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What Treatment Options Are Available for Depression?

An estimated 294 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Depression is a mental health condition that can negatively affect how you feel, think, and act. Depression can cause extreme sadness, fatigue, loss of interest in activities, and even thoughts of suicide. Depression can make it incredibly difficult to function normally. Although depression can certainly cause a lot of pain and hardship in a person’s life, with proper treatment most people see improvements in their symptoms and can get back to feeling like themselves and living fulfilling lives.

Depression can leave you feeling hopeless, but don’t lose hope. Even the most serious cases of depression can be treated. No treatment plan will look the same, because treatment is tailored to each person’s individual needs. At Jackson House, we offer treatment programs using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, medication management, and stress management.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavior therapy focuses on shaping your thoughts and actions. Psychological problems can be partially based on negative thoughts and unhelpful patterns of behavior. CBT helps individuals suffering from depression develop healthy coping mechanisms that can help relieve their symptoms.

CBT treatment uses the following strategies to help change thinking patterns and behaviors:

  • Learning to recognize how thoughts can be distorted and create problems that are not based on reality
  • Reevaluating distorted thoughts once recognized
  • Learning problems solving skills
  • Developing more confidence in your abilities
  • Facing fears head-on rather than avoiding them
  • Role-playing difficult situations to be prepared
  • Learning ways to relax and calm the mind

Negative patterns of thinking can impact your feelings of self-worth, which can lead to harmful and destructive behaviors. With CBT treatment, a therapist will work with you to identify what patterns of thinking may be negatively impacting your mental health and teach you ways to help cope and develop more positive thoughts.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy was created from cognitive behavior therapy and focuses on coping with stress, regulating emotions, being present in the moment, and improving interpersonal relationships. DBT can take place in an individual setting with a therapist, a group setting, or an online/over-the-phone coaching setting.

DBT uses the following strategies to increase mindfulness and destress tolerance:

  • Shifting your attention to the present
  • Coping techniques that help you slow down and pay attention to what’s happening inside of you
  • Crisis handling skills, such as distracting your mind, improving the moment, and self-soothing
  • Exercises like meditated breathing to increase mindfulness

DBT uses additional strategies to help regulate emotions and improve interpersonal relationships:

  • Expressing your own needs and becoming more assertive in relationships
  • Setting clear boundaries and learning when to say “no”
  • Communicating more effectively with others
  • Skills to handle difficult people and conversations
  • Learning to identify and change your emotions as they occur

Stages of DBT:

  1. The first stage of DBT addresses the most serious behaviors such as self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or any other self-destructive behaviors.
  2. The second stage focuses on improving one’s quality of life through learning how to regulate emotions and handle stress.
  3. The third stage focuses on improving self-esteem and interpersonal relationships.
  4. The final stage is focused on helping people get the most out of their lives and using all of the skills they have learned to pursue healthy relationships, and accomplish goals.

Medication Management

While psychotherapy (CBT & DBT) alone can relieve many symptoms of depression, some people find the combination of psychotherapy and medication to be the most effective. Using medication alongside psychotherapy has proven to have higher rates of improvement for those with severe and chronic cases of depression. Antidepressants can be very effective in treating symptoms of depression. They typically take several weeks to start improving symptoms but can help improve appetite, sleep, ability to concentrate, and overall mood.

Not all antidepressants work the same for each person, so it is common to have to try different medications before finding the one that works best for you. Antidepressants can come with some unfavorable side effects, so it is important to be closely monitored while taking a new medication and talk with your doctor about any side effects experienced. If you end up taking medicine, always be in communication with your doctor and don’t stop taking your medication abruptly without consulting your doctor first. Stopping the medication suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms that are unsafe. You want to follow all doctor recommendations and stop a medication slowly and safely if it is not the right fit for you.

Stress Management

Your mental health and physical health are very closely linked together. Many mental health symptoms can be relieved by taking care of your physical health. Getting enough exercise, eating a balanced diet, and receiving a healthy amount of sleep every night is super important for managing your stress and mental health. Stress management incorporates teaching habits that will help you develop a more healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally.

Some stress management techniques that may be introduced are:

  • Learning to take breaks to focus on mental health
  • Developing an exercise routine
  • Meal planning
  • Finding relaxing hobbies like gardening
  • Learning breathing exercises
  • Putting yourself under less pressure
  • Sharing responsibilities with others
  • Removing yourself from stressful situations
  • Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up

The best treatment plan for depression is the one that works. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, reach out for help right away so that you can end your suffering and get back to being yourself again. A doctor will help work with you to customize a treatment plan using a combination of the treatment options and strategies highlighted above. No matter what treatment plan works for you it will be important to stay consistent and lean on the people in your life that are the closest to you. Open up to your support system about seeking help and receiving treatment so that they can support you along your journey to a healthier you.

Psychotherapy, medication, and stress management are all proven ways to treat depression. Don’t let depression control your life. You can give us a call today at 888-255-9280 for a free consultation to help you figure out your next steps to improving your mental health.

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If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.