Q: Being a caregiver for my elderly mother makes me extremely depressed. I take medication for depression but it still gets a hold of me. What can I do?

A: Caring for an elderly parent is a difficult task, and many caregivers find they become extremely depressed. You've begun to address the problem by consulting your prescribing professional and starting to take an antidepressant. However, medication is only one step in the process of combating depression.

Counseling with a professional, known as psychotherapy, offers an arena and a safe place to talk with an objective, trusted third party, for problem-solving, exploring your feelings, and altering your usual responses to the things that trigger your unhappiness. Caregiver support groups (often available through local clinics, mental health services, or community organizations) can provide valuable information, encouragement, and help.

Caring for yourself by spending time with friends and doing healthy, constructive things that make you happy is also an essential part of coping with depression.