By Dr. Amanda Craig, PhD, LMFT
Depression is a major psychiatric disorder that frequently has biological underpinnings. It affects men and women equally, but men are less likely to seek treatment and four times more likely to commit suicide. This blog provides an overview of available treatment options and coping tools you can start using immediately.
If you or someone you care about is in crisis:
In Part I we explored the symptoms and unique challenges faced by men suffering from depression. We know that men are often hesitant to share feelings or seek help, which may be why men are four times as likely to commit suicide as women. It is important to reiterate once again that if you or someone you care about is in crisis, we urge you to seek help immediately.
If these measures seem drastic, remember that a life is at stake.
The treatment of depression
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all prescription to cure depression, there are scientifically-driven treatments that can help one recover. Psychotherapy, medication, or the combination of the two are among the most common and effective solutions, but one should also consider alternative treatments and lifestyle changes to amplify the effects of standard therapies. In addition, a physical checkup with your primary care doctor can rule out illnesses with similar symptoms and flush out physical causes of depression, including the side effects of prescription medications.
However, before we dive into coping tools for depression, let’s talk about what will NOT help. Self-medication with alcohol, drugs, excess food, porn, gambling, shopping, or binge-watching TV may seem like comforting solutions, but they only temporarily numb out the pain and ultimately create more problems and deepen the depression by impairing health, creating personal, financial, and legal problems, and inducing shame.
Psychiatric medications used to treat depression are called antidepressants. Different types of antidepressants address varying causes of depression and provide corresponding solutions. Although a general practitioner can prescribe antidepressants, a psychiatric specialist is usually better trained to assess the condition, find the best course of treatment, hone in on the right medication combination and dosage, and minimize any side effects. It is important to note that antidepressants may take several weeks to become effective, may cause serious side effects, and should not be discontinued without doctor’s supervision.
Seeking help does not make one weak -