Treatment for Depression

Some Common Treatments for Depression

The type and length of therapy necessary to alleviate depression has to be decided on an individual basis. It is determined by variables such as intensity of symptoms and whether the depression is situational (i.e., divorce) or chronic. One treatment does not fit all.


Therapies Effective in Relieving Depression

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Depressing thoughts lead to depressing feelings. CBT helps clients recognize distressing thought patterns, examine how true they are, and then to exchange the negative thinking habits for more effective ones. This revamping of how a client thinks is called cognitive restructuring.
CBT treatment usually runs 12 to 16 weeks. It addresses the client's specific problems, teaches coping skills, and requires clients to practice skills and complete homework between sessions. CBT can be effective on mild to moderate depression without the aid of medication. It works well on major depression in combination with antidepressants.
Psychodynamic Therapy
This is the type of therapy usually depicted in movies. It is an open ended process utilizing free association. Clients talk about whatever is on their mind (past or present), revealing to the therapist their thought, emotion, and behavior patterns. Those patterns, and the feelings they trigger, are then examined during sessions.
Psychodynamic therapists believe every client is influenced by past experiences and by their unconscious mind. Individuals learn to confront issues that lead to emotional pain and develop their ability to utilize psychological resources within themselves.
This is a long-term therapy, often lasting one year, or more. The relationship between client and therapist is considered the primary means of healing.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
IPT therapy was created to treat depressed adults by focusing on their relationships with others. The way a person interacts with people, or does not interact, has a bearing on depressive symptoms. IPT is a short-term therapy.
Some IPT clients supplement their treatment by having monthly maintenance sessions after the initial sessions have ended. This helps prevent stress caused by social interactions that can trigger or deepen depressive symptoms. IPT is sometimes utilized in a group therapy format.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
MBCT was developed to help people diagnosed with depression. It utilizes the CBT techniques written above, and teaches clients mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness helps people become more aware of their thoughts and helps them manage distress.

Other Treatments

Many severely and chronically depressed individuals take an antidepressant to help them manage symptoms. Medication is often used in conjunction with therapy. Some people require a combination of medications to alleviate their symptoms.
Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT)
People with stubborn symptoms of depression not relieved by therapy and medication, may choose electric shock therapy. ECT can be used in conjunction with talk therapies. Today, this treatment is considered safe by most doctors although people who have had multiple treatments over a span of years have reported memory problems.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
In 2008, the FDA approved the NeuroStar TMS treatment device. The device generates a magnetic field that triggers a small amount of electric current in specific areas of the brain. There are no reported side effects other than occasional discomfort during the first few sessions.
Clients remain conscious during treatment. No sedative or anesthesia is required. The treatment is five days per week for four months, and each session is approximately 90 minutes. TMS is only approved for those who have unsuccessfully tried at least one antidepressant at a therapeutic dose. Many insurance carriers are not covering this treatment yet.


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