Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness and hopelessness, issues eating and sleeping, trouble concentrating, thoughts of suicide, and fatigue. Therapists help their clients cope with depression by teaching them relaxation techniques, ways to handle stress, the importance of healthy habits and how their thinking influences their depression. If you struggle with depression, you can learn self-help strategies to treat your depression in addition to receiving professional help.
If you suffer from severe depression and experience suicidal thoughts, your therapist might suggest medication as the first treatment strategy. The most common types of medication used to treat depression are antidepressants such as Prozac, Celexa and Zoloft. Work with a doctor or psychiatrist to find the right medication for you. Each person responds differently to medications, so you might have to try different levels of dosages and different combinations of medications before you find the most effective medication with the least side effects.
Combating Negative Thoughts
In cognitive behavioral therapy, the most common type of therapy used to treat depression according to the Mayo Clinic, a therapist helps a client learn how her thoughts affect her feelings of depression and behaviors. For example, if you have thoughts such as, “There’s no hope for the future,” and “I’ll never have a job that I’m happy with,” then you’ll probably feel depressed and hopeless and your behaviors will reflect those emotions. The therapist would help you combat your negative and irrational thinking.
The Mayo Clinic reports that electroconvulsive therapy might be used to treat severe depression if other forms of treatment aren’t effective. One of the reasons that scientists believe people experience depression is related to levels of neurotransmitters in a person’s brain. Electroconvulsive therapy affects the levels of neurotransmitters in a positive way.
For everyone, healthy habits increase feelings of happiness and self-esteem, but they make an even bigger impact on someone who’s experiencing depression. Many therapists recommend that patients with depression exercise regularly, sleep eight hours each night and choose healthy options when eating. If you make an effort to implement these basic healthy habits, your level of depression should decrease.
Relaxation Techniques and Stress Management
Some people suffer from depression because they don’t know how to manage their stress. The stress becomes too overwhelming and they feel hopeless. Therapists help their patients utilize relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and visualization in managing stress. Each person deals with stress in different ways, and some are unhealthy such as drinking and using drugs. If you want to cope with stress in a healthy way, make a list of healthy coping mechanisms that you can do daily to reduce your stress. For example, you might take a bubble bath, make a home cooked meal and eat dinner with your family, read a good book, or take a walk after dinner with your spouse.
About this Author
Michelle Bolyn is a licensed mental health professional and has worked since 2006 as a therapist. Bolyn has been writing mental health, wedding-related and relationship focused articles since 2007. She is published on Suite101.com and Examiner.com. Bolyn received her master’s degree in social work from New York University.