Depression is a mental disorder that costs the heath system, economy, but above all the person suffering with this medical condition. Prolonged feelings of sadness and hopelessness may seem—to the person suffering—to be limited to subjective experience, but as it turns out, this mental health disorder which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), affects 1 out of 20 American adults over age 12. Moreover, depression also costs the economy, too. It’s been estimated that “the economic burden of depression, including workplace costs, direct costs and suicide- related costs, was estimated to be $210.5 billion in 2010.”
So, one question that may arise is: Where does depression end and you begin? In other words, what are the tools and techniques that someone can learn to separate normal feelings and inner sensations from ones that can be regarded as clinical depression?
There are many approaches to dealing with depression, but many of them can be grouped into several key categories. An individual that feels depressed may want to consider several options for treatment.
Working with a therapist in a one-on-one or group setting has been shown to be beneficial. In particular, therapeutic schools of thought such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have decades of research showing their effectiveness in treating major depressive disorders. Therapy may seem initially daunting, so choose to work with someone who is qualified and experienced.
This type of intervention—medications—has also shown effectiveness. There are many different types of specific medications and classes of medications that prescribers may use. According to research, the most effective treatment modality for depression is a combination of both talk therapy and medication. One noteable difference is that talk therapy carries with it a much less greater risk for negative side effects. But it remains important to note that when dealing with depression, a treatment that works for one person may not necessarily be as effective for another person. Future medicines may be geared to a person’s specific genetic makeup, but these types of treatments are still in their infancy. Be sure to check with a qualified prescriber before trying any new medications.
This category encompasses a long and growing list of interventions. Treatments that are not scientifically tested must be met with skepticism, but other treatments such as Bibliotherapy, as advocated by David D. Burns, M.D., in his book, “Feeling Good,” which focuses on reading as a type of intervention as well as other therapies such as pet therapy remain fairly mainstream and may produce positive outcomes.
At present, it appears that severity and length of time that an individual feels depressed may remain key factors of how they may be treated. It is important to point out that what may work for one person may not work for everyone, so be sure to seek professional guidance when choosing your treatment for depression. Finally, if you are feeling depressed, remember: Depressed thoughts do not own you. Although there are many negative side effects from feeling depressed, the positive side is that there is help available—so please be sure to make use of it.
You don’t need to suffer in silence.