8. IS THERE ANY EFFECTIVE TREATMENT? Very much so. There are several medicines which are usually very effective in treating depression. They are also very safe medicines.
9. ARE THERE MEDICINES TRANQUILIZERS, SLEEPING PILLS, PAIN PILLS, HORMONE PILLS? NO, none of these. They are called antidepressants.
10. ARE ANTIDEPRESSANTS ADDICTING? Absolutely not. A person can not become addicted even though he takes these medications for months or years. People who take insulin and high blood pressure pills are not addicted; neither are people who take antidepressants. A person who does not have depression would feel no effect if he took an antidepressant. They work on the brain chemistry that gets out of balance and results in depression.
11. DO THEY HAVE SIDE EFFECTS? Unfortunately, they have pesky side effects; they rarely have serious side effects. The chief side effects are dry mouth, constipation and drowsiness. Dry mouth can be effectively overcome by drinking water or sucking non caloric mints. Constipation is corrected by adding bulk to one's diet. The sleepy effects are taken care by taking the medicine before bedtime. The body usually adjusts to all these side effects. Some newer antidepressants do not have side effects.
12. ARE ANTIDEPRESSANTS THE SAME AS "PEP PILLS" OR "UPPERS?" Absolutely not. Pep pills give anybody a sudden boost of energy whether they have depression or not. Pep pills are all dangerous, and not used for depression. Antidepressant pills, on the other hand will do nothing to a person without a depression, but will help a person who has depression by returning his brain chemical to normal.
13. HOW LONG DOES A PERSON HAVE TO TAKE ANTIDEPRESSANTS? It varies. Sometimes as little as three months, other times longer than a year. These medications can be taken safely for as long as they are needed, even for a lifetime.
14. DOES THIS DISEASE HAPPEN TO A PERSON WITHOUT ANYTHING IN HIS PERSONAL LIFE CAUSING IT? Yes. However, many people have things in their personal life that are bothering them a great deal, and if they happen to get depression while these things are bothering them, then everything gets much worse. For example, if a person is having difficulty in their marriage or job and they get a depression also, then the difficulties with the marriage or job will get worse, because their ability to cope with their difficulties is impaired.
15. WHAT SHOULD I TELL MY SPOUSE OR RELATIVES ABOUT DEPRESSION? Have them read this paper too. A person with depression will almost always find that their spouse or relatives are very much affected by the way he feels. Most often relatives will not realize that a person's symptoms are due to a disease, and will think you simply do not love them any more. They may think the fault is somehow theirs. it is very important that they know that depression is simply a disease - just as pneumonia or diabetes are diseases, and that you or they are not responsible for it. We would welcome them to come back with you on your return visit and discuss this with them in detail. it is a great help to have your loved ones understand what is happening, why you need medication, etc.