Q: I see all these ads
on TV about medications to help with depression, and I think I may be
depressed. Should I just try and get the meds, or what would be right
way to go about it?
A: The very first thing
is to get a proper diagnostic evaluation to determine if you do have depression
including severity level and type. This can be done by a Licensed Clinical
Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist
or many Medical Professionals are willing to do this. The professional
completing the evaluation will be able to discuss treatment ideas with
you at that point.
Some ideas to consider would
be that studies seem to indicate that some forms of depression have a
hereditary basis and there is a chemical imbalance that can contribute
to some of the symptoms. So medication can be the major part of appropriate
of treatment for some depression.
However, to assume this is true all types of depression is false. Studies
show that depending on the type of depression, either counseling, medication,
or a combination of both is the most effective. Many times depression
can be situational, a learned response, or due to environmental factors.
Just taking pills without addressing the underlying cause can lead to
simple masking of symptoms with no real improvement. For example, imagine
you start having painful constant headaches. Someone tells you to take
aspirin, so you do and your headache goes away as long as you keep taking
aspirin. Does that mean that you headaches were due to a chemical imbalance
of lack of aspirin? You would probably say no. It would be important for
you to attempt to discover the cause of your headache so you can attempt
to correct it with proper treatment rather than just mask the symptoms
with aspirin. Otherwise you would probably just become dependant on pain
pills and never get the proper help. That can be the same problem with
just deciding to take pills for depression (or anxiety or whatever) without
getting a proper evaluation. You could end up just masking symptoms and
addicted to pills with no real improvement. Instead proper diagnostic
evaluation can lead to proper treatment, which can lead to real healing
and health, not just a temporary fix.