Depression can be overwhelming, so choosing a method of treatment can feel challenging. Many people may not know where to turn, and others may feel uncomfortable expressing their desire for help. The most well-known option is meeting with a therapist, but one of the more unique options is going on a retreat.
Retreats can offer a different perspective about how to cope with depression, which can be very helpful; some individuals may benefit more from retreats than therapy. Here are the benefits of each of these treatment methods so you can decide which is best for you.
The Limits of Therapy
Many people seek help for depression through regular outpatient talk therapy sessions. Therapy is one of the most common treatments for many mental health disorders and can be highly effective in helping people treat their depression and improve their emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Therapy can often be the first step to treating depression, since it has an excellent success rate and is easy to fit into the modern lifestyle. It usually only requires a couple of hours a week, fitting into most busy schedules. There are many different types of therapy, including:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy focused on identifying and replacing unhelpful thought patterns and beliefs
Couples therapy, therapy focusing on the dynamics between romantic partners
Family systems therapy, with a focus on resolving conflicts between family members
Group therapy, where sessions are conducted in a group setting
When therapy is not enough, your doctor may recommend other options, such as medication or in-patient services. These can be more rigorous, time-consuming, or lifestyle-altering than outpatient therapy, but are effective for some people experiencing symptoms that require intensive care. Some symptoms that may go beyond the realms of talk therapy include:
Depression that is exacerbated by alcohol and substance use disorder
Depression experienced with eating disorders
Chronic sleep deprivation
Changes in medications
Psychosis or manic episodes
How Retreats Treat Depression
Many people seek out retreats if they find that traditional talk therapy does not alleviate all their symptoms. Retreats can be much more intensive than talk therapy, as they include full-day care and multi-day stays. While retreats are not particularly common, nor do they fit easily into the modern schedule, they can often provide stellar results and high success rates. Talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, is often a major component of depression retreats, alongside other, more holistic practices, such as exercise and meditation, with the goal of boosting energy and improving overall well being.
Since retreats are around-the-clock treatment settings, they can often lead to more concrete outcomes more quickly than weekly therapy. Retreats provide spaces for patients to engage with professionals in more in-depth ways than traditional therapy offers. Patients can also connect with others who may be going through similar struggles, an option that standard talk therapy may not provide. Many people who choose to attend a retreat enjoy the multiple interpersonal relationships they develop.
Should You Choose Therapy or Retreats?
Overall, the two treatments are similar in terms of success rates and the end goal of helping patients manage depression and prevent further mental health disorders. They are also similar in that they are both facilitated by licensed mental health professionals and include practices based in research that best help those struggling with mental health disorders such as depression.
Research on internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy suggests that online therapy can help individuals reduce depression symptoms and symptoms of other mental health issues, including but not limited to anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a traumatic event.
Online therapy can be a great option for coping with depression. Clients can talk with a licensed mental health provider to explore concerns about depression from the comfort of their own home. Studies have found that digital therapy yielded “meaningful improvements in depression and anxiety”.
Internet-based therapy also has several benefits for participants. It’s accessible for people living in remote areas, and it’s typically more affordable than in-person therapy, because clients are not required to travel for an appointment. For those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that is most pronounced in the winter months, online therapy can be especially helpful, because it allows patients to receive support without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
Online therapy through BetterHelp is a convenient and cost-effective option for those who need mental health support or want someone to talk to about what’s going on in their life. Click here to try BetterHelp, or read our reviews and FAQs to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following are common questions regarding depression:
What Is Considered Major Depression?
The DSM criteria for major depressive disorder or major depression asserts that at least five symptoms of depression must last for two weeks or more, affecting a person most of the day, daily. This would be considered a major depressive episode. How an episode of major depression can manifest may vary from person to person, but it may include symptoms such as:
A down, depressed, or low mood
Loss of interest in activities one would generally enjoy
Changes in appetite
Changes in sleep
Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness
Slowed body movements
Trouble focusing or concentrating
If you notice ongoing symptoms of depression in yourself, it’s important to talk with a mental health professional who can help. Although some say that depression is attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain, there are many different factors that can go into the development of a mood disorder, and experts say that this is an oversimplification.
It’s worth noting that it is common for people with depression to live with another additional mental health condition. For example, someone might also live with an anxiety disorder or a substance use disorder. If you or someone you know might be facing challenges related to the use of drugs, help is available. Please contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) if you or someone you know experiences concerns related to substance abuse.
If someone lives with more than one mental health condition, they may address both with the support of a professional such as a therapist.
Is Depression A Permanent Condition?
Although there is no one-size-fits-all method to heal from depression, there are many effective depression treatments that may help a person to manage conditions such as major depressive disorder. Some people may use the term “depression recovery” to talk about their mental health journey with clinical depression.
When someone says depression recovery, what that looks like could certainly vary from person to person. It is possible for individuals who have a diagnosis of a depressive disorder to go into remission from symptoms, which may be what some people are referring to when they say “depression recovery.” Therapy can help with many mental health issues, including depression.
Is Depression Considered A Mental Illness?
Depression is considered a mental health condition, disorder, or mental illness. Clinical depression is a leading disability in the United States, and major depression or major depressive disorder is one of the most frequently diagnosed mental health conditions in the United States, alongside anxiety disorders.
That said, there are a variety of options for depression treatment. Treatment options for depression include but aren’t limited to talk therapy, medication*, and alternative therapies or treatments. Even in these categories, there are many treatment options, some of which can be used together. For example, some forms of therapy may look to find the underlying causes or root cause of depression, whereas others may predominantly focus on the here and now.
*Make sure to consult with your doctor before you start, stop, or change medications and/or your medication routine.
Other tools, such as support groups and a healthy diet, can also be advantageous for those who live with depression. Factors such as social support and a self-care routine that involves sleep hygiene, physical activity, learning one’s stress triggers, and other practices or tools, such as mindfulness meditation, that a person might see fit, can help them care for their overall health. Self-care routines can vary from person to person, just like depression treatment itself can.
A depression retreat will often be an intensive program that allows someone to focus on healing while they’re away from daily life. Like a wellness retreat, the time someone’s away for a depression retreat may vary. However, wellness retreats aren’t usually geared toward depression recovery or addressing a mental health condition the way that depression retreats are. With this in mind, it’s important to look into the program at a depression retreat, or retreat centers for any other condition, thoroughly to assure that you or a loved one will be in good hands. Often, there will be reviews and testimonials for retreat centers from previous guests.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are three strategies for coping with depression?
What programs are there for depression?
How do most people cope with depression?
What is the fastest way to treat depression?
Is depression curable permanently?
What helps depression instead of medication?
What are the two solutions to depression?
What would be the best therapy for depression?
Can you fully treat depression?
How do people with depression survive?
How do I fight the feeling of depression?
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Is there a natural way to get rid of depression?
What happens if you don't treat depression?
What vitamins help with stress and depression?
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