Retreats For Depression Vs Therapy For Depression

By Jessica Anderson|Updated August 15, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC

People living with depression face more than feelings of sadness. Depression can be overwhelming in itself, so choosing a method of treatment can feel extremely challenging. Some individuals may not know where to turn, or some may feel uncomfortable expressing their desire for help. While roadblocks can prevent individuals from finding and seeking out help, there are many effective and easily accessible options for treating depression. The most well-known option is meeting with a therapist. 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, and some individuals may enjoy retreats more than therapy. In this article, we'll look into the benefits of each of these treatment methods – and several others – so you can decide what is best for you.

Wondering About The Difference In Therapy For Depression vs. Retreats?

The Basics: Therapy Versus Retreats

Many people seek depression help through weekly outpatient talk therapy sessions. Therapy is one of the most common treatments for many mental health disorders and can often work wonders in helping individuals treat their depression and improve their emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Therapy is often 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.

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 individuals 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 drug use
  • Depression caused by eating disorders
  • Chronic sleep deprivation
  • Changes in medications
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Psychotic or manic episodes

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7, or you can text the word “HOME” to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

Many people seek out retreats after traditional talk therapy does not alleviate all symptoms. Retreats are 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 often provide stellar results and high success rates. Since retreats are around-the-clock treatment settings, they can often lead to better outcomes faster than weekly therapy can. Retreats provide spaces for patients to engage with professionals in more ways than traditional therapy offers. Patients can also connect with others who may be going through similar struggles, an option that standard talk therapy does not provide. Many individuals who choose to attend a retreat enjoy the multiple interpersonal relationships they develop.

Overall, the two treatments are similar in terms of success rates and the end goal of helping patients beat 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. Although the two options differ in how they fit into typical lifestyles and the severity of mental illnesses they treat, both can help a person move forward into a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Online therapy

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, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder. 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 therapist reviews and FAQs to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

People often ask questions like:

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. What an episode of major depression looks like can 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
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness
  • Slowed body movements
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating

If you notice ongoing symptoms of depression in yourself, it is important to talk with a mental health professional who can help. Although some say that depression is attributed to a chemical imbalance, there are many different factors that can go into the development of a mood disorder, and experts say that this is an oversimplification. The good news is that there are ways to work toward depression recovery or symptom reduction.

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 concerns related to substance abuse or substance use disorder, 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 a substance use disorder or 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?

There’s no cure for depression. However, there are many effective depression treatments that can help a person 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.” Depression recovery for some could also look like symptom management due to behavioral health or mental health support. 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. The good news is that 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 look to find the underlying causes or root cause of depression, whereas others 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.

Brain stimulation treatments or electroshock therapy may be used for treatment resistant depression. 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. Similar to 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 or retreats for depression are. With this in mind, it is 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.

Wondering About The Difference In Therapy For Depression vs. Retreats?

Overall, there are many options for depression treatment. Some individuals like to work with doctors who take a holistic approach to depression symptoms, whereas others benefit most from another approach. What works for one person might not work for another, and it is not uncommon for individuals to require trial and error to find the best route for themselves as a unique person when it comes to depression treatment.

What Is The 3 3 3 Rule For Anxiety?

Like depressive disorders, anxiety disorders are common. People who live with depression experience anxiety disorders at a higher rate, and an individual may seek treatment and coping skills to address both depression and anxiety if this is the case. The “3 3 3 rule” is a grounding technique that individuals sometimes use for anxiety. To practice the 3 3 3 rule, name three things you see, three sounds you hear, and then, move three body parts - for example, your arms, toes, and legs.

Commonly Asked Questions On This Topic:

What treatment for depression is seen as a last resort option?
What programs are there for depression?
What help can I get for depression UK?
Why is mental health important?
Is there a shot you can take for depression?
Is some depression untreatable?
What is considered major depression?
Is depression a permanent condition?
Is depression considered a mental illness?
What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety?

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