*NOTE – If you have serious depression, or thoughts of suicide, you should talk with your doctor about possible treatment in addition to what you are reading here. We are NOT medical experts and do not know the severity of your mental illness. Below is a simple guide of some helpful information that may assist with prayer & strong faith.
This is a big topic, and, as we are no medical experts, we can only guide you & help you too, perhaps, make an informed decision prior to simply accepting medication such as anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication from your General Practitioner, Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
If you are suffering serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorders or other serious mental health issues, then medication is most likely the only option.
If you are suffering from depression and / or anxiety, then please do your research prior to taking medication. Many meds have quite serious side effects. Furthermore, coming off anti-depressant medication is not an easy process. And, can be sometimes very painful.
Again, we ask to consult with your medical professional treating you, and, do your research online prior to “accepting the script”.
For further information, here is a great resource about the pros & cons of such medications > Click Here
May be used as second or third-line agent for patients who do not respond to other treatments
Cons of Select MAOIs
Rarely used as initial treatment due to side effects, and serious drug and food interactions (i.e., foods with high amounts of tyramine such as dried fruits, red wine, cheese, pickles, smoked or processed meats, ripe figs, fava beans). The combination may lead to an increase in blood pressure, headache, nausea and vomiting, confusion, seizures, death.
Other serious drug-drug interactions, consult with health care provider
Alternative Non Medication Treatments For Depression & Anxiety
*NOTE – If you have serious depression, or thoughts of suicide, you should talk with your doctor about possible treatment in addition to what you are reading here. We are NOT medical experts and do not know the severity of your mental illness. Below is a simple guide of some helpful information that may assist with prayer & strong faith.
First and foremost, you must be willing to REALLY WANT to get better and recover from your depression and anxiety.
By choosing daily prayer, and having faith that God will help you, you are 1 step closer to recovery once and for all.
Isn’t that amazing news? For some inspiration that you CAN and WILL get better, visit the photos page here
Ok, so lets cover some common sense issues here to aid your recovery.
You should know these already but may not be implementing them as yet.
Such things as daily exercise, healthy eating habits and meditation should all be a part of your daily routine to aid your recovery.
We will delve into these a little deeper below.
Diet is critical in your recovery from Depression and Anxiety.
The age old saying “You are what you eat” is so true.
If you eat a lot of junk food that is high in sugar & salt, this will be of detriment to your recovery.
Here suggestions below are : 10 Foods I Eat Every Day to Beat Depression
1. Dark Leafy Greens
If you were to choose the healthiest food of all, the most nutrient-dense item available to us to eat, it would be dark, leafy greens, no contest. Spinach. Kale. Swiss chard. Greens are the first of the G-BOMBS (Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Seeds) that Dr. Fuhrman describes in his book, The End of Dieting, the foods with the most powerful immune-boosting and anticancer effect.
“These foods help to prevent the cancerous transformation of normal cells and keep the body armed and ready to attack any precancerous or cancerous cells that may arise,” he writes. They fight against all kinds of inflammation, and according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, severe depression has been linked with brain inflammation. Leafy greens are especially important because they contain oodles of vitamins A, C, E, and K, minerals and phytochemicals.
Walnuts are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous studies have demonstrated how omega-3 fatty acids support brain function and reduce depression symptoms. A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry is especially interesting. The lead authors ask the question, Why is the vast biological research — from genetics to psychopharmacology — concentrated on neurotransmitters, when the mammalian brain is approximately 80 percent fat (lipids), and there is a growing body of research demonstrating the critical role of lipids to help brain functioning? What’s more, the shift in the Western diet away from these necessary omega-3 fatty acids over the last century parallels the large rise in psychiatric disorders in that time.
I eat a whole one every day in my salad for lunch. Avocados are power foods because, again, they contain healthy fat that your brain needs in order to run smoothly. Three-fourths of the calories of an avocado are from fat, mostly monosaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid. An average avocado also contains 4 grams of protein, higher than other fruits, and is filled with vitamin K, different kinds of vitamin B (B-9, B-6, and B-5), vitamin C, and vitamin E-12. Finally, they are low in sugar and high in dietary fiber, containing about 11 grams each.
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant foods available to us. I try to have a variety for breakfast in the morning. In a study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients were treated for two years with antioxidants or placebos. After two years those who were treated with antioxidants had a significantly lower depression score. They are like DNA repairmen. They go around fixing your cells and preventing them from getting cancer and other illnesses.
Here are two good reasons mushrooms are good for your mental health. First, their chemical properties oppose insulin, which helps lower blood sugar levels, evening out your mood. They also are like a probiotic in that they promote healthy gut bacteria. And since the nerve cells in our gut manufacture 80 percent to 90 percent of our body’s serotonin — the critical neurotransmitter that keeps us sane — we can’t afford to not pay attention to our intestinal health.
You won’t find this item on most lists of mood foods. However, it’s included in Fuhrman’s G-BOMBS because onions and all allium vegetables (garlic, leeks, chives, shallots, and spring onions) have been associated with a decreased risk of several cancers.
“Eating onions and garlic frequently is associated with a reduced risk of cancers of the digestive tract,” explains Fuhrman. “These vegetables also contain high concentrations of anti-inflammatory flavonoid antioxidants that contribute to their anti-cancer properties.” Again, if you consider the relationship between your digestive tract and your brain, it is understandable why a food that can prevent cancers of the gut would also benefit your mood.
I try to eat at least six baby tomatoes in my salad each day for lunch because tomatoes contain lots of folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid, both of which are good for fighting depression. According to research published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, many studies show an elevated incidence of folate deficiency in patients with depression. In most of the studies, about one-third of depression patients were deficient in folate.
