One of the most common mood disorders, clinical depression — also known as major depressive disorder (MDD) or just depression — can cause severe symptoms and impact your life.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options to help you get better. You’re sure to find the right solution, from Therapy to medication and self-help.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a psychotherapy that focuses on improving interpersonal relationships to treat depression. Its basic premise is that a person’s mood symptoms and life situations are related. Therefore, if they improve problematic interpersonal relationships or circumstances directly associated with the current depressive episode, mood symptoms may reduce spontaneously.
The first phase of IPT involves a thorough review of the patient’s significant relationships, including details on how these relationships are currently functioning and how they are linked to depression. This early assessment helps therapists orient patients to the interpersonal perspective of IPT and to prioritize specific problem areas for further attention.
Once the problem area is identified, the therapist will work with the client to resolve it so that it doesn’t worsen their depressive symptoms. This might involve using various techniques, including communication training and problem-solving approaches.
In addition to helping patients improve their interpersonal skills, IPT can also help prevent the onset of future depressive episodes. It is recommended that patients supplement IPT with ongoing maintenance sessions, which are once-monthly and aimed at reinforcing the changes made in the initial short-term treatment.
In this way, IPT can effectively treat many types of depression, focusing on improving the relationships fueling their condition. It can also be helpful for couples who are struggling with issues in their marriage.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a form of psychotherapy that modifies your thought patterns to help you change your behavior and mood. It’s one of the most well-studied forms of therapy for depression and other mental disorders, including anxiety, insomnia, and substance use disorder.
Developed in the 1960s by psychiatrist Aaron Beck, cognitive behavioral Therapy is based on the theory that negative thoughts contribute to emotional problems. It focuses on challenging distorted beliefs and negative thoughts to improve your moods.
You and your therapist work together to identify the negative thoughts that trigger your depression and replace them with more positive ones. The therapist will also guide you to practice new coping skills and ways to avoid situations that may cause your symptoms to resurface.
Your therapist can also help you develop new ways to interact with others. Studies have shown that people with depression tend to be less socially engaged, and CBT can help you rehabilitate your relationships.
In addition, research shows that cognitive behavioral Therapy can help you prevent depression relapse. A recent study found that nearly half of the patients with depression who received both CBT and antidepressants had a decreased risk of relapse.
To find a therapist who practices cognitive behavioral therapy, ask your doctor, family members or friends for referrals or do an online search. Look for a licensed therapist with specific training in the condition you’re experiencing. Most therapists’ websites will list their areas of expertise, as well as any conditions they treat.
Psychodynamic Therapy is a practical approach to treating depression that can help you discover underlying issues causing you to suffer. It can also help you improve your coping skills and make better choices about how you respond to challenges in your life.
This type of talk therapy often involves a patient and their therapist probing into the past, using techniques like visualization and dream work to uncover subconscious emotions and memories. The therapist may also ask questions about the client’s relationships to get a clearer picture of how they interact with others and what those relationships mean to them.
During the sessions, clients are encouraged to say everything that comes to mind. This is important because, sometimes, a seemingly random thought can lead to a deeper understanding of something.
One of the critical goals of psychodynamic Therapy is to “make the unconscious conscious,” explains Dr. Reidbord, a psychodynamic therapist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has studied this approach for more than 20 years.
The therapist will encourage the client to express their feelings, fears, dreams, and desires freely without judgment or criticism. This can lead to increased self-worth and a better capacity for developing and maintaining satisfying relationships.
It can be effective for various conditions, including anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and addictions. It can benefit those with complex or severe problems that have not responded to other treatments, such as medication.
Self-help books can be a helpful tool in treating depression, although they should not be used instead of Therapy or medication. These books should be sourced from a mental health expert or licensed medical professional who has been trained and experienced working with a wide range of people and can bring evidence-based techniques to the general public.
Some of the best books for depression offer straightforward, easy-to-follow advice and are based on scientific research. These are more empowering and effective than cliched pep talks and ‘feel-good’ advice without substance.
Authors can usually draw on their own experiences and philosophies, which can be enlightening, but the most vital advice is often backed up with scientific evidence. This can include information from credible clinical trials and neuroscientific research.
Mental health experts pen the best self-help books with the training and experience to bring evidence-based techniques to the general population. These authors are also likely to be highly motivated and invested in depression.
These authors can use a variety of approaches to treat the symptoms of depression, including behavioral interventions such as CBT. However, there are currently no randomized trials of these books in primary care, and there is a need for more evidence to support their use in a health service setting.