Depression is increasing in our society, to the extent that it is expected to become the second largest cause of disability by 2020. So often these days, depression is treated with anti-depressant drugs, either on their own or combined with psychotherapy.
In a recent study, published in 2016, researchers from the University Medical Centre in Amsterdam studied the results on patients with depression using antidepressants of varying kinds. They compared the results of using these drugs without additional psychotherapy, against using them with psychotherapy, and also compared the results of using psychotherapy without drugs. Their analysis included 23 studies with a total of 2164 patients.
The results were: that in the short term (up to 6 months), using a combination of drugs and therapy was beneficial; using drugs alone was not beneficial. However, longer than 6 months, using psychotherapy alone was more beneficial for the patients in these studies than either of the other two alternatives.
In other words, Anti-depressants, long-term, provide no added value. Psychotherapy does provide added value.
Depression is defined as a mood disorder or illness, and one that is characterized by sadness and a feeling of hopelessness. It’s something that lasts for a long time and doesn’t go away after a few hours. When we’re depressed, we may “know” logically that this feeling won’t last, but still feel emotionally that it will last forever; we are listless, lack motivation, and isolate – all which deepen the depression.
If you’re mildly depressed, then there are things you can do for yourself, the primary one being to move: go for a walk or a swim, do the dishes or make your bed. Any kind of movement will lift depression to some extent. The other major thing you can do is connect – with a friend, a pet, or even with Nature – countering the impact of isolation.
If you’re deeply depressed, these two things will help, but you’ll need the extra help of a therapist that you trust and can work with. Here are some suggestions:
- Find two or three therapists. Take the time and effort to find two or three therapists in your area; or if you’d rather meet online, then find two or three therapists who can meet with you online. Check out their credentials – in Ontario a person can’t call themselves a psychotherapist unless they are registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, or CRPO, in which case they will have an “RP” beside their name. This ensures they have the appropriate training and minimum number of hours to be of service. There are other equivalent designations as well as Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario and elsewhere; you may need to do some searching to discover what these are.
- Set up phone interviews with each of these therapists. During your interview, you will want to find out what kind of person they are and if you will be able to trust them and work with them. Assuming they have good credentials, this is more important than specific credentials, because it’s the interconnection you make with this other person that will be the foundation of your road towards health and happiness and out of depression. Have a list of questions ready to ask. These might include the following:
- What is your experience in working with people with depression?You will want someone who has some experience working in the field of depression, or in related fields such as anxiety or stress.
- What is your approach? How are you and I going to work together? You will need to be comfortable with their particular approach, having some idea of what you will get out of a given session. A therapist will not be able to tell you how long it will take be rid yourself of depression because every person and situation is different, but they will be able to tell you about how they will work with you.
- What do you expect from me? This is a critical question: a therapist isn’t there to make you better, but to help you make yourself better. Their expertise is in facilitating change, but it’s still your commitment to this process of change that will make the difference. If in your interview the therapist claims they can make you better, chose a different therapist.
- What goals will be set; how will you assess how I’m doing? Their answer has a log to do with their style, which you will need to comfortable with.
- What is your gut feeling about this therapist? The most important question of all – because in the end you need to feel good about working with this person.
- Chose a therapist and set up your first appointment. You will not be able to tell for sure if this therapist is the right one for you until you’ve been with them for a few sessions. Forget about the cost – most good therapists charge about the same amount, and you can also discover from google what the going rate is in your area. If this therapist doesn’t work out, then thank them for their time, and move to the next one on your list. It won’t be long until you find the right one for you. None of the sessions are a waste – you’ve discovered something about yourself in terms of what works, and you’ve done it in a considered way.
Self-love means taking care of ourselves. Taking care of ourselves can sometimes mean getting professional help. If we’re caring and considerate, then it can’t help but lead us into a better space: by taking action on our own behalf, we are acting from the place of empowerment, and in doing so, have already taken our first step on the road to health and happiness.
Dwayne Johnson on Depression
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At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations. For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/programs or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org