Depression can be a debilitating condition for those who suffer from it, and finding the best treatment for depression can be difficult. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the significance of the challenges a sufferer deals with daily. In fact, many sufferers don’t even understand they have the condition. Therefore, diagnosing the condition in the first place can be a challenge as usually a person has to put their hand up to ask for help.
Once a person is diagnosed with depression there are many avenues for help to overcome and live a life free of the condition. But how do you manage and find the best treatment for depression?
It is really important to understand that depression is not just having a low mood or weak-mindedness. It is an illness of the brain and can have just as serious consequences as cancer and heart disease. Just as cancer, high blood pressure, and a broken leg usually require a combination of medication, therapy and lifestyle changes, so does depression. Therefore, one has to attend to all facets of the condition: the biological causes, the social or interpersonal and the inner psychology of the person.
In this article, I am going to outline the best treatments for depression and at the end, I will show you the best place to find a holistic solution.
If you have a medium to severe depression or if you have an anxiety disorder then, along with psychological treatments, antidepressant medication is often required and is sometimes life-saving. It is not clear precisely how antidepressants work on the brain but it is known that action on neurotransmitters is involved, perhaps correcting some deficiency.
Medications can only be prescribed by a doctor and should be managed closely by the doctor and the patient.
Psychological treatments are vital to overcoming depression and are often the first line of treatment. Learning the skills to deal with the causes of depression is a life skill which you will use continually. Not all causes of depression can be removed, learning to deal with them when they arise is critical to overcoming depression. Your psychiatrist has been extensively trained in the use of the various treatments.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
The psychological treatment with the best research evidence for efficacy in treatment for depression is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The aim of CBT is to help people identify and correct their distorted and negative thoughts. They are helped to reframe the way they think about life and themselves and learn to be more resilient in dealing with problems. They also learn to identify and alter behaviour that is counterproductive such as procrastination, impaired social skills and lack of goals.
Other forms of therapy may be helpful also. For instance, if a person suffers from low self-esteem, has experienced trauma, has difficulty keeping their angry feelings in check or has difficulties getting on with other people, dynamic psychotherapy may be very helpful. This explores in some depth the hidden unconscious conflicts and emotions that are hindering development of a strong sense of self.
Interpersonal therapy can be very useful in clarifying and resolving interpersonal problems that might be causing or maintaining depression.
As you can see choosing the right type of therapy and practitioner is important to recovery.
There are many lifestyle changes you can make to help with your depression. Many have found that exercise is a great way of relieving stress and getting the mind focusing on something else for a period of time.
Maintaining a healthy diet can also be a challenge when you find yourself depressed, but diet is very important to a full recovery. Getting a full night’s sleep is also critical as a lack of sleep on a consistent basis will reduce your ability to cope with life situations in general.
Finally limiting the use of drugs and alcohol is highly recommended in treating depression as these outside stimulants and depressants can compound the issues you are having and make it much harder to recover.
You can find out more about managing lifestyle changes at Beyond Blue.
Family and Friends
It is important that you stay socially active when you are going through depression. Instinctively you may want to pull back from social events and be by yourself. The support, love and understanding from family and friends will contribute to your recovery process.
Cutting yourself off will prolong your recovery time and staying connected will improve your wellbeing and confidence.
The Best Holistic Treatment
The best way to seek holistic treatment for depression is through a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is not only trained as a medical doctor; they are also trained in the therapies required to help you change your mindset when dealing with depression. A psychiatrist can also look at any medical conditions that may be contributing to your depression, prescribe and monitor medication if required, work with you through one of the appropriate therapies and assist with those lifestyle choices.
Psychiatrists are highly trained in the area of depression and will be able to help you create a plan with or without medication and then walk alongside you as you follow that plan to become healthy again.
If you are feeling that you need help with depression, then I am available to help you with information and treatment for depression.
You can call me on 02 9436 2727 or email me and I will call to have a quick discussion on how we can approach the treatment of your depression.
Dr Gabriella Unsen