“You can go out there and conquer the world, but then there’s that voice say “who are you? You know you can’t do that. That cancerous attitude, that self-defeatist attitude and it’s always there.”
Iraq War Vet
The information presented in this site is not intended as and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your health care professional for an opinion regarding a specific medical condition.
Your treatment plan will depend on a few things, like the type of depression you have, and what you want and need. They may give you some options like medication or counseling. Severe depression may need a combination of these. Here are some common treatments for depression:
Prescription antidepressant medications don’t work like painkillers or other medications that work right away on physical problems. These affect your mood, and most of us don’t notice the small changes in our mood, compared to, say, how much your stomach or back hurts. And, it takes more time for them to show they are working.
Many people stop taking them because they think they are not working. But, you should never stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor first.
Some of the more common antidepressants that you may have heard of include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Cymbalta, or Prozac; tricyclic antidepressants like Norpramin or Pamelor; and mixed-reuptake antidepressants like Wellbutrin and Effexor.
During the first few months, your doctor or counselor needs to know how your medications are working for you. Set up a time to call or e-mail your doctor to let him or her know how you are doing on the medications. If you notice any side effects like gaining weight or not being able to sleep, you should tell your doctor about them. A lot of times, if one medication doesn’t work, another one will.
Some medications work better for some people than others, and sometimes how much you need to take will change. Some people have bad reactions to certain drugs, or they could act differently with some of the other drugs or vitamins you may be taking. Make sure to tell your doctor about all the drugs you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, and yes, illegal and any vitamins, herbs, or nutritional supplements you're taking. And, make sure that any of your other doctors or healthcare providers know which antidepressants you are taking. Don’t worry, your doctor will keep all of this information private. Making sure that all of your doctors and health providers know all of the drugs and supplements that you take could save your life.
Psychotherapy (counseling or "talk therapy")
Not all men need medication to feel better. Talk therapy or even short-term counseling can work well. Psychotherapy normally means talking one-on-one with a therapist about your depression and the ways that you can feel better. For many people, a combination of medication and talk therapy helps, but cost may be an issue, depending on what type of health plan you have
There are other options besides talking one-on-one with a counselor. Therapy can also take place in a small group that is lead by a counselor or therapist. Some men find it helpful to talk to others who are going through the same thing. For them, group therapy and/or support groups may be a good option.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
One approach to treating severe depression that doesn’t respond to other treatments is called electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Although it is often confused with the “shock therapy”, this treatment uses safe, very low-level electrical pulses. It is often effective and has few side effects. By talking with a trained professional, you can find out what treatment or combination of treatments is best for you.
Whatever treatment you choose, remember to give it time. Recovering from depression takes time just like any other health problem.