With the winter slipping behind us and the sun coming out for spring and summer, many may be noticing a positive change in their mood. However, some of those who have blamed their feelings of depression on the presence of cold weather and short days may find that they are still not 100 percent.
Although many are afraid of facing depression due to social stigmas, the problem is not all that uncommon. In fact, the CDC estimates that one in 10 adults in America has reported depression—and those are just the numbers of those who are aware of the mental health issue.
As part of Mental Health Awareness month, we are focused on delivering greater dialogue on mental health issues—including depression, one of the most common conditions that patients face. If you or a loved one has exhibited signs of depression, it is essential to start exploring avenues for treatment—including therapy and possibly medication.
Antidepressants Are Not One Size Fits All
In the mental health community, there has been a great deal of discussion on the benefits—and risks—of antidepressants. While there are many drugs that are prescribed, many are noting that the drugs may not be doing everything necessary. One recent article from The New York Times chronicles “The Antidepressant Generation” attributing the benefits of these drugs, but also how they could derail social development, especially among younger patients who are taking the medications for “longer and longer” periods of time.
Other research is expanding the definition of what can classify as depression—noting that certain prescriptions handed out by physicians may not be the right fit for every patient. In fact, new reports, such as a recent article from Los Angeles Times, suggest that antidepressant doses should be prescribed very carefully at first, as too high of a dosage could increase risk of suicide or self-harm in the patient. In addition, depression can impact individuals differently—antidepressants will not always take these factors into account when working to balance brain chemistry.
With only 20 percent of psychiatrists prescribing antidepressants, many may wonder if these drugs are the end-all-be-all to treat depression—or may even be curious if their physician has the right insight to properly prescribe the medication.
Counseling Can Help With Depression
Those who are curious about alternative ways to treat depression or are not getting enough from their antidepressants may want to consider counseling. There are many ways that counseling can help individuals cope with and overcome depression, including:
- Pinpoints Targets of Depression
Unless one is seeing a psychiatrist, it is likely that many doctors will not get to the heart of the issue of what factors are influencing one’s depression. For instance, while antidepressants may help level the body’s chemistry, they cannot correct external factors which may be augmenting the patient’s depression.
Counseling takes an intensive approach to truly get to the know the individual and work to find out which factors in his or her life may be causing depression, as well as other mental health issues. By identifying these factors, professionals can help clients work to correct these factors or develop an improved outlook on a situation that could be causing depression—for example those who may be grieving over the loss of a loved one.
- Provides Support
Individuals who are depressed may feel that they are facing the battle alone. Those who have been prescribed antidepressants may have the help of a doctor and medication, but will not always feel that they have a support system in place to turn to if depression symptoms heighten.
Counseling professionals, particularly those at Safe Harbor Christian Counseling, work to deliver a personalized understanding of each client in order to help them feel more comfortable and in control of their mental health struggle. As such, counseling can be a great way to augment antidepressant treatment, as individuals will know that there is an actual person there who wants to help them work through the problems they may be facing.
- Helps Others Understand
While antidepressants may help patients achieve greater mental health stability, these medications do not necessarily assist others who may be affected by the depression. Communicating depression to friends and family can be hard to do, especially when one is concerned about how others will judge them.
Not only can counseling help individuals feel more confident in their ability to address depression, but it can also help those who do not understand a loved one’s condition. For example, couples counseling is a great option for instances where depression has put a strain on a relationship.
Whether you have felt that antidepressants are not the answer for you or you want to explore additional paths for treating depression, there are many trained counselors available to assist you through the journey.
If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, we invite you to explore the many services and specialized tracks that we provide at Safe Harbor Christian Counseling. Please contact us today at 800.305.2089 to learn how our comprehensive resources and staff can help you regain mental health. For more updates on depression and other mental health discussions, tune into our Twitter and Facebook feeds.