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Friday, June 12, 2009

Philosophy Friday - Treating Depression

We believe that depression is curable and when treated properly can improve an ailing marriage relationship. We know this first hand. Both of have suffered from severe depression at different stages of our relationship. At our worst point in our relationship, we were both dealing with it at the same time. Neither of us wish to go back to those dark days.

The best proven treatment of severe depression is a combination of medication and therapy. We will talk briefly about both. The most widely used class of medication used effectively for depression is Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil. These medications do not alter brain chemistry or change a person's personality. The best way to explain how they work is plugging up a hole in a bucket. In major depression naturally produced serotonin which is responsible for the sensation of happiness, drains too quickly. SSRIs stop this draining from occurring too quickly. It takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks for the medications to take effect. If they don't make a difference after that time, then it wasn't really depression. While this class of medications is newer, they are relatively safe when administered by a doctor. In fact more deaths are attributed to aspirin each year than with all SSRI medications combined.

The most commonly used therapy for depression is cognitive therapy. The basis of cognitive therapy is that thoughts lead to emotions. Discovery reoccurring patterns of thoughtsthat lead to depression and reframing them in a positive but true format is the goal of cognitive therapy. It is both paradoxically as simple and as difficult as thinking your way to wholeness again. However, those suffering from depression need a kind outside perspective to guide them on this journey. For those suffering from mild depression may be able to turn things around on their own maybe with some self help books. However, severe depression rarely gets better on their own and it isn't unheard of to suffer from it for years or even decades when untreated.

Therefore, our message today is that sometimes, the most effective way to help a suffering marriage is to first treat a suffering soul. If you are one of those suffering in such a way, please consider seeking treatment.