Treatment for depression depends on several factors: the severity of your illness, what types of symptoms you have, and for how long you have had them.
For some, counseling and learning cognitive techniques to alter negative thinking is sufficient for them to begin to recover. Others need to engage in activities and do something, volunteer or part-time work, for example, in order to find a feeling of connection and purpose.
For others, anti-depressant medication is a good option and should be discussed with your doctor. On medication, a person will usually begin to feel better within two or three weeks after starting medication, and will find it easier to cope with his or her day-to-day routines. If the person has been low on serotonin for some time, he or she may feel the difference within just a matter of days.
A combination of medication and counseling is considered the preferred option, so that once the chemicals are restored, the person can use learned cognitive techniques to maintain the balance. It is all a matter of keeping the chemicals in equilibrium.
Watch the UK NHS Choices Video – Depression and Low Mood
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