Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

January 7, 2015

All Markets
The Behavioral Health Program Educates Members About Antidepressants

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) continually monitors and evaluates behavioral health care management initiatives through the Behavioral Health Quality Improvement Program (BHQIP). The BHQIP identifies program enhancement opportunities that will benefit members and providers.

As part of the BHQIP, members are educated about depression symptoms, how antidepressants work and the importance of staying on antidepressant medication once it is prescribed by a doctor. The member article (see below) is scheduled for publication in the February issue of LifeTimes®.

Read more information about the Behavioral Health Care Management and Quality Improvement Programs.

Member Newsletter Article – Antidepressants

What Are Antidepressants and How Do They Work?

Antidepressants are medications that may help you if you’ve had:

  • Two or more weeks of very low or sad moods
  • Loss of joy in normal day-to-day activity
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Appetite or energy level changes
  • Negative thinking or self-talk (what you say to yourself)
  • A hard time focusing
  • Irritability
  • Thoughts about death or suicide

Antidepressants work well mainly when used in conjunction with counseling, such as a type of counseling called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT helps people learn skills to change how they think and act in order to improve moods. These new skills can help people learn better ways to cope with life’s challenges.

Antidepressants do not cure depression, but they lessen the symptoms of depression by raising the activity of certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Antidepressants help nerve cells talk with each other in the brain and improve mood, focus and motivation – so people can start to feel better.

A major depression event can last six months or longer. Often a doctor will suggest taking antidepressants for 6 to 12 months. Most people start to feel better on antidepressants within a few weeks. This may make them think all is back to normal, when it may not be. It is important to follow the doctor’s recommendations and keep taking antidepressants even when feeling better. Stopping antidepressants early can result in the depressive symptoms coming back. Always ask the doctor before stopping a medication.

For questions concerning behavioral health issues, call Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) at the number on the back of your ID card.

Want to learn more about depression? Go to My Health tab on Blue Access for MembersSM or Care onTargetSM for more facts.

The Behavioral Health program is available only to those members whose health plans include behavioral health benefits through BCBSIL.

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