Can I Drink Wine With My Antidepressant?

Generally speaking, because alcohol is a depressant, it is not advisable to drink alcohol of any kind when one is suffering from depression. With that being said, not everyone is on antidepressant medication for depression, and therefore this advice may not pertain to you. However, many psychiatric illnesses have overlapping symptoms, particularly Anxiety and depression. […]

When Is Hospitalization Necessary? What Does It Offer?

Hospitalization is the highest level of treatment. It is reserved for the most severe forms of depression (as well as other mental disorders). One criterion used for determining the necessity of hospitalization is the presence of suicidality. Having suicidal ideation does not automatically dictate a hospital stay but prompts an inquiry into the patient’s level […]

I Have Been Prescribed An Off-label Medication, Mean Experimental?

Does that mean that it is experimental? “Off label” is the term used when a medication is used in a manner that is not FDA approved. Does this mean the medication is experimental? No, absolutely not. This means simply that no studies have been sub-mitted to the FDA for approval of the medication for that […]

Why Do I Need A Mood Stabilizer With My Antidepressant If I Am Depressed But Not Manic?

“Mood stabilizer” has a variety of meanings attached to it. For the lay public, any medication that helps even one’s moods, including the antidepressant medications, is a mood stabilizer. For most psychiatrists, mood stabilizer includes a class of medications that treat and prevent mania. These medications typically include anticonvulsant medications such as valproic acid and […]

My Internist is Prescribing An Antidepressant

How do I know whether I should see a specialist? Should I see a psychopharmacologist? A general practitioner of medicine can often adequately treat depression. There are situations, however, when a psychiatric consultation should be obtained. If there are comorbid conditions such as Anxiety or substance abuse, severe suicidal thinking, or complicated personality issues, a […]

Can I Take Other Medicines While I Am On An Antidepressant?

It is always important to inform any doctor you see of all medications you are taking, including any herbal or over-the-counter supplements. Although many medications can be taken concurrently, the potential for reactions exists between many medications as well; thus consideration must be given for this. Sometimes the potential reaction is minimal and may be […]

Should I Wait To See Whether My Depression Will Go Away Without Treatment?

My doctor recommends medication for my depression. Should I wait to see whether my depression will go away without treatment? Depression often occurs in cycles, and if an individual waits long enough, it may in fact remit without treatment. This may take months or longer, however. The risks of this approach are great: a loss […]

My Medication Is Helping, But I Have Sexual Side Effects.

What can I do? Many antidepressants can have sexual side effects that range from decreased interest in sex to difficulty having an orgasm. Many individuals are too embarrassed to ask their doctor about these problems, but it is important to discuss such side effects and learn about your options. Depression itself can be a cause […]

Will The Medication Turn Me Into A Zombie Or Make Me Look Medicated?

Some of the medications that have been prescribed for my daughter have had a very sedating effect. When the effects of a particular medication are too disruptive, she has worked with her doctor to find more effective treatment. It is important for any patient to speak up and engage his or her doctor in a […]

There Are Newer Brain Therapies Approved For The Treatment Of Depression Other Than ECT

I understand there are newer brain therapies approved for the treatment of depression other than ECT. What are they and should I consider them if I’m not getting better? There are two new therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and one that remains experimental but has been performed in Canada. The […]

My Doctor Thinks I Should Have Electroconvulsive Therapy

I thought that was no longer used. What is it and what does it do? Many myths exist surrounding the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which is a procedure that induces a seizure in the brain through an application of an electric current through the scalp. Although ECT is not a first-line treatment (and is […]

My Antidepressant Is Not Helping. What Happens Next?

One of the most difficult aspects of treatment is the long period of trial and error to find the right types of medications and the right doses to treat my daughter’s bipolar disorder effectively. It has taken almost 2 years to reach a point where she is relatively stable and not experiencing wild mood swings. […]

Will Diet Or Exercise Help With My Mood?

