Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
It is usually advisable to get a general check-up by your medical doctor to rule out any health issues, like thyroid problems, that may be contributing to a depressive episode. For some people, medication may be prescribed by their physician or by a psychiatrist. The most frequently recommended form of treatment is medication, talk therapy, or a combination of the two. Increasingly, research suggests these treatments may normalize brain changes associated with depression.
Psychotherapy or “talk therapy,” is sometimes used alone for treatment of mild depression; for moderate to severe depression, psychotherapy is often used in along with antidepressant medications. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) have been found to be effective in treating depression. CBT is a form of therapy focused on the present and problem solving. CBT helps a person to recognize distorted thinking and then change behaviors and thinking. DBT has components of mindfulness and validation of a person’s strengths during treatment. Skills are learned during sessions and rehearsed during the week to strengthen the new behaviors.
When treating teens and children forms of integrated CBT and DBT Play Therapy can be most effective. Through non-verbal expression, many of the areas of therapy can be addressed in a way that is more developmentally appropriate and effective for younger people. The use of play and art is often a means to communicate feelings and issues. The parent is still considered the support person for the child and is also engaged in the therapy process, to assist in supporting and reinforcing the objectives of therapy at home.
Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment can take a few weeks or much longer. In many cases, significant improvement can be made in 10 to 20 sessions.
There are a number of things people can do to help reduce the symptoms of depression. For many people, regular exercise helps create positive feelings and improve mood. Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol can also help reduce symptoms of depression. Engaging in a positive self-care routine is very important and can include engaging in sports, hobbies, art, being out in nature and having a pet.