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Treatment For Depression


A major depressive disorder can last from six months to as many as 12 months unless treated. Treatment is essential because depression tends to recur. About half of the people who have one depressive episode will have a second. After three episodes, the chances of having a fourth rise to 90% according to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.

Antidepressants change the level of the brain's neurotransmitters in either one of two ways. They may increase the amount of time it takes for chemicals to be taken up by the brain cells, and they may slow the rate at which neurotransmitter break down. Both actions result in an increased level of neuro–transmitters in the brain, thereby correcting any chemical imbalance and relieving most symptoms of depression.

Short term treatment
Many of the courses of treatment are relatively short term, highly focused and require the active involvement of the counselor and client. This approach focuses on identifying problematic, recurring thoughts and behaviors and attempting to change them. Cognitive–behavioral therapy, for example, is aimed at modifying the automatic, negative thinking that is characteristic of most depressed people. Automatic thoughts are so ingrained they happen instantaneously without the person's awareness. The goal is to help the person become aware of and control the negative thoughts. Another treatment goal is to change the client's way of behaving. The focus is on improving the person's interpersonal functioning.

What is best for you?
Part of the problem is early diagnosis of depression. If a general practitioner does not ask the right questions– about changes in self esteem, energy level and sleeping and eating habits– the diagnosis of depression may not be made, says Ray DePaulo, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the affective disorders program at Johns Hopkins University.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. These trained mental health professionals can assess, evaluate and diagnose depression. Our counselors can recommend the appropriate course of treatment. They will discuss with you the various therapies available and the pros and cons of each. For example, antidepressants may be indicated; however, is the person aware, and tolerant, of possible side effects? Accessing the EAP for consultation and assistance will save valuable time, effort and perhaps, money.

If you have questions call Canopy EAP for assistance or an appointment.

Portland: 503–639–3009
Salem: 503–588–0777
Toll Free: 1–800–433–2320