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If you think you may be depressed, speak to your GP who can refer you to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and prescribe medications such as selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
SSRIs are antidepressants that control a substance in your brain called seratonin which can help to lift your mood. The medication can take a few weeks before any effects are noticed and may also require some time to be weaned off them to prevent withdrawals. They are best used in conjunction with therapy since they may alleviate the symptoms but if the cause of the depression still exists, it may return in the future.
CBT is a term applied to a number of therapies that aim to combat negative thought patterns and behaviours that a person has developed and which contribute to their illness. Through CBT, sufferers can learn to recognise and break these patterns that reinforce their depressive attitudes. It can be a long process taking several weeks or months but its effects are long-term rather than the short-term effects of medication.
As well as these treatments, it helps to have people around you who understand and are supportive. If friends and family find it difficult to understand mental illness, there are many support groups and forums that sufferers can turn to. The main thing to remember is that depression is an illness and it can get better. Just take it one day at a time.