How to Beat Depression Through Therapy in Charlotte
Depressive disorders are often misunderstood. These disorders, including major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and postpartum depression, aren’t simply low moods or feelings of helplessness. Instead, depressive disorders can leave individuals debilitated by an onslaught of psychological, social, and physical symptoms.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Sometimes, negative thoughts and feelings of sadness can make it difficult to function in work or school. For some individuals, clinical depression can disrupt their ability to carry out daily activities.
Fortunately, major depression is one of the most treatable mental disorders, with 80–90 percent of individuals responding well to treatment. Here’s how psychotherapy (talk therapy) can help you find relief from your depression symptoms and start living a productive, fulfilling life.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depending on the severity of your depressive disorder, your depression symptoms may range from mild to severe. Your psychotherapist may recommend different therapeutic approaches depending on the severity of your mental health condition. Along with talk therapy, your psychotherapist may also provide a referral to a psychiatrist for antidepressants, such as SSRIs or SNRIs, to complement your mental health treatment.
Some of the most common symptoms of depression include the following:
- Feelings of sadness or a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or loss of pleasure in activities
- Changes in appetite, which may lead to weight loss or weight gain
- Trouble sleeping (i.e., insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Increased irritability
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt
- Difficulty focusing, concentrating, or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression symptoms must last at least two weeks and represent a change in your previous level of functioning for a diagnosis of depression. In addition, medical conditions, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies, may mimic the symptoms of depression, so it’s essential to visit your health care provider regularly to rule out health problems.
Types of Therapy for Depression
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is often used alone to treat mild depression. Meanwhile, for individuals experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of depression, psychotherapy is often used in combination with antidepressant medications. Successful treatment plans may also include lifestyle changes, light therapy, brain stimulation therapy, social support, and mindfulness practices.
Some evidence-based treatment options for depression are described below.
Psychodynamic therapy is a type of therapy that involves examining an individual’s past to fix their present situation. During psychodynamic psychotherapy, your psychotherapist will help you navigate negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions that may be unaware of or have been repressed. In addition, your psychologist will help you bring subconscious elements of your mind into present awareness so you can face these problems.
Unlike CBT and IPT, which focus on your current situation, psychodynamic psychotherapy focuses on unearthing the past to change the present. In a meta-analysis of 54 studies, researchers found that short-term psychodynamic treatment for depression was as effective as other types of therapy. In addition, psychodynamic therapy for major depression showed better results in relieving the symptoms of anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for many mental health conditions, including depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse. CBT focuses on problem-solving in the present, which helps individuals with depression recognize negative thoughts. Through therapy sessions, individuals can learn to replace their problematic thoughts and behaviors with more positive ones.
In one study, researchers found that CBT was as effective as antidepressants in treating patients with depression. The same study found that patients who completed CBT therapy were less likely to experience a relapse of their depression symptoms after treatment than those who received only antidepressants. Moreover, multiple studies have found that CBT effectively treats patients of all ages—from adolescence to adulthood.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT) was first developed to help treat clinical depression in adults. IPT has also been used to treat other mental health disorders, including eating disorders and anxiety disorders in recent years.
Interpersonal therapy helps individuals with mild to moderate depression address their mental health challenges, form stronger interpersonal relationships, and improve interpersonal skills. During IPT therapy sessions, your psychotherapist will help you identify essential relationships in your life, pinpoint ways that these relationships affect your mental health, and develop skills to improve your relationships.
Research shows that IPT can help reduce the symptoms of depression. Combined with other types of therapy, such as CBT, IPT may be an even more effective treatment option.
Compassionate Mental Health Care in Charlotte
Whether you’re starting therapy for the first time or searching for a new psychologist, it’s important to find someone you feel comfortable with. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the relationship between you and your therapist, also known as the therapeutic relationship, can make all the difference in your recovery.
To find the right therapist, reach out to a mental health professional through The Therapy Group of Charlotte. We know that starting therapy can feel overwhelming—that’s why we’re here to help you every step of the way. One of our experienced, qualified mental health professionals will help you establish the right treatment plan, find healthy coping skills, and navigate your depression symptoms.