My husband has found a regular exercise regimen to be an important contribution to feeling well. It helps him to deal with stress and to maintain his weight, which might other-wise be adversely affected by his medication. Depression is not caused by problems with diet, although some believe that a balanced diet would leave one […]

Are There Any Natural Remedies For Depression?

“Natural” or alternative treatments describe any treatment that has not been scientifically documented or identified as safe or effective for a certain medical condition. Examples of alternative treatments include acupuncture, yoga, herbal remedies, aromatherapy, biofeedback, and many others. In considering an alter-native treatment, as with any scientifically documented treatment, one should consider the risks versus […]

Is Medication Or Therapy More Effective For Depression?

Anthony’s comment: Therapy is the first tool in treatment. Without self-aware-ness, any further attempts at treatment are going to be difficult if not futile. If a medical professional deems it necessary, medication can help one to cope better with depression. Neither medication nor therapy is particularly more effective than the other; for me personally it […]

How Long Will I Have To Stay On Medication?

Medication has provided my spouse with the capacity to function at his highest level. He has been able to work for over 20 years without having to take a medical leave and to lead a full life, including time with family and friends. He remains in therapy, and his medications are adjusted as needed. For […]

Will I Gain Weight From The Medication?

Anne’s comment: One of the difficulties in experiencing weight gain caused by medication is the desire for the patient to stop taking the medication. In treating my adolescent daughter for bipolar disorder, weight gain has been a critical issue. Her doctor has been very sensitive to her feelings about her weight and willing to try […]

Will I Become Addicted To The Medication?

A major concern for many patients who take these medications for years is the fear that they are addicted to the medication. Addiction is a complicated and controversial issue that bears some explaining. From a medical standpoint, addiction is defined as pursuit of a substance in such a manner that the pursuit and use of […]

What Are The Side Effects Of Medication For Depression?

Anthony’s comment: There are many side effects from medication. It is best to be informed of these in advance. When I took Lexapro, I felt that some of my senses were numbed. My libido was gone too. It returned, however, when I went off the medication. I spoke with my doctor about it. Now I […]

What Are The Different Types Of Medication Used To Treat Depression?

How does my doctor choose a medicine? Medication choices include many medications within the following classes: Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors Others TCAs and MAOIs are the oldest antidepressants. They are effective treatments but have many problematic side effects. In addition, they can be […]

How Does Psychotherapy Work If Depression Is Due To A Chemical Imbalance?

Anthony’s comment: Psychotherapy is a broad area of treatment with different modalities available. My experience with psychotherapy is that is gives you the insight to allow yourself to make better choices. It is my opinion that psychotherapy has been a necessary part of my treatment, as it has made me able to look inward to […]

Are There Any Risks From Engaging In Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy appears, on the surface, to be one of the most benign forms of medical therapies. There is no physical contact. No medications are prescribed. Only words are exchanged between people—nothing more. However, never underestimate the power of words. There is a parable that may be recalled from childhood: “Sticks and stones may break my […]

What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive–behavioral therapy is based on two separate theoretical models, both cognitive and behavioral. Cognitive models are based on the premise that cognitions, or thoughts, determine emotions and behavior. Automatic thoughts are one type of cognition that may be distorted by errors of thinking such as over-generalization, catastrophic thinking, jumping to conclusions, or personalization. Errors in […]

How Do I Choose A Therapist And A Therapy Approach?

Choosing a therapist can be an overwhelming task. One look in the yellow pages shows lists of names, and not everyone lists in the yellow pages. The many possible credentials of therapists is one factor to consider. Some people identify themselves as therapists but do not have credentials that require licensure within their state. In […]

What Are The Different Types Of Talk Therapies, And What Do They Do?

Once you receive a consultation, the clinician will make recommendations as to the most appropriate treatment or therapeutic approach for your circumstances. He or she may be able to use that approach or can refer you to persons who specialize in a specific approach. Many therapists use a combination of therapeutic approaches in their work. […]

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