Do You Need Antidepressants to Treat Depression?

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders. Even though thousands of people have this problem, that doesn’t mean that all of them receive the necessary help. When left untreated, depression can have a significant negative impact on all areas of your life. The most common symptoms of this disorder are an overwhelming feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities and experiences that used to bring joy, and feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness.

At the same time, it’s important to understand the difference between regular sadness and depression. Usually, people get diagnosed with depression if the symptoms listed above last for at least two weeks and interfere with a person’s everyday life, influencing their emotional reactions, behavior, ability to focus, and relationships.

According to statistics, depression affects at least 280 million people worldwide. This number, however, only reflects the number of people who got diagnosed with this disorder. Unfortunately, even more people never get the correct diagnosis and don’t receive appropriate treatment.

Many people hesitate to talk about their mental health because this subject is still widely stigmatized. Some people may not want to acknowledge their problem because of the fear of being perceived as insane, while others might feel uncomfortable when discussing personal matters with mental health professionals. As a result, too many people with depression don’t get the so-needed help, and their symptoms become more severe.

Another common problem associated with depression treatment is that not all people understand what proper self-care looks like. The use of antidepressants is on the rise, and many people think that they can solve their problems by just taking the right pill. The truth is that every case is unique, and overcoming this disorder without addressing the underlying causes may not always be impossible.

So how can you treat depression and do you need antidepressants to do it? Let’s answer these questions.

How to treat depression

First and foremost, there are different types of depression. When talking about depression, people usually use this term as an umbrella term that includes major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, and even depressive stages of bipolar disorder. Given that the same symptoms can be caused by completely different disorders, there is no single universal solution to all kinds of depression.

Although antidepressants are one of the most common kinds of depression treatment, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no pill that would work well in each and every situation. Antidepressants can change your hormonal balance, which makes them very helpful when hormonal problems are the case. However, depression may also develop for many other reasons, and simply taking a pill may not help you get rid of intrusive thoughts or their emotional causes.

Besides, antidepressants often have many negative side effects, and the symptoms may sometimes come back after you stop taking them. Fortunately, medications are not the only way to treat depression. Talk therapy has proven to be effective when dealing with many kinds of mental health disorders, including all kinds of depression, anxiety disorders, self-esteem issues, etc.

Depression counseling allows you to identify the underlying causes of your symptoms and learn to manage your negative thinking patterns so that you can ultimately replace them. It can also help you bring feelings and experiences suppressed in your subconscious back to the conscious so that you can reflect on them and stop them from influencing your behavior and emotions.

These two possible functions of therapy, however, illustrate two completely different therapeutic modalities. So, let’s take a closer look at the common types of therapy and figure out how they work.

Types of depression therapy

Different symptoms require different kinds of treatment. We’ve already mentioned that there are different types of depression, and the severity of the disorder may also impact the treatment process. As a result, therapists choose different therapeutic modalities.  Here are some of the most common types of depression therapy.

Psychodynamic therapy

This type of therapy is rooted in Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and is also called insight-oriented therapy because the treatment process has a lot to do with processing your memories and reflecting on your experiences. This kind of therapy can help you understand the connections between your past experiences and the emotions that you are feeling now. Psychodynamic therapy usually takes a little more time than other modalities, but it can help you improve your emotional well-being in general, rather than fix a single specific problem.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Many mental health disorders, including depression, may stem from our automatic thoughts. Negative thoughts can be difficult to control, and they may have a direct impact on your emotional reactions and behavior. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is to identify the unhelpful thinking patterns that fuel your depression.

With help from a therapist, you can learn to challenge your negative thinking patterns and ultimately replace them with helpful ones. While CBT relies heavily on the conversations between a client and a therapist, it also involves some kinds of homework and exercises. For example, a therapist may ask you to complete worksheets or to start a mood journal.

Dialectical behavioral therapy

This therapeutic modality has a lot in common with CBT but it’s often used in situations where CBT doesn’t provide the desired results. This kind of therapy relies on mindfulness and awareness. It can be very helpful when dealing with particularly strong emotions so it’s often used when treating severe depression. Unlike CBT, DBT focuses not only on change but also acceptance.

Interpersonal therapy

Interpersonal therapy is usually used when helping clients overcome problems associated with relationships and communication. This kind of therapy can help you develop your social skills, increase your self-esteem, and help cultivate a sense of connectedness.

How to get started with therapy

Traditional therapy has always required clients to be present in a therapist’s office. If you have a busy work schedule, commuting to a therapist can be a problem. Fortunately, online therapy platforms like Calmerry offer another option. No matter where you are, you can exchange messages with your therapist or schedule online video sessions.

All you have to do is create an account and complete a brief questionnaire. After this, the platform will match you with a licensed mental health professional from your state. Depression can be treated, and everything starts with the right diagnosis. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

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