Depression can be treated in several ways. Support groups may help. Some women go to therapy or counseling with a mental health professional (such as a social worker psychotherapist or psychiatrist).
Some people suffer from a type of depression that comes on during the fall or winter, when there is less sunlight. This is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This condition is treated with light therapy. In her home, the patient looks into a box with special light bulbs. To avoid injury to her eyes, she looks at the lights indirectly. Typically, the patient does this from 15 minutes to two hours every day. The health provider may recommend a different number of minutes over time.
Mental health professionals often talk with women about the risks and benefits of antidepressants.
Two Groups of Antidepressants
Most antidepressants can be categorized into one of two groups.
Group 1: Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This group of drugs includes:
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Cymbalta (duloxetine)
Group 2: Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). This group of drugs includes:
- Elavil (amitriptyline)
- Tofranil (imipramine)
- Pamelor (Aventyl, nortriptyline)
Like many drugs, antidepressants can have side effects. SSRIs usually have fewer side effects than TCAs. Women differ in the type and seriousness of the side effects that they have.