What kind of depression therapy is right for me?
Sadness is a common feeling and a common reaction to difficult times in life. However, depression therapy might be right for you if you experience the symptoms of depression for weeks and months at a time, or if your symptoms are interfering with your daily life and activities. Doctors refer to depression as “clinical depression” or “depressive disorder” and most people who have this condition need treatment under the care of a professional to feel better. It is important to note that depression is not a character flaw nor a sign of weakness. Many factors can play a role in depression, including both chemistry or brain biology and traumatic or stressful life events.
There are many signs and symptoms of depression. Sadness is only one of those symptoms, and not everyone with depression experiences sadness. If you suffer from any of the following signs and symptoms for more than two weeks, or if your symptoms are affecting your ability to complete day-to-day tasks, then you may want to speak with your doctor about depression therapy.
- You often feel sad, anxious, or “empty”.
- You are not excited about things, people, or activities that you used to enjoy.
- You experience feelings of hopelessness.
- You experience feelings of worthlessness or helplessness.
- Your energy has decreased and/or you are constantly fatigued.
- You have a difficulty concentrating on tasks and making decisions during the day.
- You have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up in the morning.
- You’ve experienced changes in your appetite or weight.
- You have thoughts of death or suicide.
- You often feel restless, jumpy, or irritable.
- There are other physical symptoms affecting your daily life.
If you are currently experiencing, or have experienced, any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, or if your symptoms are affecting your ability to complete day-to-day tasks, then you may want to speak with your doctor about depression therapy.
When you speak with your doctor, he or she may ask you questions about your symptoms because there are several types of depression, including:
- Major depression: Your symptoms are affecting your ability to enjoy life.
- Persistent depressive disorder: Your symptoms have lasted for at least 2 years.
- Psychotic depression: You are experiencing the symptoms of depression as well as the symptoms of psychosis (delusions or hallucinations).
- Postpartum depression: Hormonal and physical changes after giving birth led to postpartum depression that is different from normal “post baby blues”.
- Seasonal affective disorder: You experience the symptoms of depression during the winter months when there is a natural decrease in sunlight.
While there are many different types of depression, these types can often be treated with great results. Talk to your doctor or contact one of our professional therapists here at Cherry Hill Counseling about a treatment plan that may be right for you, as depression is often treated with medication, depression therapy, or a combination of both medication and therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common type of depression therapy that is often effective at identifying and managing the factors that contribute to depression. This type of treatment is a collaborative effort, where both a patient and a doctor work together to identify triggers and learn coping techniques.
While medication will not cure depression, it can be used to manage the symptoms of depression. Talk to your doctor about what type of medication might be right for you.
In addition to these forms of treatment, there are also natural treatments that may be used under the supervision of your doctor. Such treatments include:
- Regular meditation.
While sitting in a meditative state, do your best to focus only on the inhale and exhale of your breath.
- Daily or regular exercise.
Exercise is a powerful treatment for depression. There are many physical and mental benefits of exercise that make it an effective natural treatment. When getting started with exercise, pick a time that works for you, find accountability buddies and long-lasting motivation, start slow, and try various types of activities until you find one that you enjoy.
Other natural treatments for depression include eating regular meals, drinking plenty of water during the day, spending time with family, friends, and loved ones, and setting realistic expectations for mood to improve (gradually not overnight).
Note that some may respond to treatment immediately, while others may take weeks, months, or years to see full treatment benefits. Work with your doctor or professional counselor to find a treatment plan that works best for you.
- Anxiety Disorders. (March 2016). In National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-what-you-need-to-know/index.shtml.
- Anxiety Disorders. In National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml.
- Understand the Facts. In Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety.