I often explain to the clients that I have diagnosed with Depression that there are several different ways they can learn to effectively manage their mood. I tell my clients that they can improve their depressed mood by:
- taking an antidepressant
- participating in counselling, or
- using a combination of both approaches
I tell them that the most effective way to combat Depression when their Depression is severe is option number three.
When Depression is mild to moderate, individuals are able to improve their mood by participating in counselling alone if they choose to not take an antidepressant. When depression is severe, however, a combination of both taking an antidepressant and participating in counselling leads to the best outcome because the antidepressant gives them the energy to get out of bed and seek professional help.
Working with a psychologist in counselling allows a person to learn to change the way they think so that they can successfully challenge depressive thoughts. When this skill is mastered, people are able to reduce the intensity and duration of a Depressive Episode and possibly avoid one altogether. The need for medication may decrease or be eliminated as the person becomes better able to regulate their mood independently over the long term. If a person simply takes an antidepressant but does not participate in counselling, then they remain vulnerable to future Depressive Episodes when the antidepressant is removed because they have not learned to change the way they think.
Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta
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