How to Treat Depression Without Medication


For some people diagnosed with depression, prescription medications may not help. Instead, treatment with psychotherapy, also commonly referred to as "talk therapy," may be the most effective way to treat the symptoms of depression.

It’s important for depression sufferers to understand that they should work closely with their healthcare provider to explore whether treating depression without medication may work for them on an individual basis.

Types of Psychotherapy

There are seven forms of psychotherapy which have been shown to help patients with depression in one way or another, according to the results of a study published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

  1. Behavioral Activation: Raises awareness of pleasant activities and increases positive interactions between the environment and the depression sufferer.
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Focuses on turning negative beliefs into positive behaviors to change an overall outlook on future behavior.
  3. Interpersonal therapy: Uses a manual to focus on interpersonal issues in highly structured, short sessions.
  4. Problem Solving Therapy: Aims to define the problems a person with depression is facing and offer solutions to the problems.
  5. Psychodynamic Therapy: Focuses on past unsolved conflicts and the impact they have on the current frame of mind of the depression sufferer.
  6. Social Skills Therapy: Teaches skills that help build and maintain healthy relationships that are based on honesty and respect.
  7. Supportive Counseling: Aims to get patients with depression to talk about their emotions and offers empathy without suggesting solutions or teaching new skills.

Interestingly, the study found that there was no difference between any of the forms of psychotherapy in treating people with depression, meaning that one did not prove to be better than any of the others. However, the study did find that psychotherapy was better than deferral of treatment.

The study showed the results of a network meta-analysis of 198 studies that included more than 15,110 patients, which focused on various psychotherapy treatments for depression.

Source: PLOS Medicine


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