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Depression And Anxiety: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Feb 25, 2024

What is the treatment?

There are multiple reasons which lead to a person being utterly depressed and facing social anxiety. These factors include loss of a loved one, getting fired from workplace, difficult situations like going through a divorce or even a separation, and many more. These conditions leave a person mentally and emotionally exhausted and miserable. These feelings are usually very normal reactions to the stressful life conditions. However, there are certain patients who are diagnosed with depression as a psychiatric disorder. These individuals as compared to other patients are more prone to mood swings and the conditions become more severe and persistent in their case. Women undergo depression more as compared to men. Anxiety disorder on the other hand is somewhat different than depression. It involves irritability, nervousness, concentration problems and upheavals in sleeping.

There are several drugs available for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorder. It includes SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), luvoxamine (Luvox), setraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), and paroxetine HRI (Paxil). There are newer medicines too which act as serotonin receptors. Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is a drug which has unique mechanisms. A health care provider will determine which drug is best for the patient. There are certain cases in which a combination of drugs is required. Sometimes the combination of one antidepressant with another antidepressant of some other class can boost the effect of a single drug working alone. An example of this is a mood stabilizer like lithium. Anxiety disorder treatment drugs are lorazepan (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax) and many more. ECT or Electroconvulsive therapy is also a treatment option in severe cases.

How is the treatment done?

The treatment starts by seeing a specialist, physician or a doctor of mental health. They will ask you about your mental health or how he is feeling. They will figure out the cause of depression or anxiety and will come to a conclusion whether the problem is caused by a physical condition or is related to mental health. The doctors will then recommend you antidepressants that will help relieve the indications of depression by the adjustment of certain chemicals in your brain which directly affects the circuits that control mood swings. Antidepressants increase serotonin levels in the brain and start showing noticeable effects after 2 to 3 weeks.

In case of severe depression, there may be a recommendation of an electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. This therapy is associated with a small and painless electric current passing through your brain while you’re under general anesthesia. This leads to a brief seizure which relieves the indications of depression. ECT is also called electroshock therapy. It was earlier a controversial therapy but is now considered quite effective as a treatment method for depression. Its performance is based on a series of sessions of either inpatient or outpatient for up to 4 weeks. You’ll be made asleep through general anesthesia so that you don’t feel the seizure or the current.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Patients undergoing depression and anxiety are eligible for the drug treatment. Every patient who is going through severe depression which is uncontrollable and has made the person suicidal is eligible for the electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

A pregnant woman and children need to consult their health care provider before the usage of antidepressants so that they may be able to make a detailed and informed decision regarding their condition.

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Are there any side effects?

The side effects of the treatment include slight hesitancy in urination, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, blurred vision, drowsiness due to a sedating effect, and sweating.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

In case the symptoms of your depression start returning, consult or share your problems with a medical professional, a therapist, or someone close to you and try to work things out for your betterment. Joining a support or a mental health group will combat depression and help you to a great deal. Make as many lifestyle changes as possible in order to maintain your mental health. These changes may include your workplace or even your relationships which are making you unstable in life. Avoid the consumption of too much alcohol and stop smoking. Eating a balanced diet induced with fruits and green leafy vegetables is a significant part of a healthy lifestyle.

How long does it take to recover?

If a patient is finding the treatment helpful after 3-4 weeks, he/she may continue the treatment for 6 months after all the indications have been erased. In case the medications are stopped too soon, the indications may develop again. Patients with recurrent depression are advised to have the treatment for a longer period.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of the treatment ranges from Rs. 100 to Rs. 2,000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatment are not permanent as depression is known to be recurrent and may develop again if there are no lifestyle changes made or if the medications are discontinued before the completion period.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The alternative treatment methods available for depression and anxiety disorder include vagal nerve stimulation (VNS), deep brain stimulation (DBS) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (RTMS).

References

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Written ByDr. Milind Barhate MBBS,DPMPsychiatry
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