How is depression treated in people who have heart disease?
Depression is diagnosed and treated by a health care provider. Treating depression can help you manage heart disease and improve your overall health. Recovery from depression takes time but treatments are effective.
At present, the most common treatments for depression include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, that helps people change negative thinking styles and behaviors that may contribute to their depression
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), a type of antidepressant medication that includes citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft), and fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), a type of antidepressant medication similar to SSRI that includes venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
While currently available depression treatments are generally well tolerated and safe, talk with your health care provider about side effects, possible drug interactions, and other treatment options. For the latest information on medications, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration websiteExternal Link: Please review our disclaimer.. Not everyone responds to treatment the same way. Medications can take several weeks to work, may need to be combined with ongoing talk therapy, or may need to be changed or adjusted to minimize side effects and achieve the best results.
Treating your depression may make it easier for you to follow a long-term heart disease treatment plan and make the lifestyle changes required to manage your heart disease, including4:
- Eating healthy foods
- Exercising regularly
- Drinking less alcohol, or none at all
- Quitting smoking.
Some people may also need to take heart medications or have surgery to treat heart disease.
Regular exercise not only protects you against heart disease,5 it may also help reduce depression.6 One study found that an exercise training program was as effective as an SSRI in improving the symptoms of depression among older adults diagnosed with the disease.7 Your health care provider can recommend safe exercises and activities suitable for you.
More information about depression treatments can be found on the NIMH website. If you think you are depressed or know someone who is, don’t lose hope. Seek help for depression.