When Counseling For Depression Is Necessary
Everyone may feel sad at times, whether because of a romantic or professional setback or for no apparent reason. Feeling sad can be normal, as it is a human emotion that may be alleviated through depression self help or counseling.
Clinical depression is a diagnosable mental health condition that often requires treatment to be managed. If you're experiencing symptoms of depression, knowing when to ask for support can be valuable in reducing the severity of your symptoms.
If you feel depressed for at least two weeks, discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider. They may support you in finding a therapist or specialist. There's often no risk in reaching out for support. If you start feeling better once you find a counselor, you can choose not to see the therapist any longer. Online counseling for depression is an option if you want to utilize it.
What Is Depression?
Depression is not an emotional state; it is a mental health condition that affects the mind and body and impacts over 280 million people worldwide.
- Persistent sadness
- Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or low self-esteem
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Intense boredom
- Physical pain or inflammation
- Suicidal thoughts*
If you relate to the above symptoms, seeking mental health treatment may be rewarding. Treatment for depression could prevent symptoms from worsening and shorten the period that you experience depression.
At times, depression may result from an adverse event, a significant life change, or a build-up of stress. Other times, the reason may not be apparent. The tendency toward major depression is biological, and a person with depression does not have control of the chemicals in their brain contributing to their diagnosis. Depression can also physically change the brain.
When you are depressed, it may feel challenging to maintain your previous levels of functioning. If you have noticed difficulty functioning due to how you feel, consider seeking treatment. Thoughts of suicide are one of the severe depression symptoms. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself, seek professional help immediately.
*If you are experiencing thoughts or urges of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 988 to talk to someone over SMS. They are available 24/7 to offer support.
Substance Use And Depression
Depression may lead to substance use in some cases. Individuals may utilize substances like alcohol to attempt to self-medicate symptoms of their condition. The American Psychiatric Association says that "the identification of two distinct disorders that are present in the same person at the same time, for example, the coexistence of depression and a substance dependence disorder," is a dual diagnosis.
You can find more information on substance use on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website. You can also learn more about the connection between substance use and mental health conditions on the National Alliance of Mental Health website.
If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources.
Medication For Depression
How to stop being depressed? There are several types of medications that may be prescribed to treat symptoms of depression. One class of medications is called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs work by preventing your body from reabsorbing a chemical messenger called serotonin before the brain has a chance to use it. SSRIs may allow your body to use its naturally occurring serotonin. Further, by acting on specific serotonin reuptake points, this newer class of antidepressants may have fewer and milder side effects than older antidepressants.
Medication can be a valuable tool in treating depression when used alongside therapy. However, no medication may prevent depression from reoccurring, and medication may stop being effective with time. If you are taking medication, follow your prescriber's instructions. Do not stop, change, or start a medication without medical permission and counsel.
Medications for depression require a prescription. To get a prescription for an antidepressant, you may need a diagnosis of depression or a related condition by a doctor. This doctor may be your primary care provider (PCP) or a psychiatrist. Please consult your doctor or primary care physician before considering any medication options.
Talk Therapy For Depression
Counseling by a qualified therapist could be an effective treatment for depression. Studies show that standard therapy methods like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are effective in treating symptoms. If you see a therapist to discuss depression, you may be asked about the following:
- Potential causes for your symptoms or past stressful events
- Depressive thought patterns
- Areas of your life that have helped you manage depression
- Coping skills you currently use
- Methods to deal with behaviors that have been unhealthy for you
- Your support system
- Depression warning signs
Depression may affect a person's ability to solve problems. It can impact concentration, make it difficult to see problems realistically, lower energy levels, and feel so overwhelming that other aspects of life are often ignored. Working with a counselor may help you learn problem-solving techniques on how to deal with depression.
Combined Approach To Treatment
People dealing with depression may utilize counseling and medication options simultaneously. Antidepressants can change your brain chemistry and make you feel more receptive to talk therapy. If you feel calm or happier, your therapist may be able to help you start to make lifestyle changes that you can implement in the future.
Other Tools To Treat Depression
With lifestyle changes, depression symptoms may lessen for some individuals. Mindfulness practices such as yoga, meditation, and breathing work may reduce stress and improve mood and concentration. Setting healthy boundaries with people in your life may also be helpful.
If you can, establish a regular sleep schedule and spend time outdoors, as sunlight provides vitamin D, an essential nutrient for your brain. Additionally, consider joining a volunteer organization, as helping others can positively influence how we feel about ourselves. While beginning a new habit might not seem easy, setting minor goals at first may feel more manageable.
Find Counseling For Depression
If you are diagnosed with depression, your primary care provider may help you find a therapist in your area. Without a diagnosis or insurance plan, you might still find support from a therapist, but your plan may not cover therapy in your area. Often, online therapy is more affordable and convenient than in-person therapy. If you are struggling with depression, it may be helpful to seek online help for depression, such as therapy sessions or support groups that can be accessed from the comfort of your own home.
Online therapy has also been proven to be slightly more effective than face-to-face therapy. A literature review of 17 studies on the effectiveness of online cognitive-behavioral therapy or e-CBT, when contrasted with traditional therapy, found that e-CBT more effectively reduced the symptoms of depression. It was also noted that e-CBT could be less expensive than face-to-face therapy.
If you're interested in trying an online treatment modality, consider signing up for a platform like BetterHelp to get matched with a licensed therapist that meets your needs. You can meet with your therapist anywhere you have an internet connection and at a time that fits your schedule.
"Dr. C has been incredibly helpful for me, and has been a crucial part in the personal journey I have been on this last year. I highly recommend her for anyone else struggling with depression or generally trying to make healthier choices in life, she has been a great guidance for me."
"Diane has been a huge help for me in overcoming my anxiety and depression. She is understanding and offers a variety of ways to improve my perceptions, and how to work through my problems in real life. I can't recommend her enough!"
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are a few frequently asked questions on the topic of depression.
How Do You Know If You Need Depression Counseling?
If you are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, feeling unmotivated, isolation from friends and family, changes in appetite, or significant mood changes, you may benefit from online counseling for depression. Finding a suitable provider might take time. However, it is possible. If symptoms of depression are affecting your quality of life, reaching out for support could be beneficial.
What Happens In Depression Counseling?
In depression counseling, you may discuss your symptoms and learn coping strategies. Though it may take time and trial and error, treatment for depression has been effective for many patients. Try to be patient with yourself and the therapeutic process.
In depression counseling, you might work through hopelessness and learn coping skills. Some professionals specialize in depression or have experienced it themselves. Depression is a highly treatable condition.
When Does Depression Become Severe?
Depression may become severe when it affects your daily life. If depression makes it difficult to hold a job, maintain relationships with loved ones, bathe, eat, and take care of yourself, or if you're experiencing suicidal ideation, seek help.
How Can Medication Help With Depression?
Medication may help you get to a place where you feel comfortable talking about and learning to cope with your symptoms. It could help you prevent future depressive episodes and improve your overall quality of life. Talk to a psychiatrist about a medication plan tailored to you if you think medication may help.
What Kinds Of Mental Health Professionals Can Help With Depression?
Any licensed mental health counselor or therapist experienced in treating depression and depressive disorders may help you manage your depression.
How do counselors help people with depression?
What therapy should be used for depression?
What are three strategies for coping with depression?
What would be the best therapy to help with depression and why?
What can you advise a depressed person?
What is the best way to help someone who is depressed?
What is the most effective way to deal with depression?
What are the two solutions to depression?
What is the first treatment of choice for depression?
How can we prevent or treat depression?
The most effective depression treatment and prevention is by getting the right treatment for you. There are many options available, including psychotherapy and medication.
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