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Medications or Psychotherapy for Depression?

Complimentary medicines are now widely used as an effective depression treatment and many people turn to psychotherapy when they feel low or depressed. People with mental or emotional conditions can really benefit from psychotherapy. Depending on the severity of the depression, either psychotherapy alone might be effective or psychotherapy may need to be used along with antidepressants.

Psychotherapy for Depression imageSo, should you take a medication to treat your depression or get into therapy? Anti depression medications are often the first treatment offered to people who are depressed. Managed care companies in the U.S. and over the world like this approach because antidepressant medications are less expensive than psychotherapy.

However, numerous studies have come to similar conclusions about effectiveness: psychotherapy and antidepressant medication are equally effective.

Psychotherapy or "talk therapy for depression" is often the better form of treatment recommended for depression. Psychiatric session usually take the form of 45 minute long appointments where the depressed person can talk to a licensed and trained mental healthcare professional about their depression symptoms, and identify and work through the factors that may be causing their depression. Often a psychiatrist can give a better diagnosis of the severity of depression and engage the sufferer in cognitive behavioural therapy which can have excellent results.

Types of Psychotherapy for Depression

Individual Therapy: This therapy involves only the patient and the psychotherapist.

Group Therapy: Two or more patients may participate in therapy at the same time. Patients are able to share experiences and learn that others feel the same way, and have had the same experiences.

Couples Therapy: This type of therapy helps spouses and partners understand why their loved one has depression, what changes in communication and behaviors can help, and what they can do to cope and help to overcome depression.

Family Therapy: Because family is a key part of the team that helps people overcome depression, it is often helpful for family members to understand what their loved ones is going through, how they can cope, and what they can do to help.

Kinds of Psychotherapy for Depression

Alternative treatments for depressionPsychodynamic Therapy
Psychodynamic therapy is a more traditional form of therapy. You and your therapist will explore the roots of your depression. Psychodynamic therapy is based on the assumption that a person is depressed because of unsolved, generally unconscious clashes, often having its source from childhood. The goal of psychodynamic therapy is for the patient to understand and cope better with these feelings by talking about the experiences. Psychodynamic therapy is administered over a period of weeks to months to years.

Interpersonal Therapy
Interpersonal therapy focuses on the behaviors and interactions of a depressed person with family and friends. It focuses on practical issues. You will learn how to recognize unhealthy behaviors and change them. The primary goal of interpersonal therapy is to improve communication skills and increase self-esteem during a short period of time. It usually lasts three to four months and works well for depression caused by mourning, relationship conflicts, major life events, and social isolation.

Cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy all focus on how your own thoughts and behaviors contribute to your depression. Your therapist will help you learn new ways to react to situations and challenge your preconceptions. You and your therapist might come up with specific goals. You might also get 'homework' assignments, like keeping a journal or applying problem-solving techniques in particular situations.

In very extreme cases a person with severe depression will need to be admitted to the hospital to receive more intense depression treatment. At these times the people with depression may be unable to eat; they may completely withdraw into themselves and feel totally isolated from the world. When depression gets to this stage it is imperative that the correct depression treatment is started and as quick as possible.



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