Medbroadcast  Powered by MediResource
 Search

Go
 Browse alphabetically
ABCDEFGHIJKLMN
OPQRSTUVWXYZ
HEALTH TOPICS
Family & Child Health
Men's Health
Women's Health
Seniors' Health
Addiction
Allergy
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Arthritis (Rheumatoid)
Asthma
Atrial Fibrillation
Baby Health
Back Health
Bedwetting
Bladder (Overactive)
Brain Health
Cancer
Childhood Vaccinations
Cholesterol
Crohn's & Colitis
Cold and Flu
COPD NEW!
Cosmetic Procedures
Depression NEW!
Diabetes
Digestive Health
Ear Health
Eating Disorders
Eye Health
Flu (Seasonal)
Fertility
Fitness
Healthy Skin
Heart
High Blood Pressure
HPV
Hyperhidrosis
Incontinence
Infection
Kidney Health
Lung Health
Medications and your Health
Menopause
Mental Health
Multiple Sclerosis NEW!
Natural and Complementary Therapy
Nutrition
Obesity
Oral Care
Osteoarthritis of the Knee NEW!
Pain
Pregnancy
Psoriasis
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
Seasonal Health
Sexual Health
Sleep Health
Stroke Risk Reduction
Smoking
Weight Management
Workplace Health
Yeast Infection
All health channels

STAY CONNECTED
RESOURCES
Ask an Expert
Clinical Trials
Find a Specialist
Health features
News
Tools


Condition Info Drug Info Tests and Procedures Natural Products Ask an Expert Support Groups Clinical Trials
Home Bookmark Page Send to a Friend Sante Chez Nous Subscribe
Mental Health > Depression
Mental Health
Anxiety disorders
Attention deficit disorder
Death and dying
Depression
Relationships
Sleep disorders
Stress
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Research news
Symptoms of depression
Depression red flags: when to see your doctor
Complications of depression
Warning signs of suicide
The facts about depression
Depression: what is it?
Types of depression
Causes of depression
Triggers of depression
Prevention of depression
View All
Mental Health resources
Related channels
Health features
Health tools
Support groups
Related conditions
Natural products
Discussion forums



Psychotherapy vs. drugs: Your prescription for easing depression

Prozac®, cognitive-behavioural therapy, Zoloft®, interpersonal therapy, Paxil®...these are just a handful of the dozens of options out there for treating depression. In fact, there are so many medication options and psychotherapy styles, finding the right approach may seem so daunting you just want to bury your head in the sand.

But at the heart of the question is whether medications, talk therapy, or some combination of the two is the right tactic for you.

With dozens of antidepressants available by prescription, medication is a popular treatment choice. While medications aren't a cure for depression, they can reduce or eliminate symptoms including sadness, sleep and appetite problems, concentration difficulties, and more.

Researchers don't know exactly how antidepressants work, but they do know that they alter the brain's chemistry by affecting neurotransmitters - the chemicals that nerve cells in the brain use to communicate. Depression is believed to be linked to low levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and possibly dopamine, and different antidepressants work by affecting these neurotransmitters in different ways.

Just as there are different types of medications for depression, there are also different types of psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioural therapy, which is considered to be one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for depression, focuses on making you aware of your negative thought patterns and finding strategies that allow for better control over the negative feelings. Psychoanalysis involves examining memories and events from your childhood to help understand your current feelings and behaviour, while psychodynamic psychotherapy explores your unconscious thoughts. Other types of psychotherapy may involve family members and a variety of other techniques.

But don't be fooled into thinking that psychotherapy is all just talk. While there is much more research to be done, scientific evidence has shown that so-called talk therapy has an actual physiological impact on brain activity. Some researchers believe that this is because psychotherapy is a form of learning, which has been shown to create lasting changes on the brain.

One study compared images of the brains of people who had been treated for depression with the antidepressant and the brains of people who had been treated with cognitive-behavioural therapy. Both therapies relieved the symptoms of depression, and similar changes were found on the parts of the brain associated with depression.

So which option is for you? Because of their values and personal beliefs, some people may be resistant to one form of therapy or the other. Some may feel there's a stigma associated with requiring medication to deal with depression or may see it as a sign of weakness, while other people may not like the idea of hashing out personal issues with a psychotherapist.

Side effects are another issue. With some antidepressants associated with such side effects as nausea, changes in sleep pattern, low sex drive, and more, you may need to try out several different kinds in order to find one that you tolerate and find effective. While side effects tend to be most pronounced at the beginning of treatment and then ease, if you find them to be intolerable or they persist for a number of weeks, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Your dosage may need to be changed or you may want to try another type of antidepressant.

Then there's the length of time before you can see results. Most people start to see results from antidepressants in 1 to 2 months. Generally, improvements occur faster with medications compared to psychotherapy alone.

Many people also find a combination of medication and psychotherapy to be most effective.

The fact of the matter is that when it comes to depression, there isn't one cure-all cookie cutter prescription that works on everyone. The aim of treating depression is to help restore your enjoyment and ability to function so you can live a normal life again, but, unlike other conditions that may have a standard course of treatment, here there is no one "right" way to make that happen with depression.

So talk to your doctor about which method will help bring you back to feeling your best.



Advertisement

Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.

Hot Topics - Bedwetting, Depression, Flu (Seasonal), Healthy Skin, Incontinence, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Stroke Risk Reduction

Condition and disease information is written and reviewed by the MedBroadcast Clinical Team.


The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.
© 1996 - 2014 MediResource Inc. - MediResource reaches millions of Canadians each year.