Major Depressive Disorder Treatment Options From Your Psychiatrist

Major Depressive Disorder Treatment Myrtle Beach, SC

Major depressive disorder treatment is available to those who have a chemical imbalance causing the disorder. Major depressive disorder, or MDD, can result from several factors, including life events, certain illnesses, or a trigger from co-existing mental disorders. Take a closer look at how we will diagnose the disorder and potential treatment options.

A Guide to Major Depressive Disorder Treatments

Diagnosing MDD

Before determining an effective major depressive disorder treatment, the psychiatrist must perform an evaluation for a formal diagnosis. That is because they want to ensure the patient is not living with co-existing disorders and that they are living with MDD. The psychiatrist will diagnose MDD using the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5). It characterizes MDD in those who experience the following symptoms for longer than two weeks continuously:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling sad or hopeless for the majority of the day
  • Increased or decreased appetites
  • Inappropriate feelings of self-guilt or worthlessness
  • Insomnia (hyper-sleeping or lack of sleeping)
  • Lack of energy even after sleeping
  • Loss of interest in small or once-enjoyed activities
  • Restlessness
  • Self-harm ideations or attempts
  • Suicide ideations or attempts

Accompanying the evaluation of symptoms, the psychiatrist will do the same to the patient's medical and familial history. Considering MDD is a chemical imbalance in the brain, they will also incorporate lab testing for further evaluation.

Major depressive disorder treatments

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy or talk therapy serves as the base of any major depressive disorder treatment plan. Various methods can encompass psychotherapy, all aiming at different symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which the National Library of Medicine calls one of the most evidence-based psychological interventions for several psychological disorders, including depression, addresses the negative thought patterns a patient is experiencing.

Another method is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). It involves creating a system to address the patient's thoughts and feelings. The system incorporates mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.

Medication

Often combined with psychotherapy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, has approved various antidepressant medications. Antidepressants work by altering the brain's chemical messengers. Medication will be monitored by the psychiatrist and will require multiple check-in appointments, which are usually at the same time as the psychotherapy sessions. While it usually takes four to six weeks for a medication to take effect, it is good to note that a trial-and-error period is normal. Antidepressants are known to have side effects, like with any other medication. These side effects can range in severity and effectiveness for each patient.

Electroconvulsive therapy

Sometimes, psychotherapy and medication fail to yield adequate results; this is known as treatment-resistant depression. For those having severe symptoms, especially those that are life-threatening, the psychiatrist may recommend electroconvulsive therapy. It involves placing the patient under general anesthesia for the duration of the procedure. Controlled seizures are created inside the brain with the help of mild electrical currents that pass through it. It is worth mentioning that ECT is a short-term treatment, usually performed once to alleviate threats to a patient's livelihood. Afterward, patients will resume psychotherapy and medication.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is another major depressive disorder treatment option for those who are resistant to other treatments. Less invasive than ECT, TMS involves placing a magnetic coil on the patient's forehead and scalp so small electrical currents can target a specific area in the brain. Studies have found that those with MDD have alterations in their amygdala, hippocampus, and dorsomedial thalamus brain regions.

Unlike ECT, which requires only one procedure, patients must visit the office five consecutive days a week for multiple weeks. Usually, 25 to 30 sessions are required. Fortunately, patients have minimal side effects besides a mild headache after treatment, which over-the-counter headache medication can take care of. Of course, patients are strongly encouraged to inform the psychiatrist of any medication use so no problems arise that may inhibit their health or treatment.

Moreover, the psychiatrist can use this as a standalone or part of the overall treatment plan. Once a patient begins to see results, which can be after a few sessions, they may return to psychotherapy to teach the patient better-coping skills and how to better process their thoughts and emotions.

Schedule an evaluation

If you or a loved one is struggling with MDD, know there is a way out. Our team offers several major depressive disorder treatments that we can uniquely curate for each patient. To get started, contact our Myrtle Beach office to schedule an evaluation.

Request an appointment here: https://mb.futurepsychsolutions.com or call Future Psych Ketamine Clinics at (843) 788-9718 for an appointment in our Myrtle Beach office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

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