Have you ever wondered if medication is a "must" if you go into counseling if you've been feeling kind of depressed?
A lot of people do, and they worry about it. In our opinion, it really depends. We believe that the least invasive, but yet most effective, means is the best approach.
There is no single answer that's right for everyone.
Depression can become a problem for a number of reasons. We first ask our clients to see their primary doctor. Why? Because a number of medical conditions can actually cause depression, and the goal is to help you feel and do better - therapy alone can't fix a physical issue. But, it can help if you need extra support coping. We also look at family history (genetics so to speak), if this is the first time you've ever felt depressed, how much is it affecting your life, or are you just going through a particularly stressful time in your life? Sometimes, the answer is "yes" to all of the above. And, it's all treatable.
Did you know that you aren't alone even though it may feel that way? Approximately 15-20% of Americans will experience at least one episode of what would be considered clinical depression. This helps to explain why there are so many anti-depressants on the market. Surprisingly, studies have shown that the majority of anti-depressants prescribed are done so by clinicians other than psychiatrists as more people rely solely on their primary doctors. There is also increasing doubt that there is an advantage to an anti-depressant versus counseling, which has been established by numerous studies.
The most effective treatment is oftentimes counseling and medication combined.
Also, many people will take an anti-depressant and get relief. They may make the mistake of thinking everything is "all better". They fail to realize that medication only does part of the job. Think of medication as a short-term possible solution where counseling is the long-term solution. Medication can bring relief, but counseling helps you develop solutions and skills for the longer haul.
Then why take anti-depressants? Because they can bring needed, more immediate relief and sometimes help you get into the work of therapy.
Researchers maintain that individuals that receive counseling have less chance of recurring episodes of depression.
This may mean medication could be taken for a shorter period. It is best to seek the advice of a clinician who is trained to assess and treat depression and evaluate each unique situation.
If you're ready to take that step to make more sustainable change, please reach out to us so we can help.
All our best,
Kevin and Beth