Depression in questions and answers

Depression is a difficult disease to diagnose at its early stage. It is not uncommon for a doctor to be able to make an unambiguous diagnosis for a long time. If frequent mood dips cause suspicion of depression, it is worth asking questions that can help not only the patient, but also the doctor.


Will telling a depressed person “everything be fine” or can it be helped by encouraging him to be active?

No. Saying “everything will be fine, do not overdo it” is harmful to the sick. It is, perhaps even unconscious, downplaying the problems of a depressed person. People suffering from depression feel worse, worthless and useless. The fact that they can not cope with their problems can sometimes exacerbate their ailments.

Similarly, encouraging them to be active. Patients with depression are constantly feeling tired and unwilling to do anything (they do not feel pleasure from anything they do). When we try to restore them to normal activity, we can arouse in them an additional sense of guilt (additional to that which they are constantly feeling). They feel that they can not cope with simple activities.


What is depression?

Depression belongs to diseases of the circle of mood disorders. Mood disorders are manifested above all by his changes, eg long periods of excessive sadness, excessive mirth or sadness and merriment for change. Sickness disorders can be recognized when sadness or joy is excessive, lasting inadequately to the stimulus that caused them or when there is no specific explanation for them. In these cases, deep sadness is called depression.


What is the average age of getting depression?

It is assumed that this is the age range between 20 and 40 years old. However, it happens that children get sick and that depression among the elderly is almost 20%.


How long does depression last?

In half of the patients, an untreated depressive episode lasts an average of six months. The introduction of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy during depression shortens the time of illness.


Is depression hereditary?

No. The gene responsible for the disease has not been established. The fact is, however, that depressive disorders can occur in a family setting. Scientists assume that we can inherit only the predisposition to the development of depression, but to be able to reveal, we need appropriate environmental conditions or traumatic events.


Can you talk about suicide with people suffering from depression?

When in our neighborhood among our relatives is a person with depression, we do not know how to behave in it, what topics we can move about.

People with depressive disorders often have suicidal thoughts. They can not think positively about themselves, their future. They perceive themselves as someone worthless, meaningless and unnecessary. Thinking about your own death brings some kind of relief to the sick.

A conversation about suicidal thoughts should be conducted by a psychiatrist who is in charge of the patient. One should also inform the family about these inclinations, which may in this way act in time in the case of increasing suicidal tendencies or attempts to bend into one’s own life.


Can antidepressants be taken during pregnancy?

There are several factors that determine the inclusion or maintenance of antidepressant treatment in pregnancy. These include: the clinical picture of the disease and its symptoms, the stage of pregnancy (in the first trimester of pregnancy, the use of any drugs is inadvisable – due to the fact that organs are beginning to develop and taking medicines may result in developmental defects in children) . The situation that requires the administration of antidepressants is, for example, severe depression with suicidal thoughts. Medicines with known and as far as possible proven safety are used.

In subsequent trimesters, the use of drugs is no longer so dangerous and, if the clinical situation so requires, they are included in the treatment. It should be remembered that approximately two weeks before the expected delivery, the dose reduction should be started. This prevents newborn complications (so-called withdrawal syndrome) and allows the mother to breastfeed. Taking and withdrawing medicines during pregnancy should always be under the supervision of a doctor.


How long should the antidepressant treatment last?

After diagnosing depression, the doctor should implement the therapy. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the type of depression, antidepressants or psychotherapy are used. Most often, however, these two methods of treating depression are combined. After selecting the appropriate preparation and its dose, treatment should be continued for 8 to 12 months in the first episode of depression. The situation looks different when we are dealing with a recurrence of depression. In the case of the second episode, the treatment is carried out for two years and the third one for the end of the patient’s life.

The effect of antidepressants is visible only after a few weeks. Patients should therefore be patient. It is also difficult for them to accept that they still need to take medication and report for control visits despite their improved well-being and general condition.


Can you drink alcohol while taking antidepressants?

Usually, you should not drink alcohol while taking drugs that affect the central nervous system (brain). Usually information on the interaction (interaction between different chemicals) of the drug with alcohol is given in the package leaflet. New generations of antidepressants with small amounts of alcohol usually do not cause serious side effects. Everyone, however, responds to such situations individually and the body’s response is not always predictable.


Is it possible to abruptly stop taking antidepressants?

Sometimes with abrupt withdrawal of antidepressants can cause:


mood swings;

aggressiveness and irritability;


symptoms like catarrhal diseases;



muscle tremor.

Often there is a second wave of depression and anxiety. The state with the abolition of antidepressants is often worse than with the depression itself. And errors in the abolition of antidepressants can lead to such consequences that it requires the resumption of treatment with greater force than with the treatment itself. This causes a vicious cycle.

Discontinuation of antidepressants should be in the form of a small dose reduction. Between each decline should be at least 1-2 weeks. The process of canceling antidepressants should take several months and be carried out under medical supervision.


Can you become addicted to anti-depressants?

Drugs used in the pharmacotherapy of depression do not cause addiction. This is a stereotype that comes from the belief that all drugs that affect the functioning of the brain lead to addiction. It is also not true that when using antidepressants, tolerance is generated and there is a need to increase their dose. Doctors often increase the amount of the administered preparation, but only in the situation of ineffective therapy (it can occur at the beginning of treatment, when determining the appropriate dose of the drug).

Sometimes patients experience anxiety (and also have the impression of recurrence of depression symptoms) when they happen to miss one or several doses of the drug. It does not result from insufficient control of the disease, only from the conviction of patients with ineffective treatment. This condition may imitate the withdrawal syndrome, which is not due to the lack of addictive effects of antidepressants.


Attention! Before taking medication, consult your doctor.

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