The automatic response to depression and anxiety is to think about seeing your physician and getting a prescription for an anti-depressant. There are a few problems with this plan. First, most physicians are not trained in psychiatry and will not do an in depth assessment of your mental status before writing out a
prescription. Too few of people are aware of the drastic overuse and misuse of anti-depressants. Since 1988, when Prozac was ﬁrst introduced in the United States, the use of anti-depressants has soared by well over 400%. This class of medication is the most frequently used pill for Americans Yet, research does not support the claims made about anti-depressants. The analysis of a recent large data analysis of research suggests anti-depressants are elective in the short run but psychotherapy is equally elective short term and more elective long term. The combination of of therapy and medication is equally elective as just medication. Googling anti-depressant vs. psychotherapy yields pages of results reiterating these ﬁndings. “Researchers say their ﬁndings suggest that patients with depression should discuss different forms of non-drug therapy with their doctors and explore which type of therapy best suits them.”
The conclusion I draw from the research is psychotherapy is a vital tool in the successful treatment of depression and anxiety. Patients often come to my office who have been on anti-depressants for years,although prozac and the other ssri’s (selective serontonin reuptake inhibitor) were not developed for long term use. Over the course of psychotherapy patients begin to feel better they entertain the possibility of no longer being medicated. While in therapy patients learn skills to help them through hard times, to talk out problems with others rather than stu! feelings inside, to be less self critical and to make better choices to reduce the impact of depression. Improving problem solving skills can lead to more emotional stability. Therapy will help you to learn to recognize and manage the early symptoms of your depression and anxiety .
In addition to talk therapy I introduce the alpha -stim machine(www.alpha-stim.com) which can be an elective way to manage depression and anxiety. Using a mild micro-current the brain begins to reset itself into a relaxed state reducing stress and anxiety and increasing the ability focus. The results can be immediate with no negative side e!ects.The alpha -stim machine can also help New Hope for Depression and Anxiety with sleep problems and since lack of sleep is a contributor to depression and anxiety this is a great beneﬁt.
If you are interested in learning more about alternatives to medication for depression please feel free to contact my counseling office. Laney Kibel LCSW in Portland Or.