If you think you might be depressed you should see your GP as soon as possible. Earlier treatment leads to a quicker and better recovery. The GP can also rule out any other medical cause for your symptoms and will decide on suitable treatment depending on the severity of symptoms.
Talking therapies (psychotherapies)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been proven to be very effective for mild/moderate depression and in preventing relapse. It works on the basis that if we change our unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviour it will improve how we feel. Self-help books based on CBT and computerised CBT are also available and there are other types of therapy and counselling. Ask your GP to tell you about them. Any of these may be used with or without medication. The video below explains more information about CBT. The Living Life to The Full programme delivered by AWARE is based on the principles of CBT - click here for more information.
Counselling can be effective where there appears to be some underlying reasons or circumstances which may have contributed to the onset of depression or is prolonging the illness. To find a list of Counsellors in your area, you can check out the website www.counselling-directory.org.uk
Anti-depressants are the most commonly prescribed and effective treatments for moderate/severe depression. It is important, however, to take them exactly as prescribed and only to stop taking them as and when advised by your GP. They are not addictive, but stopping them suddenly or too soon may cause a relapse. They work by boosting certain brain chemicals that affect mood. Any side effects usually disappear or are tolerable, although you should tell your GP about them. Medication is very important in the treatment of Bipolar Affective Disorder. If affected you may be prescribed several types of medication including a mood stabiliser, anti-depressant medication and anti-psychotic medication if required.
There are other things you can do to look after your mental health including eating healthy meals, exercising more and don't forget how important it is to avoid alcohol if you are suffering from depression or on medication for the treatment of depression. Click here to read more about looking after your mental health.