Monday, June 28, 2010

Most Effective Treatment for Depression and Anxiety

Signs of depression or anxiety are often concerns that bring people to meet with a therapist.You may be having sleep difficulties, either getting to sleep initially, or waking up in the middle of the night,and not being able to get back to sleep, or sleeping more than is normal for you. Perhaps it is hard to concentrate at work or school.You may notice that you are not looking forward to anything or not enjoying life as much as you used to. Gaining or losing weight, or having difficulty relaxing, could also be indicators.

In the July,2010 issue of Consumer Reports there is an article with survey results of their readers who have sought professional help for depression or anxiety. Here is a summary of their survey results from consumers:

1.Talk therapy helps.Those people who did participate in at least 7 sessions had as much improvement as those who took medication.Those people who did both talk therapy and medication did even better.Almost always, talk therapy is a good place to start, and that therapist can refer you on for medication if you are not improving after a few weeks.

2.Cognitive behavioral therapy is the best treatment of depression, anxiety, and those who have a mix of the two. CBT teaches you to retrain your thoughts, identify thoughts that are making you feel worse, and develop healthier behaviors and automatic thoughts.

3.Type of therapist doesn't matter. In the Consumer Reports survey, different mental health licensures( MA,PhD,MSW)all received equal helpfulness ratings.The quality of your relationship with the therapist and their knowledge of cognitive therapy and other effective methods is more important.

4.Talk therapy is a good investment in yourself. It has no side effects, and teaches you longer-term strategies for managing stressors.Individuals who stuck with talk therapy for 7 or more sessions did signifcantly better than those who went 6 or less times.

5. Some medications are better than others.Each person can react differently to medication, and side effects can occur. If medication is needed, a doctor who can closely monitor your use of it is very important.

6. Be selective in finding a therapist to treat you or a loved one. Asking other trusted medical providers, friends or family for personal referrals usually gives a better result than cold calling a therapist from the phone book.

Children can also suffer fom depression and/or anxiety, it just presents differently.
Depression and anxiety both respond well to treatment, so there is no reason not to get professional guidance. Most of us wouldn't do our own car repairs, either. I see it as a sign of strength to know what your limits are, and seek help when you reach them. You are worth it.

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