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Combination Drug Therapies for Depression

The treatment of those suffering from depression has come along way over the years. At one time doctors resorted to whatever method, however barbaric, they thought might work. They might pull a person's teeth or surgically remove an organ they felt the patient could do without in their attempts to correct this problem. They did not look to see what caused the problem just what solutions they could come up with. A story is told of a doctor who, as recently as the late eighteen hundreds, had a patient who suffered from severe depression and only seemed to feel any better when he went on a train. The doctor assumed it was the bumps felt as the train journeyed and so any time the man complained of depression shook him erratically to try to battle the symptoms. Feeling that the man seemed to have a lot of these episodes he shook him with more force each time his patient came to see him. Of course, it was not a successful treatment. Isn't it lucky that we no longer do such foolish things to patients in need of treatment?


One of the ongoing problems of people who are depressive is that many of them do not react to standard treatments. They suffer with answers to why. These people are termed treatment resistant. Their depression does not improve with the use of pills, shock or therapy. At least thirty percent of all depressives fall into this difficult to treat category. Luckily new treatments are popping up all the time and some of them are helping those who were thought to be beyond help before.


At one time the standard treatment for a depressive was to put them on an antidepressant. If after a few weeks there were no improvement then the health care provider would switch them to another. Hopefully it would not take long to find one that worked. But it could take several months of trial and error before finding an antidepressant that worked. Sometimes what is done instead is to add a second medication to work along with the antidepressant or to try to boost it. One successful medication used to improve the other drugs is called Cytomel. This drug is normally used as a thyroid medication. Now it is believed to be able to help a depressive patient and so it is given even when thyroid levels are normal, though of course is more helpful when they are not. This combination works so well that studies show a fifty percent increased success rate with their use. Health care providers may also try lithium or Ritalin as the secondary medications for the same purpose.


Sometimes the health care provider will suggest that along with these medications regular therapy sessions can be helpful. This is often rejected as many depressives do not feel that their depression is an emotional problems but one of internal chemical imbalances that need to be regulated. When these combination drug therapies work this only confirms their reasoning.
 

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