Friday, May 27, 2011

Can Medications like Antidepressants Help Everyone with Depression?

The current medical approach to solve medical problems is to find the cause of something, and then fix it.  Like most things in life, this approach has its good and bad.  The great thing about this approach is that, if we know what the cause of the problem is, then we can fix the problem accurately and effectively.  The main flaw with this approach is when we don't have a full understanding about the problem, for example depression, then we are not going to be able to provide a complete solution.  In current medical thinking, we believe that depression and anxiety maybe due to chemical imbalance like Serotonin, Adrenalin and Dopamine in the brain.  However, this is not the complete picture as medications that "recalibrate" these brain chemicals, do not provide a complete cure for everyone with depression.  Having said that, there is still some evidence that it is effective in treating depression and anxiety for a proportion of patients.  However, there are controversies around this area, so we will see how the evidence evolves over time.

In Eastern philosophy to health, it focuses more on going back to the basics and look after one's body, and then, allowing the body to heal itself.

This requires that we aim for good nutrition, avoid toxins like smoking, alcohol and drugs, engage in regular exercise, adequate and good quality sleep, good fluid intake, and very importantly, a healthy positive mindset, good self understanding, and developing a high Emotional Intelligence (EQ).  One can achieve more resilience, and a higher EQ through counselling, including CBT(Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), ACT(Acceptance and Committed Therapy), interpersonal skills, and then most importantly, apply it in our every day life.

I encourage all sufferers to talk to your Doctor about counselling, CBT or ACT in addition to your medication needs.  There is good evidence that doing both i.e. taking medication as well as engaging in counselling, have the best outcome.

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