Depression can range from mild to severe. For those who struggle with it, it can make life seem empty and devoid of joy. Fortunately, there is help available for depression and many approaches to treating it that have been highly successful for many individuals.
What does therapy for depression entail?
Assessing your depression and receiving a diagnosis is the first step. Your doctor may perform a physical exam and speak to you about your health and family history. Some types of depression can be related to an underlying physical cause, such as hormonal dysfunction, while others can have its roots in your genetic makeup.
To obtain a diagnosis, your doctor may also order blood tests, or have you evaluated by a psychiatrist.
Many features may present themselves as a manifestation of your depression. Called specifiers, they are categories that will help your doctor determine the best course of treatment.
Some of these features can include:
- Anxiety or distress: continually worrying about events or afraid of losing control.
- Mixed features: mania, characterized by extreme highs, sleeplessness, and increased energy, can sometimes be present along with the depression.
- Atypical: sleeping too much, increase in appetite, great sensitivity, heavy feeling.
- Psychosis: accompanied by delusions, hallucinations, and intensely negative feelings towards oneself.
- Peripartum or postpartum: occurring during pregnancy or after delivery.
- Seasonal depression: directly related to less exposure to sunlight or seasonal changes.
- Melancholy: loss of pleasure in doing the things you love, extreme agitation, changes in appetite, feelings of guilt, and feeling sluggish.
Treatment options for depression
Once you have been diagnosed, your doctor will discuss your treatment and therapy options with you.
Medications can be very effective in treating depression, but we also advocate several adjunct therapies as the combination can hasten recovery and help you feel better faster. Finding the right medication can take a little trial and error. We monitor your progress closely to be sure your medication is working for you.
In addition to medication, we like to suggest therapies that are known to improve results.
These therapies may include:
Talking about your condition to a qualified health professional is often a big help. Many specific psychotherapy approaches can be applied, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, or family therapy.
These types of therapies can help you cope with crisis more effectively, better understand and improve your relationships, give you coping skills to deal with stress more effectively, and identify the triggers that lead to a depressive episode.
In addition to your depression treatment, there are many lifestyle changes you can easily make that will offer significant results in terms of mitigating your depression.
To support your recovery and whole-self wellness, we suggest:
- Get plenty of exercise.
- Get lots of sleep, seven or eight hours a night is recommended.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol.
- Eat well, avoid highly processed foods and sugary drinks.
- Educate yourself about depression and help your loved ones understand what you are going through.
Healing from depression takes time, and we want you to succeed
Above all, stick to your prescribed treatment plan. Do not discontinue medications without the approval of your doctor and don’t skip your appointments, even if you are feeling better.
If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, we want to help. Reach out today and find out how to get started.