Depression is probably one of the most prevalent mental disorders today and it has been estimated that about 16% of the people in the USA will meet the diagnosis criteria for depressio at some point in life. Once you develop it, depression can damage every aspect of your life since it significantly affects both emotional and social life, as well as behaviour and cognition. It is also considered to be one of the toughest conditions because it can incapacitate you to the point you can’t even get up from the bed. Although in some cases depression will disappear without any treatment, most of the people don’t want to wait that long. Being depressed is probably one of the thoughest and most exaustive states and, when it gets you, you just have to act momantarily.
If you happen to suffer from depression, you’ll probably be given some medication in order to treat your condition. And I won’t argue that depression medications are bad because they arent – they do the job and help you relieve bad depression symptoms. However, medication treatment is not the only way to go in treating depression. There are numerous options if you want to take a more natural approach, ranging from various herbs, supplements like fish oil, to serious changes in your lifestyle. However, in this article I’ll argue that, if you decide to take natural non-medication approach, the best and most effective solution for you are psychotherapies.
Psychotherapies that work for depression
First I’ll introduce you to three psychotherapies that proved to be most usefull in treating depression, and after that I’ll give you some tips on how to choose amog them the proper one for you. I hope you will find it insightfull and interesting.
According to psychoanalitical theory, depression is the result of deeply repressed feelings of loss and anger that are directed towards self. The aim of the psychoanalitic therapy is to help the patients to gain an insight into the repressed conflict and to encourage expression of aggresion towards outside instead holding it to themselves. The classic psychoanalitical approach that is directed towards patients past failed to prove its usefulness in treating depression.
However, newer approach called dinamic psychotherapy, that is oriented towards patients present social interaction and environment, proved to be quite effective in relieving depression symptoms. By focusing on present social interaction, psychodinamic approach can, for example, teach the patient better communication skills so that he/she could have better social interactions and, thus, social support which is crucial in depression.
According to the Aaron Beck’s cognitive theory of depression, depression is literary caused by bad thinking. Logically then, the cognitive therapy for depression is focused on changing the maladjusted thought patterns. Therapists goal is to persuade the patients that their thoughts about themselves and events related to themselves are mostly wrong and need to be changed. Patients must learn that negative thoughts about themselves impede them from getting the more realistic picture about the world around them and their real possibilities. Apart from cognitive component such as changing irrational beliefs about own incapacity and inability, cognitive therapy alco has it’s behavioral component. The patients get tasks that they need to fulfill, and in turn these tasks allow them to experience some success in life and thus develop positive attitudes towards themselves.
However, inspite having possible behavioral success, according to cognitivists, patient won’t get better unless correcting cognitive errors and irrational beliefs. The cognitive therapy proved to be more successfull in treating depression than some tricyclic antidepressants and made Beck to conclude that „it could be good for patients taking medication to take up cognitive therapy also, but if patients are already going to cognitive therapy adding medications to their treatment program would be unnecessary.“
One of the key elements of depression is lack of positive experiences with other people. The intention of bihevioral therapy is, thus, to allow the patients to achieve more positive social relationships and interactions. The results of the studies that examined the effectiveness of behavioral therapies showed that improving social interactions with methods of practicing self-confidence and social skills was very effective in alleviating the symptoms of depression. The key in depression is getting as much social support as possible, and training patients to improve their social relationships is certainly good step in that direction.
Ok, now that I know all that, how do I choose which one is the best for me?
Although now you may know something about psychotherapies that are available to you if you want to go that way in depression treatment, you still don’t know which one to choose and which one is the best for you. And this is a hard question, to say at least. Determinig the best treatment for each individual patient is quite a challenge. However, its not impossible. These three therapies each focus either on cognitive element, bihevioral element or both. What you need to do is to determine your biggest weakness. For example, you might have problems in developing social connections, or in communication which makes you feel bad. Or perhaps you think you are not capable of doing tasks that most others can do. Maybe you think that you are the least funny and popular person around. There are numerous possible causes of depression, but if you can broadly classify your problems either in cognitive or in behavioral group, you are one step from choosing the right treatment.
If you estimate that your biggest problem is cognitive one, than cognitive or psychodynamic approach is right for you. If you have excessive bihevioral problems, than of course, bihevioral therapy is the way to go. And, considering the succes of these therapies, choosing the right one for you is great step forward complete healing.
By Nikola Delix
Although this article can serve you as a good approximation, always seek professional hel and advice when choosing future steps in your treatment process. If you want to learn more about usefull, natural and cost effective ways of treating depression and other mental disorders, visit psychologylaconica.com.