Depression is not just your average, everyday ups and downs; it is a serious illness that can affect anybody, at any age. Depression occurs frequently in about 5% of adolescents in the general population, and it is the world’s number one psychological disorder. Research shows that chemical imbalances in the brain cause depression, however, the symptoms of depression can be relieved quickly with psychological therapies and medications. To be successful in the treatment of depression I believe we need to find that balance between both medicinal and non-medicinal methods of treatment, and to do so we need to remember that there are varying levels of severity, as well as different types of depression, and that no two are exactly the same. First, I think it is important to understand the effect depression has on the family unit. The inability to have any type of control over one’s thoughts and, at times, actions, can leave one with feelings of alienation and hopelessness. The family is also subject to the same thoughts and feelings as well, because they too are trying to find a way to “fix” you. You resent their treatment ideas and antidotes and believe them to be a hindrance, while they see them as that helping hand you so desperately need.
It is at this time that the confused parties involved begin butting heads about an illness neither one understands. By the time there is some semblance of understanding, there has already been major damage done to the family structure. Secondly, I believe it’s imperative for the education and treatment of all parties involved to begin immediately. The damage to the family unit does not have to be permanent, and the more everyone becomes educated and open-minded to different methods of treatment, the stronger the relationships can become. Just as depression can progressively worsen when it is ignored, the healing of the family can also be stifled unless everyone is willing to give that 110%. Families who spend time with each other tend to know one another well enough to sense problems.
Involving the family in the treatment and education of the patient is imperative. The unconditional love of one’s family is a powerful stimulus for healing. Lastly, but certainly not lacking in importance, studies have shown that the patient benefits more from emotional, physical and educational treatment than by medications alone. The chemical imbalance is easily remedied with the correct medication, but the emotional damage done during the progression of the illness requires more than a pill. It’s been a long, and emotionally draining battle, and now it is time to learn to live a balanced and fulfilling life.
Eating right, exercising, and practicing positive thinking, together with medication prescribed to you by your doctor, can give you that second wind, and you can now start living a productive and happy life. The importance of finding a balance among the medicinal and non-medicinal forms of treatment needs to stay foremost in our minds. As a society, we can no longer entertain the “one size fits all” attitude. We need to educate the individual as well as the family and help them to understand, that with the proper treatment, they can learn to live and enjoy life again. The chemical imbalance can be remedied with medication. However, learning to get passed some of the personal and emotional issues brought on by this imbalance requires more than just a pill. The tolerance and strength of the family, as well as the love they have for one another, is going to be the glue that will piece together not only the broken individual, but the family as a whole.