Learn about Different Types of Depression Therapy

Learn about Different Types of Depression Therapy

Whether for a first depressive episode, a recent tragedy that has triggered a relapse, or a more persistent depression, many individuals are interested in learning more about the different types of depression therapy and which ones are the best fit for them. We can’t recommend a therapy for individuals. That’s what doctors and mental health professionals are for, but we can provide information about popular therapies and how they work to reduce the symptoms of depression.

Antidepressants vs Placebos

More formally known as pharmacotherapy, antidepressants are one of the most common treatments for depression. Most of these medications are believed to work by increasing the active level of neurotransmitters in the brain by inhibiting the absorption or reuptake of these neurotransmitters. These medications are generally classified by the neurotransmitter they act on: serotonin, norepinephrine, monoamine, and/or dopamine. That said, it is not well understood how this mechanism helps alleviate the symptoms of depression. There is even a substantial segment of the scientific community which believes that this depression therapy works mostly, or entirely, through placebo effects. It could be that perceivable changes in the brain and the drugs’ side effects enhance the client’s expectation of improvement and explain why some studies show antidepressants have a slightly larger treatment effect for antidepressants than placebos.

Moreover, in about half of cases, placebos have a therapeutic effect on depression without the side effects of antidepressants. Some studies suggest that, for mild and moderate cases of depression, there is no difference in effect size between antidepressants and placebos.

Talk and Cognitive Therapies

This type of depression therapy is attempting to break a pattern of thinking that may be contributing to the depressed mood and other symptoms. In cases where there is a precipitating event that triggered the depression, talk therapy often involves grief counseling or other counseling relevant to the specific stressor. Cognitive-behavioral therapy may also involve pointing out thoughts that are inconsistent, exaggerated, or distorted.

While talk therapy sessions may involve a sudden break-through, the repeated recognition of these maladaptive thought patterns may be even more important. Yet, by learning effective strategies for monitoring one’s own thoughts, these thinking patterns can be broken more effectively and on a more consistent basis.

Physical and Behavioral Therapies

It’s telling that certain physical signs may also be symptoms of depression. A change in appetite, weight, or sleep patterns are some of the most common symptoms. But so, too, are headaches, body fatigue, and stomach pain. By making behavioral changes or engaging in physical therapy, these physical symptoms can be alleviated, and the individual’s mood is often—though not always—lifted. This might include exercise, a change in posture, or other physical activity designed for this treatment purpose. Alternately, behavioral therapy might also include non-physical activities such as social interaction, interpersonal communication, and other actions that might have therapeutic value.

Just because exercise or posture can lead to improvement in depressed individuals doesn’t mean that individual suddenly has an “easy fix” for depression. Meeting with a mental health professional can improve the effects of these behavioral changes and reinforce a motivational attitude toward these therapeutic behaviors.

Neurological Therapies

These include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). These neurological depression therapies are typically only recommended for individuals with severe, persistent depression and who do not respond to other depression therapies. These treatments are usually effective but also temporary (around 6 months on average). They carry a cost, too, as individuals frequently experience some level of memory loss as a side effect. The big advantage of ECT is that its effectiveness and side effects are more established. The big advantage of TMS is that it’s perceived as less invasive and can be completed in an outpatient setting.

Inpatient Treatment and Residential Therapy Programs

For individuals who experience severe and acute depression symptoms especially suicide ideation, these depression therapy programs are designed to prevent individuals from harming themselves or others, while sustained depression treatment is provided. Both these intensive treatment programs involve some number of overnight stays. Basic inpatient treatment usually involves a few days of observation and treatment in a hospital setting. You can find a list of medical centers in Utah with a behavioral health unit.  hospital with a behavioral health center. Residential programs usually involve longer stays and a more involved treatment schedule.

Depression Therapy and Guided Treatment

Keep in mind that a depression therapy is often combined with other therapies in a personalized treatment plan. Rather than a hodge-podge approach, the best outcomes generally result from guided treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular approaches and seeks to rapidly leverage and integrate the benefits of both cognitive and behavior therapies. No matter what therapy is right for you, don’t wait to get help from a mental health provider for a serious case of depression.

Marcus Pickett

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