Let's Talk About Depression
What About Medications For Depression?
Most people suffer from “depression” from one time to another. However, the commercials on TV depict clinical depression, the most debilitating kind. These individuals either sleep all the time or can’t sleep at all. Frequently, they are unable to get out of bed. Clinical depression is more severe than “normal depression”, often characterized by suicidal thoughts and/or suicide attempts. For these people, there is no joy in life, just a deep, dark hole out of which they are unable to climb. Many of these individuals need life-long assistance of psychotropic medication and talk therapy to help them get back on track.
However, in my opinion, long term use of medications for the treatment of less severe depression is not recommended. Medications should only be used to help the individual get to feeling better. Then they are able to think more clearly to solve the problems they are depressed about in the first place.
Additionally, there are often side effects which create more problems, such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, with no change in the impact of depression. For some medications, one of the side effects is suicidal thoughts. If you are on an antidepressant, check out the side effects of the drug you are taking. The solution to these side effects seems to be ‘trying’ other medications. Inherent in shifting from one med to another is the issue of mood shifts that come with getting on/off the medications. These are powerful drugs. Often, it can be very difficult to find an anti-depressant that actually relieves the depression.
If you are on medication, DON’T STOP. These decisions about your meds need to be made taking all aspects of your situation into account with consultation of your physician.
NEVER STOP A PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATION WITHOUT THE ADVICE
AND ASSISTANCE OF A MEDICAL DOCTOR OR PHYSICIAN.
Usually, these drugs should be slowly weaned off in a very prescribed manner under medical attention.
What About Talk Therapy For Depression?
As you can see, my approach to depression does not usually involve medication, unless the client cannot function or feels that leaving this world is the best option. In that case, I recommend a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who is an expert on psychotropic medication treatment.
In my professional opinion and experience, counseling or talk therapy is frequently the best first treatment option. Here’s a frequent scenario: A person is depressed. They take the appropriate medications prescribed by a physician and that’s all they do. The medications worked and this person does not feel depressed anymore. Great. They feel better and relieved. That’s what they were looking for.
So What’s The Problem?
The problem is that once this person gets off the medication, they are depressed again because you never addressed what was causing the depression in the first place.
Medications do not cure depression. Medication at best can only treat the symptoms of depression.
I do realize that taking a pill is much easier that doing therapy or counseling. We are told that there is no problem with being on the medication forever because you have a chemical imbalance. For a small percentage of the population, this is true. Question is: are you one of them? When I’m depressed, I’m definitely imbalanced but which came first? Did the chemical imbalance cause the depression or did the depression cause the chemical imbalance? Each approach has a different opinion with different options.
I am not a medical doctor. I am not dispensing medical advice. I am speaking from 35+ years of experience dealing with clients suffering depression, from severe to occasional bouts with “the blues.”
Depressed People Have Good Reasons To Be Depressed
I have never seen a client who didn’t have a good reason to be ‘depressed.’ Once their reasons were addressed and resolved (whether it took 3 sessions or 20), the depression lifted. From a family therapy perspective, looking at depression and treating depression is very different from the medical model: What was going on your family at the onset of the depression or 6 months before? What life stage are you dealing with? What losses have you suffered? What current trauma (Big T or little t) or earlier trauma is prevalent? These are examples of issues to be assessed in therapy.
From a trauma/stress perspective, we would explore thinking pathways that could be addressed in therapy. Early childhood issues are affecting and will continue to affect an individual’s reaction to a seemingly minor event. Do you break out in a sweat when giving a presentation before a group? Do you have a phobia for spiders? Does a dark alley freak you out? Emotional Freedom Techniques could be an great treatment option to explore with me?
Hypnosis is another excellent way of amending thought patterns. The subconscious can be accessed to resolve troublesome or painful thinking patterns. Hypnosis is a good alternative to resolving painful and problematic issues.
When you come to see me,
I will take a history that will examine potential problems to be addressed in your therapy. This usually takes 20-30 minutes.
The rest of your first session will be therapy, addressing what you want to address. It will be your decision each session to determine what you want to work on.
I will work with you to determine which treatment modality will be most beneficial to you- maybe one or maybe all.
You will work through your issues at a pace that is comfortable to you. We deal with your concerns in a manner that is therapeutic, with a pace that you feel good about.
I urge you to get help with depression before it becomes your new normal. If that happens, a person can become so familiar with being depressed that they adapt to it, accept it and give up on feeling better. There are much better ways to live than that.
Call me, Sandy, and let's get to work for you sustained relief from depression: 803-787-3130