Treatment for depression works for most people. Think of treating depression as part of your overall treatment plan after a heart event. Below are some of the treatment approaches used for depression. Your doctor will assess the best approach for you.
Antidepressant medication can reduce symptoms of depression. Some antidepressants can interact with heart medications, and so ask your health care team before starting any new medications. Many medications work relatively quickly and have few side effects. Be aware that most medications have to build up in the bloodstream to become effective, so be patient.
Ask about any side effects when reviewing possible therapies and report any that you experience from the medication.
Another important treatment option is psychotherapy, or “talk therapy.” Counseling sessions with a mental health provider can be a very effective part of your treatment plan. In fact, research has demonstrated that a combination of medication and talk therapy works best for most people with depression.
The goal of such therapy is usually to help you better understand your condition, and to develop approaches for coping with depressed thoughts and feelings when they arise.
Many people find that having a social network helps them cope. This can include group therapy or a support group, or it can be something unrelated to depression itself, such as a church group or Mended Hearts. Many Mended Hearts volunteers have reported improvement in their depression symptoms because of their involvement in the organization.
It may not surprise you to learn that diet and exercise play a key role in combating depression. It’s important to eat a healthy diet as part of your treatment plan following your heart event. Sticking to that diet can keep depression at bay.
Likewise, exercise is important in controlling depression symptoms. It needn’t be strenuous exercise, either; physical activities such as walking or gardening can help. Avoid alcohol and illicit drugs in treating depression. Although they may seem to help with symptoms, they generally make depression worse in the long run and can lead to severe health consequences, among other problems.
Battle depression by getting plenty of sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, talk with your health care team about your options for improving your sleep.