What should women be aware of when being treated for depression?

There are a few things women need to bear in mind when being treated for depression:
  • Every antidepressant works differently in different people. Just because one drug worked well for your best friend doesn't mean it will work for you. If the medication doesn't seem to be helping, talk to your healthcare professional about changing the dosage or type of medicine.
  • Medication takes time to work. On average, it may take 10 days to two weeks before you see an improvement in your mood.
  • There is some evidence that using some forms of estrogen therapy with antidepressants may help the medication work better (estrogen therapy alone cannot treat major depression).
  • Therapy is an important part of any treatment for depression. The two most-studied forms of therapy for depression are interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), which is a less intensive form of traditional psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in which you learn to alter your perception of the world. Some studies find therapy is as effective as medicine for some mild or moderate depression.
Whether your mood swings are related to depression or other issues in your life, certain lifestyle changes may also help. For instance, numerous studies find regular exercise can help reduce the risk of depression and improve mood. Social interaction is also important, with studies finding that supportive social relationships can improve the quality of life for those with depression and may even protect women against depression.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.