Tips for Recovery
3 Alternatives that Can Help Depression
At time many sufferers of Depression and Dysthymia may feel that they are not getting better and seek professional help from either a Doctor or Alternative Therapist. Generally if you have suffered from Depression that has not lifted from 4 - 6 weeks, had an unusually deep depression or feel suicidal, then professional help is needed. This should be seen as a positive move as you are doing something to help your situation. The main ways to get the needed help as discussed below:-
Treatments with Medication (Antidepressants) through a Doctor
This type of treatment usually starts with a trip to your doctors surgery. Many practices have an open policy where you can see any doctor on the panel you are registered with. If you have been seeing a particular doctor and have built up a good relationship then this is a good starting point. However if it is to be your first visit for some time then you can either request the doctor you are registered with or request the GP that specializes in Mental Health should your practice have such a doctor.
It is often worth making a note of your symptoms. Do you feel down? depressed?, unwell? Is you sleep poor? Do you wake up several times during the night, or earlier than you would like, or perhaps you wish you could stay in bed? How about concentration? Is lack of concentration affecting your work, driving, reading or other daily activities? What is your energy levels like? Poor, normal or better than normal? The more information that you give the doctor the better the diagnosis they can give. Be prepared for them to request you have a number of blood tests to rule out any physical illness (this may be standard practice if this is the first time you have told the doctor about your symptoms). The doctor may want to wait for the results, however where they suspect that depression is the most likely cause of the symptoms and they feel you are particularly depressed then a course of antidepressants may be offered. In either case the doctor should want to see you again to look at the results of any blood tests and discuses your ;progress and your current mood.
Once satisfied that depression is the major cause of your symptoms a prescription for antidepressants will likely be given. These certainly can help, however they may take about 2 weeks or more before they kick in and many do have unwanted side effects. In most instants a patient will be offered a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re uptake Inhibitor) which works on a brain chemical called Serotonin often implicated in depression. The usual 2 that are offered are Prozac and Seroxat. If you are using these for the first time read the information sheet and note the side effects, these usually go within the first month, however if these are becoming a major problem then go back and discuss this with your doctor as there are a range of antidepressants to choose from.
In more severe depressions notably double depression where there have been suicidal thoughts or where a course of antidepressants are having no effect then your GP may refer you to a psychiatrist, these in Britain are not the classic sat by the bed and talk routine as pictured in many films, but are a consultant specializing in mental health who usually uses a greater range of medication than a GP would. Nowadays only in the most severe causes, where the patient has no family to care for them through the illness then admission to hospital may be needed and possibly the controversial Electric Shock Treatment (EST). However this is extremely rare under current medical practice.
Professional Help without Medication (Talk Therapies)
The are a number of talk therapies which in Britain can be arranged through the heath service usually via your GP (Doctor) or can be arranged privately. The most common of these is counseling which can help to overcome problems with yourself, your life, traumatic events and relationships. Counseling can be very helpful and can benefit people with Dysthymia, however if that is your choice then just be aware of two dangers. Counseling tends to be centered around yourself it can under certain conditions cause you to put yourself before anyone and can lead to divorce and family breakup, although this is rare it is worth being aware of this as this may not be what you want. The second is that occasionally it can through up unwanted things from the past causing stress and illness. However these two are rare, counseling has helped a lot of people to get better.
Related to this is psychology, psychotherapy, transactional analysis which also can be beneficial. One of the biggest drawback in Britain where a patient is referred by there doctor to a counselor or a psychologist is the waiting time from a few weeks to 2 years in some regions. As an alternative there are several private practitioners practicing both counseling and psychotherapy where the waiting time may be from a few days to a few weeks. Expect to pay between £30 and £80 per session.