Harvard Women's Health Watch

Ask the doctor: What should I do about persistent depression?

Q. I've been feeling consistently down since my husband passed away last year. What are my treatment options?

A. Depression is common after a significant loss such as the death of a spouse. It's important that you get help. Untreated depression can interrupt your sleep, interfere with your relationships, and affect your physical health.

Treatment for depression can include talk therapy, as well as antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). If your primary care doctor does recommend an antidepressant, you can work together to find a medication that improves your symptoms with the fewest side effects. You may need a combination of antidepressants and talk therapy or other treatments to see real improvement. There are a few alternative remedies for depression, including St. John's wort, SAMe, and omega-3 fatty acids. The FDA has not approved these depression remedies, but some people report that they do help. Before you try any supplement, talk to your doctor, because these products can have side effects and may interact with other medicines you're taking.

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