Episodes of Major Depression
Robert D. McMullen has been a practicing psychiatrist for over 30 years. He is a specialist in psychopharmacology. In addition, he is well-versed in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, also known as TMS BrainCare, which first became available in the US in 2008. He received his doctorate from Georgetown University, prior to taking up residency at Columbia University. Dr. McMullen now practices as a psychiatrist in NYC and an appointment can be made with him by calling 212 362-9635.
What is Major Depression?
Major depression involves more than experiencing a deflated mood, in fact, it can be so severe that you have trouble functioning in daily life and maintaining daily obligations like going to work. It is a far more severe than persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia. Symptoms may vary but can include:
- Trouble falling asleep
- Inability to enjoy life
- Difficulty getting motivated
- Feeling overwhelmed or drained by simple tasks
- Suicidal thoughts or worry of death
These symptoms disrupt an individual’s daily life, but fortunately, there are proven treatments for addressing this medical condition. Taking the initiative to seek treatment is pivotal in relieving these negative symptoms.
The Negative Stigma Surrounding Antidepressants
Unlike during the 80s, in recent years we have seen a surge in negative stigma surrounding antidepressants. Some people fear that because warning labels on medication bottles state the possibility for the increase of suicidal thoughts, that antidepressants could be risky. However, suicide rates have actually increased in towns where fewer people are being treated with antidepressants.
Antidepressants are completely safe and absolutely crucial for treating someone with severe depressive episodes. In fact, antidepressants do the exact opposite of putting people at risk for suicide. Antidepressants actually save lives.
When Does Psychotherapy Work?
If you’ve been experiencing a severe decrease in your mood but have generally been a happy person your entire life then beginning treatment by seeing a psychotherapist may be a good start for you. If you’re not experiencing an increase in mood or any relief from your symptoms after a month then it’s time to see a psychiatrist. However, if you’re feeling suicidal from the beginning then you should begin with medication and therapy simultaneously.
The Importance of Medication
Having your doctor check your B12 and iron levels are also important. Deficiencies in either of these vitamins could be contributing to the decrease in your mood. However, it is still important to not delay prescribing to an anti-depressant. It may take time for the anti-depressant to become effective; therefore, getting started in a timely manner is pivotal to feeling better and getting back to your life. In addition, it’s best to allow your body time to adjust to the antidepressant. Antidepressants may not seem to help at first, but over time will achieve their purpose. Patience and persistence are key elements to finding an effective treatment plan specific to your needs.
Two General Categories
There are two general types of depression, the first is classic depression and is treated by standard anti-depressant medications. Most people respond well to this treatment but may need additional symptom-specific medications. This type can be identified by three significant symptoms:
1. Waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to get back to sleep
2. Not having strong reactions to serious situations
3. Decrease in appetite
The second type is referred to as Atypical and requires different medications for proper treatment. These medications include MAO inhibitors, Lamictal, and low doses of lithium. This type can be identified by the following four symptoms:
1. Sleeping too much, up to 14 hours a day
2. Severe appetite increase
3. Over-sensitivity to rejection
4. Rapid weight gain
When You Should Try TMS
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation can be used as a form of treatment if the client has not experienced success with the previously listed options. The process involves using a large magnet, which affects the activity of the brain. It is an excellent option because of its long-term effects. TMS brain care sessions can also be started when the person begins taking medication to ensure faster relief.
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