Non-Drug Treatment for Depression

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More than 25 million adults are affected with depression, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The most common treatments people undergo for depression are prescription medications called antidepressants and non-drug treatments called psychotherapy, or “talk therapy.”

A recent study, published in the medical journal PLOS Medicine, has found that all seven forms of psychotherapy have been shown to help people with depression in one way or another.

Types of Talk Therapy

Psychotherapy is a non-drug approach to the treatment of depression. Following are the seven different types of approaches:

  • Behavioral Activation raises awareness of pleasant activities and increases positive interactions between the patient suffering from depression and his or her overall environment.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on turning negative beliefs into positive behaviors in order to change a person’s overall outlook on future behavior.
  • Interpersonal therapy uses a manual to focus on interpersonal issues in short but highly structured sessions.
  • Problem Solving Therapy aims to define the problems a patient is facing and offer solutions to the problems.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy focuses on past unsolved conflicts and the impact they have on the patient's current frame of mind.
  • Social Skills Therapy teaches skills that help build and maintain healthy relationships that are based on honesty and respect.
  • Supportive Counseling aims to get patients to talk about their emotions and offers empathy without suggesting solutions or teaching new skills.

Key Takeaway

When undergoing treatment for depression, it is important to discuss with your healthcare practitioner the role of non-drug treatments such as psychotherapy. For some, depression can be treated with just psychotherapy. For others, a combination of psychotherapy and medication may be the best approach. It is important to know that treatment should be individualized.

Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness and PLOS Medicine


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