Depression is a disorder in which a person has thoughts of extreme sadness, hopelessness, and/or despair, and these feelings usually interfere with daily life, such as working, eating, or sleeping. These symptoms must persist for at least two weeks to meet the diagnosis for depression. The causes of depression are varied and range from negative life events to biological factors. Depression can also come about simply from the way a person thinks.

So what are the treatments for depression? Well, if you watch TV at all, you have seen that we now have many different medications for depression. Of course, there's a pill for everything nowadays, and it is my opinion that we have become a ‘pill-popping' society. The truth about medications for depression, though, is that they will not make you happy. They will only make you less sad, and that's only for some people. For people suffering from extreme depression, such as those who are considering suicide, medication may be necessary to correct a hormonal imbalance in the brain. But for many others who are just trying to get through the day, medication may not be the best answer.

Psychotherapy offers a wide range of different types of therapy, from cognitive-behavioral (for those who may benefit from changing the way they think) to family therapy, for those people whose problems involve other people in their support system. There are many treatments that have been "empirically validated," which means they have been researched and found to work for certain populations. Another aspect of therapy that is highly overlooked these days is the therapeutic relationship. How many people simply need someone to talk to who will accept them as they are? A lot of people need this, especially depressed people. A licensed mental health care professional, such as a psychologist or counselor, can help people identify the problem areas in life and work towards repairing those areas.

One thing to remember if you are depressed is that you have options! You don't have to suffer through depression alone, and you don't have to take the pills a doctor throws at you either. The best thing to do is to find a competent professional who will work with you and let you know what options you have for dealing with depression. The same treatment doesn't work for everyone. A personalized plan of action for battling depression could really make the difference in your life. And remember, if one thing doesn't work, there are a lot of other options out there to try.

About the Author

John Call

John A. Call, Ph.D., J.D., A.B.P.P., is a forensic psychologist, an attorney, and president of Crisis Management Consultants, Inc.

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