yo_mama.jpgPicture by Franklin Hunting from FlickrDepression is a serious mental disorder that requires the up most care and approach when being treated. Various techniques can be used to fight the symptoms of depression; however no method can eradicate the illness by itself. Many different treatments, which can be biomedical, individual, and group approaches, at times must all be used to effectively and safely eradicate depression and its dangerous symptoms. All of these approaches have their ups and downs, which only shows how complicated and difficult it can be to treat mental illnesses such as depression and the amount of effort and care needed in approach to treating it.

In the biomedical category of treating depression, antidepressants are among the most popular of medicine used today. Antidepressants target the endocrine system as well as some parts of the nervous system to stimulate the production of either more, less, or balanced amount of a hormone or neurotransmitter. For example, the antidepressant Prozac acts as a Serotonin reuptake inhibitor, meaning that they stimulate a decreased production of Serotonin as well as decreasing the bodies sensitivity to Serotonin to create a more balanced amount of hormones and neurotransmitters in the body in hopes of eradicating the symptoms of depression (Saisan). Another method that falls within the biomedical category is psychosurgery. This method is considered the most extreme of the treatments used on patients with depression. This method is only used on the most serious of conditions and when all methods have failed. The reason psychosurgery is consider so extreme is because it requires a part of the brain, specifically a part of the frontal lobe, to be cut off. This surgery involves separating the neural pathways between the frontal lobe and the basal ganglia regions of the brain. Although this method is effective, it may cause the patient to loose other mental attributes such as the ability to comprehend certain situations and the ability to recall certain memories (“Measuring the Unmeasurable”). Today, the most common group of drugs used are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. These drugs simply prevent the re-uptake in the synaptic gap. A study, conducted by psychologist Elkin's in 1989, explored the effect of biomedical trials. In this study, " individuals were randomly assigned to treatment using either an antidepressant drug (imipramine), interpersonal therapy (IPT), or cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT) or another form of therapy. The results showed that just over 50% per cent of patients recovered in each of the CBT and IPT groups, as well as the drug group." This is significant as only 29% of the patients recovered in the placebo group (Crane). This study illustrates, through the improvements shown, the effectiveness of antidepressants and how it can treat depression as a bio-medical approach.

Many studies have shown that individuals with depression can take initiative and improve their condition by themselves. Research has proven that life style changes have resulted in astonishing improvement to the mental health of depressive patients. Regular exercise has been proven to boost serotonin and endorphin levels, which would lead to positive results for depression patients with low levels of serotonin. A balanced meal, if consistently consumed, is said to aid in minimizing inconsistencies in behavior, which could help patients that are near recovery from depression maintain their mental health and not worsen their condition. Reducing the amount of stress is said to aid in eradicating the symptoms of depression as well as stress can cause the imbalanced production of hormones and neurotransmitters (Saisan). These are all factors that could be controlled by an individual and through effort and care an individual could treat their depression and its symptoms. Researchers Toseland and Siporin in 1986 "reviewed 74 studies comparing individual and group treatment. Group treatment was found to be as effective as individual treatment in 75 per cent of these studies, and more effective in the remaining 25 per cent. In no case was individual treatment found to be more effective than group treatment." Additionally, group treatment tends to be more cost-effective than individual therapy in 35 per cent of the studies reviewed (Crane). This further shows the the effectiveness and usefulness of group therapy.

Depression group therapies have also proven to be very effective. It is said that because depression mainly arises due to feeling out casted which lead to low self-esteem and other negative attitudes, situating depression patients in a social and interactive environment has proven to boost the patients’ morals and self-esteem due to the helpful feeling of belonging to a group. There are several types of depression group therapies, 2 of them being “Interpersonal” group therapy and “Psychodynamic” group therapy. Interpersonal group therapy has its participants share their interactions with other people and their own thoughts on what kind of people could’ve contributed to their mental illness. Psychodynamic group therapy has its participants share a traumatic incident they had when they were young that could have led to depression. Psychologist Chao in 2006 conducted an observational study in a resident’s home. He examined 12 elders with depression for duration of 1 hour every week for 9 weeks. Severity of depression was measured at the beginning and at the end of the observation period. Severity was based on self-esteem and life satisfaction of the elders which the psychologist found out through interviewing and observing the group therapy sessions. He found that there was a significant improvement in self-esteem but only little improvement of life satisfaction (Chao). Not only do these group therapies provide professionals the knowledge of how those patients could’ve obtained depression in the first place, but it also helps depression patients break the emotional barriers they could have against others as the sense of sharing that arise within these group therapies initiate a sense of belonging and purpose for depressed individuals who lack those attitudes (“Depression Group Therapy”).

There are many other methods, other than the ones just discussed, that are used towards the treating of depression and its symptoms. The many methods used serve to highlight the complexity of the mental disorder and the idea that one approach simply is not enough.
Chao. "Supplemental Content." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Mar. 2006. Web. 01 Mar. 2012<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16547904>.

Crane, John, and Jette Hannibal. IB Diploma Programme: Psychology Course Companion. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.

"Depression Group Therapy." Surviving Depression. Mesotheliomaresourceonline.com,2008. Web. 29 Feb. 2012<http://www.survivingdepression.net/living/grouptherapy.html>.

"Measuring the Unmeasurable." Making the Modern World. Peter Symonds College,Winchester, 2004. Web. 29 Feb. 2012<http://www.makingthemodernworld.org.uk/learning_modules/psychology/02.TU.04/?section=8>.

Saisan, Joanna. "Depression Treatment." : Therapy, Medication, and Lifestyle Changes. Helpguide.org, Jan. 2012. Web. 29 Feb. 2012.<http://helpguide.org/mental/treatment_strategies_depression.htm>.

Picture taken from Medical Daily-www.medicaldaily.com (People Reluctant to Talk Depression with Doctor Likely Depressed)

Website where picture is from- Cited
"People Reluctant to Talk Depression with Doctor Likely Depressed." Medical Daily. 13 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Mar. 2012. <http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20110913/7178/depression-link-people-depressed.htm>.

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