Can we treat my husband's depression better than all the drugs he's been given?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 10, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband had a stroke in September 2008. All was well until March 09 when our daughter's husband divorced her. My husband went into a depression, resulting in insomnia. His doctors put him on all types of meds - Prozac/Lexapro/Paxil (with adverse reactions) - the latest being Trazadone 100mg and Velafaxine. Is there some way without these meds to get his brain chemicals back in order?

Expert Answers

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

I'm sorry to hear about this.  Depression after a stroke is very common, and it certainly does not help to have other regrettable life circumstances.

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for depression.  When a patient of mine is suffering from depression after a stroke, I will sometimes try an anti-depressant, but I always strongly encourage them to seek out the help of a Psychiatrist or Psychologist.  They have much more experience with lifestyle modifications and medications that can help.  If you are interested in trying a non-medicine centered approach, I would start with a Psychologist.  Psychologists are trained in treating depression without the use of medicines.  I think you might find that very helpful. 

I find the main hurdle is getting people to go for their initial visit.  There is still a large stigma that surrounds seeking the help of a mental health professional, but I find that once people go for their initial visit, they continue to go thereafter.