Depression is now evolving into the biggest epidemic of 21st century and is one of the major causes of suicide. Depression can happen to anyone and lead to severe consequences on the daily life of the patient. Celebrities, Parliamentarians and Influential Persons are now joining hands to make sure that mental health issues are given the attention it deserves.
As an example, in his maiden speech to the Australian Parliament recently, Julian Leeser highlighted the impacts of suicide and adoption of a more compassionate approach to mental health problems. Similarly many celebrities like Lady Gaga have come out and openly spoken of their battle with depression.
A proper treatment of depression is paramount to ensure the wellbeing of yourself, your relatives and the society at large.
So how do we treat you if you are depressed? Do we treat you with medications or therapies?
There are several approaches available to treat depression. Research is proving that both medications and therapy can be effectively used to treat depression. If you are experiencing non-severe depression, psychotherapy may be the best form of treatment. Certain type of patients respond best to medications, as discussed in “What are the best treatments for recovery from Depression?”. If you are severely depressed patients a combination of medication and psychotherapy provides the best outcomes.
In medications, SSRI’s followed by SNRI’s are the most popular medications. However some medications can increase the risk of suicide ideation and also have other side effects. It is imperative for doctors to closely monitor the side effects of these medications on and ensure that best results are being achieved for you.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are some of the psychological treatments suggested by BeyondBlue Organisation for Depression. I have already covered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy in my earlier blog posts Use of Evidence Based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in Sydney, Depression Treatment in Sydney Using Various Kinds of Therapies. Here I will elaborate further on Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy.
Behaviour Therapy (BT) can be used itself, besides being a major component of CBT. It doesn’t attempt to change beliefs and attitudes. While using BT the therapist tries to encourage you to focus on activities that are positive, pleasant and emotionally satisfying. By focusing on these activities you are able to reverse negative behaviour patterns such as avoidance, withdrawal and inactivity that perpetuate depression.
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
MBCT is usually delivered to groups of people and involves engaging in a kind of meditation called ‘mindfulness meditation’. The therapy teaches you to focus thoughts on the present moment – being aware of your experiences, whether pleasant or unpleasant – without attempting to change it. At first, the therapist teach you to focus on your sense experiences (like sound of breathing), and then as you get the hang of it they move on sublimer aspects like feelings and thoughts.
MBCT can depressed people to live in the moment and stop wandering of the mind into thoughts about future or the past, and thus avoid unpleasant ideation that reinforces depression. MBCT is helpful in preventing recurrence of depression as it trains the mind to be aware of the thoughts, feelings and sensations it is experiencing and fix negative thinking patterns by returning back to the present moment. As a result you are able to deal with warning signs right in the early stages and counter them effectively.
Mindfulness is also useful in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder as I had discussed in Best Treatments For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I hope this blog post helps you in getting a good idea of the treatment options available to treat depression. If you would like to discuss your situation in particular contact our Clinical Psychologist in Sydney in full confidence.