When it comes to treating depression, there are a number of treatment options available to those seeking help.
Two of the most popular treatment options are cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants.
There are pros and cons of each, and in some cases (such as my own) both are necessary.
Let’s go over what each of these are, how they help with depression symptoms, such as morning depression, a lack of motivation, and hopelessness, and which might be the best option for you.
What is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and how does it work?
Before we go into the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy and exactly how it works, let’s go over what it is.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that is used to effectively treat a range of problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders and severe mental illness.
When it comes to the treatment of depression, numerous studies have pointed to cognitive behavioral therapy as being just as effective as antidepressants.
More specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy involves working with a mental health professional to retrain your brain’s thought patterns so that in a passive state, you begin to naturally think your way to positive rather than negative conclusions about specific situations.
This is accomplished through about 20 one-on-one therapy sessions. In some cases, your symptoms may be so extreme that you require more sessions.
What are antidepressants and how do they work?
Antidepressants are drugs that are prescribed to those with severe depression symptoms by doctors or mental health professions to help improve a patient’s quality of life.
There are several different types of antidepressants, such as Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) that work in different ways.
The complicated names basically mean that they work to alter your brain chemistry in ways that improve your mood. In some cases, however, you may experience negative side effects, such as increased anxiety or low libido.
Which is best for you?
The choice between cognitive behavioral therapy vs. antidepressants is going to depend on your specific case.
In general, I’d advise going with therapy over antidepressants as a first attempt simply because of the risks involved in consuming antidepressant medications. The side effects can be unpleasant.
If your symptoms are extreme, you may need to use antidepressants, even if just temporarily so that you have the mindset to act on your therapy.
The thing is, with therapy, you’re required to take action. If the depression symptoms are so bad that you can’t perform your therapy, then it won’t work. In these cases, you’ll need to use antidepressants to bring you into a state of mind where you’re able to perform your therapy.
So, which is better? As much as we all hate this answer, it depends. However, I’d suggest you start with therapy and go from there.
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