Depression Treatment Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
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Nearly 20 million Americans live with depression. Yet two out of three wait years before asking for help. The truth is, depression is caused by physical changes in levels of brain chemicals responsible for mood, alertness, and mental focus. With treatment—an antidepressant and/or talk therapy plus mood-lifting healthy lifestyle changes —most depression improves in 8 to 12 weeks. Start by talking with your doctor. And be patient. You may have to try several approaches to find the best one for you. In one study, 70% of people got relief from depression, but many tried four different combinations of medication and counseling to get there.Fast Facts:
- With over 35 different depression-lifting medications on the market, there’s plenty to choose from—a good thing because not all drugs work for everyone.
- Test-drive a treatment for two to three months to see if it’s working. Expect real improvement. If you don’t feel like yourself, ask about other options.
- New thinking: Taking two selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac (fluoxentine) may work better than one.
- Cognitive behavior therapy can help up to 75% of people with depression to get better and stay that way, in just 8 to 16 sessions.
- Add exercise. A half-hour a day lifted depression significantly for many people in one study.
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