To us, mental health is as important as physical health. At PlatinumCare LA, our medical professionals listen compassionately to you and your concerns about depression. Our doctors provide the best care in identifying and treating depression on a primary care level. We can work with you to develop the best options for your depression treatment in Los Angeles.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. The disorder comes in many forms that are all treatable. Clinical depression, or major depressive disorder is common, but serious and should be treated by a professional. Depression is a normal and temporary emotional response to sad events like the death of a loved one, job loss, a break-up, etc. However, when this severe mood lasts for a long period of time (more than two weeks) and begins to seriously affect your relationships, motivation or performance at work or school, this could be a more serious mental health issue.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
Why Depression Treatment is Important
Depression treatment is important because it is a disorder that can rapidly begin to control someone’s quality of life. Untreated depression can have serious dangers of self-destructive behaviors, like substance abuse or self-harm, and can lead to suicide. Depression treatment is available and well understood by the medical community. Proper recognition and mental health care can significantly improve the life of someone with depression and can potentially be life-saving.
History of Depression Treatment
The first clinical introduction of the first antidepressant drugs was in the 1950s. Up until then, conventional “talk” therapy with a therapist was the common treatment for depression. Since the release of antidepressants, the advancing drugs have been continually used in combination with talk therapy to help treat patients with depression. Today, these two are still the most common treatments for depression: therapy with a psychologist, medication from a physician or psychiatrist, or a combination of both.
When to Talk to Your Doctor about Depression
Sadness is a mood that everyone experiences; but when feeling miserable and hopeless lasts for a while (more than 2 weeks), or if you have these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling.
- Prolonged sadness, anxiety, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause
Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Depression
Before visiting your doctor to talk about depression, make a list of all symptoms you are experiencing, medications you are taking and questions you have. Here are some question examples you may want to ask:
- What kind of depression could I have?
- Should my depression be treated with medicines, psychotherapy, or both?
- How might depression affect my appetite and weight?
- How could depression affect my sleep?
- Could my depression be causing me physical pain?
- Could other health conditions be contributing to my symptoms of depression?
- What are the side effects of the drugs you might prescribe?
- Do my symptoms need special treatment?
- What kind of lifestyle changes will help with my symptoms of depression?
- What should I do in an emergency?
How to Prepare for Your Appointment
Along with the above list, write down any significant weight gain or loss, sleep schedule irregularities and all medications and supplements you are taking. Also, prepare to tell your doctor about any traumatic or major events or experiences you’ve had recently that have upset you.
What to Expect for Depression Treatment
Your doctor will ask you a series of questions to identify symptoms, causes and the type of depression or other mental health conditions you may have. Depending on the doctor’s evaluation, they may tell you that they are diagnosing you with depression and will begin to recommend treatment. Depression affects everyone in different ways, so there is no one treatment that works for every patient. Depending on your situation, your doctor could recommend antidepressants, talk therapy or counseling, lifestyle changes or they might refer you to a mental health specialist like a psychiatrist or psychologist for further diagnosis or treatment. Many times, depression treatment includes some combination of all of the above.
Tools Involved in Depression Treatment
Counseling techniques and talk therapy are often very effective tools in the treatment and management of depression. Therapists help patients with depression understand their thoughts, feelings and emotions better. Counseling can also help a patient overcome fears and change harmful behaviors or habits. This gives a patient with depression an emotional outlet as well as an opportunity to learn better coping strategies.
Lifestyle changes like a healthier diet and being more active can also be useful tools in depression treatment. Practicing mindfulness strategies like meditation and yoga can also be effective supplements to mental health care for depression. Artistic outlets are also encouraged.
Medications Involved in Depression Treatment
Antidepressants are commonly prescribed for those with depression; however, there are many types of these medications. They all work by balancing chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters to control things like mood, emotions, concentration, appetite and sleep. A doctor or psychiatrist will usually help you find the medication(s) that are right for you and your case of depression. Sometimes your doctor will have you try several different medications before you find the right one that will help you without causing side effects. While the results are very effective for depression once the right medication is found, the effects of antidepressants can take 2 to 4 weeks to notice. For this reason, it’s important to keep taking the medication as directed by your doctor even if you don’t think they’re working. It’s also very important to not stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor. It’s common that patients with depression begin to feel better and want to stop taking their pills, but this is dangerous and shouldn’t be done without the help of a doctor.
Potential Medication Interactions
Since there are so many medications and combinations of medications used to treat different depression disorders, there are a number of possible harmful medication interactions. As always, make sure to tell your doctor of all medications and supplements you are currently taking. With many types of antidepressants, alcohol intake should be restricted or avoided. Here is a small (and incomplete) list of interactions to watch out for with antidepressants:
Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs for depression are SSRI antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft, etc.). These can potentially interact dangerously with:
- St. John’s Wort
- Beta blockers
- Antiarrhythmic medicines
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Potential Side Effects
SSRI antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed for depression because their adverse effects tend to be less severe than with other types. However, like any medication, there are potential side effects. And, like with any other antidepressant, a patient should be closely monitored by friends and family when beginning an antidepressant because they can cause an increase of suicidal thoughts. As always, you should communicate with your doctor about any and all side affects you may experience:
Potential SSRI antidepressant side effects:
- Weight gain/loss
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Decreased sex drive
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Diarrhea or constipation
Rewards of Depression Treatment
Depression can affect more than your mood. The disorder can take a toll on your relationships, energy, weight, sleep, memory and more. Treating depression with mental health care an mean lifting your mood, improving your relationships, getting to a healthier weight, doing better at school or work and improving your overall physical health. The benefits of depression treatment can have long-term results to improve your life.
Depression Treatment at PlatinumCare LA
At PlatinumCare LA, our caring and experienced doctors can identify and give primary treatment for depression. We’re here for you to help you get the treatment you need. We approach our mental health care from a holistic perspective that includes consideration of medication, therapy and lifestyle. Discover the more uplifted life you were meant to live with depression treatment in Los Angeles from PlatinumCare LA.