactly what causes major depression, but one theory is that chemical imbalances in the brain could trigger symptoms. Hereditary, traumatic or sad events in one’s life could also be causes of major depression.
The good news is that major depression can usually be treated with a good outcome. There’s no reason to suffer from these recurring episodes, so research your options and get some relief.