Depression meds don’t always work. When they do, the benefits are only temporary. Cognitive behavioral therapy addresses some of the underlying causes of depression, and can provide long-term coping strategies.
The Veil of Depression
How do we lift the veil of depression? Most psychiatrists will recommend the use of medication, along with talk therapy to uncover past traumas. Do these treatments work?
Here are some facts about depression:
- The exact physical causes of depression remain unknown
- Genetics and childhood trauma may play a role in the biological origins of depression
- Stress may bring on depression, but this is not its underlying cause
- There is no test available to diagnose depression; diagnosis is still based on subjective criteria
- Research shows that only 50% of patients with depression respond to existing medications
If depression stems from poor thinking, and if talking about past trauma does not lead to happy thoughts in the present, does taking medication work?
It may help temporarily to get the patient through a crisis, but it does not teach them how to improve their thought patterns.
Enter cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a short-term, goal-oriented form of psychotherapy to treat depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy offers a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. The goal with CBT is to change the patterns of thinking or behavior that underlie one’s difficulties, and in doing so, change the way they feel.
The Role of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
It is called cognitive thinking because of the importance placed on our thought patterns. Here are some goals of cognitive behavioral therapy, according to the Washington Center for Cognitive Therapy:
- The promotion of self-awareness (thinking) and emotional intelligence (feeling) by teaching clients to “read” their emotions and distinguish healthy feelings from unhealthy feelings.
- Helping clients understand how distorted perceptions and thinking contribute to painful feelings.
- The rapid reduction of symptoms of negative feelings with an emphasis on examining the client’s current situation and solving current problems.
- The development of self-control by teaching client-specific techniques to identify and challenge distorted thinking.
- Prevention of future episodes of emotional distress and the development of personal growth by helping clients change core beliefs (thinking) that are often at the heart of their suffering (feelings).
It is important to note the link between thoughts and feelings. We are not always aware of such thoughts, but we can learn to identify them. This is the key to understanding and overcoming many of our difficulties, particularly for those of us suffering from depression. We can be happy again and carry our “load”.