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Antidepressants: Get the Facts (cont.)

What causes depression?

The causes of depression are many. For some, depression occurs after loss of a loved one, a change in one's life such as getting divorced, or after being diagnosed with a serious medical disease. For others, depression just happens, possibly because of their family history. Medications can cause depression, and nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major depression.

How do most doctors treat depression?

Standard treatment of depression includes antidepressants and/or psychotherapy, as well as a multifaceted program of diet and lifestyle changes and alternative therapies. Experts believe that different treatment approaches work for different people -- and it's not easy to predict what might work.

What if my antidepressant doesn't seem to work?

Talk to your doctor. You may need to try a different type of antidepressant until you find the right fit and may need additional treatment, such as talk therapy. Just like with any chronic medical condition, it takes patience and perseverance to get the best outcome with depression.

SOURCES: Ronald R. Fieve, MD, New York City. Kirsch, I. PLoS Medicine, February 2008; vol 5: online edition. WebMD Medical News: "Antidepressants No Better Than Placebo?" WebMD Medical Reference: "Understanding Depression - Symptoms." WebMD Medical News: "Hope May Take Time After Depression." WebMD Medical News: "Teen Depression: Try Therapy, Switch Medication."

Reviewed on February 28, 2008.

© 2008 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

Last Editorial Review: 2/29/2008

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