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It is important to be in a co-operative frame of mind when your doctor is treating you for depression. Treatments for clinical depression may include:

1. Prescription medications (for example, antidepressants).
2. Talk therapy, often referred to as psychotherapy.
3. Electroconvulsive therapy (also called 'shock' therapy).
4. Lifestyle changes.

Often, a combination of treatments (for example, prescription medication plus lifestyle changes) is the most effective approach to get rid of the symptoms of depression.

Prescription Medications

Doctors use various prescription medications to treat depression. Many doctors believe prescription antidepressant medications work by helping to correct imbalances in natural chemicals in the brain thought to be related to mood.

There are different types of antidepressant medications. They have all been thoroughly tested under rigorous clinical trials and proven to be safe and effective for treating major depression. It is important to realise that different people respond differently to the various types of antidepressants. Patience is necessary because it the doctor may try out various medications to find out what is best suited for you.

Talk Therapy

For many people, talk therapy (psychotherapy) can resolve negative feelings and fears and promote a healthier perspective. Talking can help you recognise and change negative patterns of thinking and behaviour that contribute to the depression. However, talk therapy cannot control the medical causes of depression.

Talking with a psychiatrist or a counsellor, or joining a support group, helps people realise that their feelings are not abnormal, unusual or terrible at all. They begin to see that everyone has these feelings from time to time and that depression had caused them to lose their natural perspective.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT (sometimes called 'shock' therapy) is usually reserved for the few people who do not respond to medication or talk therapy. ECT seems to work the same way as antidepressants do, by acting on the chemical balance in the brain. ECT is a safe and effective procedure, usually repeated three times a week until the person improves. A temporary loss of short-term memory is a frequent side effect, but ECT can provide effective, even life saving, therapy for people who have suicidal tendencies.

Lifestyle Changes

Along with medication and talk therapy, lifestyle changes, especially increased amounts of exercise, may improve the symptoms of depression. Exercise, like evening or morning walks, may increase energy and reduce stress. Research has shown that the levels of hormone norepinephrine increase in the blood after exercise. This hormone helps the brain to deal with stress. Meditation, yoga, and a healthy diet can also produce positive effects.

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