Depression following major surgery may be commonplace so it’s good to know that around 80-90 per cent of those affected respond positively to treatment. Treatment options include:
Anti-depressant medications are likely to be one of the first things to be prescribed for your depression. Research suggests that antidepressants, in combination with psychotherapy, are often the most effective mix. The most widely used antidepressant medications are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These tend to be safe to use in combination with other medications but your doctor will advise you of any special circumstances or limitations.
An increasing body of evidence points to exercise as an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. One of the positive effects of regular exercise is that it can counter the effects of weight gain that often comes about as a side effect of antidepressant medication. Around 150 minutes of brisk walking a week is sufficient to promote a sense of wellbeing, and improve circulation and overall physical fitness.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of psychological therapy. It has a good research track record and is highly effective in the treatment of depression. Many people find it more effective than antidepressants. A 12-week, randomized, single-blind clinical trial with outcome evaluations conducted at the Outpatient research clinic at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, found CBT and supportive stress management performed well for treating depression after coronary artery bypass surgery. Of the two therapies tested researchers found CBT to have the most durable effects.