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Treatment for Depression

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Presentation: Depression
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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The first thing to know is that clinical depression is quite treatable. In fact, more than eight out of ten people who seek treatment show improvement.
Also, when comparing those that seek early treatment versus those that wait, people who get treated early are more likely to have symptoms improve with treatment and less likely to have serious reoccurrences.
So what are the current medical treatments for depression? Most commonly, treatment includes:
* Depression medications, which are known as antidepressants
* Counseling, to learn more effective ways of dealing with life's problems, or
* A combination of the two.
Healthcare providers generally separate depression treatment into two stages. The first stage, which can last up to 12 weeks, treats the symptoms of depression until a person feels well. It most often involves medication to gain quick relief of symptoms, although some people with milder forms of depression may do well with counseling alone. For people with more severe forms of depression, medication combined with counseling may be recommended.
The second stage of treatment may continue for up to 12 months and is used to prevent symptoms from returning. Research studies have shown that continuing treatment during this stage decreases the chances of symptoms returning.
For some people, treatment for depression may be needed only once during their lifetime. However, for other people, depression is a lifelong disease that requires ongoing treatment.

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