There are a variety of treatments for depression including individual, couples or family psychotherapy, which are equal or better in effectiveness when compared to medication, and better than medication when long term outcomes are assessed. While medication alone can be quicker to relieve symptoms than psychotherapy, the use of psychotherapy alone results in a lower relapse rate, teaches coping mechanisms, and does not have physical side effects. Research has also shown that depression improves when individuals improve their sleep habits, nutrition, and physical activity levels.
Psychologists can administer comprehensive assessments to help identify the depth and causes of depression. Psychologists utilize psychotherapy or "talk therapy". They may use hypnosis, family-based therapy or a behavioral intervention. Some persons experience dramatic improvement in a few sessions; other persons require ongoing treatment.
Psychotherapy helps people identify the factors that contribute to their depression and deal effectively with the psychological, behavioral, interpersonal and situational contributors. Skilled health and mental health professionals such as licensed psychologists can work with individuals who are depressed to:
Pinpoint the life problems that contribute to their depression, and help them understand which aspects of those problems they may be able to solve or improve. A licensed psychologist can help depressed patients identify options for the future and set realistic goals that enable them to enhance their mental and emotional well-being. Psychotherapy can also assist individuals who have been depressed in the past with identifying how they have successfully dealt with similar feelings.
Identify negative or distorted thought patterns that contribute to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that accompany depression.
Develop skills to relieve suffering and prevent later bouts of depression. Skills may include developing or strengthening social networks, creating new ways to cope with challenges and crafting a personal self-care plan that includes positive lifestyle changes.
Contact your psychologist to explore the best ways to heal from depression.