Most doctors will prescribe antidepressant medications to help treat depression and anxiety. They are not a cure though.
These medications can treat some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety; however they have no effect on the underlying stressors contributing to your depression and anxiety.
Treating Depression and Anxiety with Psychotherapy
There are many different approaches to psychotherapy. Some therapists identify with a particular approach or orientation while others draw from a variety of different approaches.
Therapy is necessary when lifestyle changes are in order.
- There is research that proves that therapy can be just as effective at treating anxiety and depression as some medications. In fact, therapy can often help where medication cannot. Antidepressants only work as long as you are taking them. Once you have weaned yourself off of them, if no changes have been made to your lifestyle, then the stressors and other contributors remain.
- This can actually cause a relapse. Therapy offers coping mechanisms, emotional insights, and the skills required to change your lifestyle and get rid of the contributing stressors. Sometimes medication is necessary in severe cases of depression and anxiety. This will help boost your mood so you can gain the energy to seek out and focus on effective therapy.
- Therapy and medications are not the only forms of treatment available. Other effective routes include support groups, meditation, exercise, stress management, techniques for relaxation, and taking steps towards self-help. These types of treatment involve more effort than others, but their advantages usually outweigh any of the negatives. They can boost mood and energy levels just as effectively as medications in milder cases of depression and anxiety.
- Recovery from depression and anxiety starts with making positive choices in your daily lives. Eating healthy and exercising can have a huge effect. Research indicates that exercise helps people feel more in control, increases self-esteem, offers a distraction, improves overall health, helps cope with stress, and decreases the chance of sleeplessness. It is hard to get motivated to start exercising when you are depressed or anxious. However that is exactly what you need to do. Exercise can offer a more immediate relief to how you feel than any antidepressant medication.
- Depression often makes you feel like you have no energy to even get out of bed, let alone do exercise. By taking easy steps it is possible to add activity to your daily routine. Remember to keep it simple. Set your first goal of the day to get out of bed, get outside, and walk around the block. You would be surprised what a little sunshine can do for your mood. Then add a little more each day. Also, take it easy. Your body may not be used to physical activity and the last thing you want to do is overexert yourself and cause injury.
- Feel good about what you have accomplished, no matter how little. The best way to add some activity is by doing what you enjoy. If you like to do yoga, then do yoga. Do not force yourself to go to the gym if that is not enjoyable. This would defeat the whole purpose of exercising to feel better. Sometimes, exercising with a friend makes it easier. Just make sure it is someone who is supportive and encouraging, and someone whom you can talk to.
The best treatment is found by working in conjunction with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to help you monitor your depression and anxiety and make necessary recommendations.
They can also help you to work out the positive lifestyle changes needed to regain control over these illnesses.