What it is and how to treat it.
What is depression?
Depression is a medical condition characterized by feelings of prolonged sadness and hopelessness. People who suffer from depression often experience a lack of interest in activities they used to find pleasurable, as well as symptoms that include: fatigue, restlessness, increased or decreased appetite, insomnia or sleeping excessively, low self-esteem, withdrawal from social activities, difficulty concentrating, chronic pain and thoughts of suicide.
What causes depression?
Depression is often caused by a combination of environmental and chemical factors. External factors include incidences of personal trauma, life-changing events and serious illness. Chemical imbalances within the body caused by nutritional deficiencies, allergic reactions and genetic predisposition also affect mood.
Symptoms of depression
Depression takes many forms, such as Clinical Depression (interferes with ability to function in daily life), Dysthymia (mild, chronic depression), Atypical Depression (characterized by psychosomatic complaints and moods shifts based on time of day), Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD; mood affected by lack of sunlight and the nutritional deficiencies that result), Postpartum Depression (corresponds to hormonal changes and stress following pregnancy)and Anxiety Disorders (excessive worry, phobias and obsessive-compulsive tendencies).
What are the depression treatment options?
Medication options – When additional support is needed, prescription drugs can help stabilize chemical processes in the body by restoring balance to the neurotransmitter connections that affect mood. These mood-related neurotransmitters include serotonin, dopamine, glutamine, GABA and norepinephrine.
The three classes of antidepressant medications used for treatment are SSRIs (examples include: Zoflot (sertraline), Lexapro (escitalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine)), Tricyclic (examples include: Elavil (amitriptyline)) and SNRIs (Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (examples include:(Effexor (VENLAFAXINE), Cymbalta (DULOXETINE) and Prestiq (DESVENLAFAXINE)). Additional medication may be prescribed to address pain associated with symptoms of depression.
Many of the more established brand name depression medications, especially in the SSRI class, are available generically and you could see significant savings using the AxiaRx card, which you can print for free here or lookup actual prices others paid.
If you are pursuing brand name depression medications sometimes they can be much more expensive, which means a discount may still not be enough for some families. In those cases you might want to try our prescription advocacy service, a fee-based prescription assistance program service that regularly works with people who may be struggling to pay their bills.
We recognize that such a service must be affordable. That’s why we return at least 90% of the prescription drug savings back to you, and that’s even with our fees included. Have a $300 drug? If we help you qualify you’ll never pay more than $30 per month (often less!). Got a $75 monthly prescription? You’ll never pay more than $7.50 each month. In short, we’ll help you identify programs that supply your expensive medication for free - or for a very low cost - compared to the retail cost you might have to pay if you are uninsured.
Dietary options and Lifestyle Changes – A diet rich in vegetables, brown rice, whole grain oats and fish oils (Omega-3), along with a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, may help reduce symptoms caused by nutritional deficiencies. Other mood-boosting changes include increasing exercise, socializing more, choosing a creative outlet, volunteering (finding a sense of purpose) and learning relaxation techniques (breathing, meditation, yoga, etc.).