Folic acid can prevent an excess of homocysteine — which restricts the production of important neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine — from forming in the body. Alpha-lipoic acid keeps coming up as I read more about nutrition and the brain, so I have begun to take it as a supplement, as well. It helps the body convert glucose into energy, and therefore stabilizes mood.
“Beans, beans, good for the heart. The more you eat, the more you … smile.” They make the G-BOMB list because they can act as anti-diabetes and weight-loss foods. They are good for my mood because my body (and every body) digests them slowly, which stabilizes blood sugar levels. Any food that assists me in evening out my blood sugar levels is my friend. They are the one starch that I allow myself, so on top of a salad, they help mitigate my craving for bread and other processed grains.
When I’m close to reaching for potato chips — or anything else that is yelling “I will take away your pain!” — I allow myself a few handfuls of sunflower seeds or any other kind of seed I can find in our kitchen. Seeds are the last food on Fuhrman’s G-BOMBS list.
Flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are especially good for your mood because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Fuhrman writes, “Not only do seeds add their own spectrum of unique disease-fighting substances to the dietary landscape, but the fat in seeds increases the absorption of protective nutrients in vegetables eaten at the same meal.”
An apple a day could — if eaten with the rest of these foods — keep the psychiatrist away, at least for stretches of time. Like berries, apples are high in antioxidants, which can help to prevent and repair oxidation damage and inflammation on the cellular level. They are also full of soluble fiber, which balances blood sugar swings. A snack I have grown to love is almond butter on apple slices. I get my omega-3 fatty acid along with some fiber.
Exercise is critical in your recovery from Depression and Anxiety.
It is proven that regular exercise releases positive endorphin’s to the brain that will assist your recovery. It will also make you a healthier person over all. If you have been struggling to lose a few pounds/kilos – then now would be a perfect time to start an exercise plan.
Start slowly. Don’t go all out an attempt to run a marathon on your first exercise attempt. Small steps day by day will assist and help you get stronger, healthier & happier!
Exercise helps beat depression — that’s not just a theory, but scientific fact.
Many people think exercise involves grueling workouts or exhausting runs.
Sure, for Alasdair Campbell and Tricia Goddard — interviewed in my book, Back From The Brink — cross-country runs and marathons are an important part of their wellness plan and help ward off depression or manage it better if and when it strikes.
But that doesn’t mean the benefits of exercise for beating or preventing depression require you to sign up for the next Ironman competition. After all, mustering up the energy to even get out of bed during our worst moments can be a real struggle.
You’re not alone. Nearly everyone I have spoken to has experienced supreme difficulty exercising while depressed — although not one of these people ever reported feeling worse after a walk.
Exercise need not be intensive or exhausting. A study by Dr. Andrea Dunn found that patients who did the equivalent of 35 minutes’ walking, six days per week, experienced a reduction in their level of depression by 47 percent. This study, conducted at the Cooper Research Institute in Dallas, Texas, shows that as little as three hours of regular exercise a week reduces the symptoms of mild to moderate depression as effectively as Prozac and other antidepressants.
In addition, the proven benefits of exercise in treating or preventing depression extend to even moderate physical activity, such as gardening.
Aerobic exercise, in particular, improves blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It has the added benefit of releasing endorphins (natural feel-good chemicals) into the body.
Moderate physical activity produces risk-free benefits for people with depression. Unlike medication, there are no detrimental side-effects.
3 Forms of Exercise That Aren’t Really Exercise
1. Meet with a friend for a walk.
Socialising can be exhausting even when we’re not depressed. But contact with a friend can be a great source of emotional support and compassion. Meeting a friend for a walk – with or without a dog – can be a great way of combining casual social interaction with moderate physical activity.
If your friend doesn’t know you’re depressed, that’s OK. You’re not obligated to tell them. If they do, that’s OK too. Plus, being out walking can take the edge off any feelings of awkwardness or nervous anxiety, whether talking about depression or any other subject. You’re not exclusively focused on the conversation and person you’re with.
Quick tip: If in the past you’ve tended to make plans, then felt too depressed to go ahead with them, see if your friend can come to your place to meet you. Unless you’re having a particularly bad day, knowing your friend is outside – and a polite but persistent knock on the door – may give you the extra kick to get you out and about.
2. Do some gardening or cleaning.
Interestingly, the longitudinal review of over 26 years of research specifically included gardening as part of the daily moderate physical activity which can have a profound impact on treating and preventing depression.
Have a garden? Get out there and plant some seeds, mow the lawn or get some pruning done. You don’t need to blitz the entire front or back yard in one go, but this activity has the added advantage of being able to see the results of your efforts, which can be a great motivator.
Live in an apartment? Give it a little bit of a spruce. Clean a cupboard, the fridge or your bedroom. It’s all activity, particularly any scrubbing or washing.
3. Take a pet for a walk.
I received so many positive stories from those with depression who were helped by having a furry friend that I wrote an article about it.
Dogs in particular have a lot of rather infectious energy and need to walk (or run) it off every day. So why not combine the energy and love of a four-legged companion with the relatively moderate effort involved in walking and take a stroll in the park?
Don’t have a dog? Offer to walk a friend or neighbor’s. That way you do your friend a favor and enjoy the benefits of dog-walking as part of your depression treatment strategy without having to worry about the responsibility of looking after the dog when the walk is over.
Anything particularly strenuous in any of that? Didn’t think so, but it still counts as moderate physical activity and can help you feel better and beat or prevent depression if done for 30 minutes each day.
Now, in my previous article on how to exercise when depressed, I emphasized the importance of whisker goals as a way to build up your level of physical activity by starting off in small, manageable chunks.
Even the above suggestions for moderate exercise can be started off in small manageable chunks for just a few minutes each. Don’t try and do too much too quickly, else the anticipation of future exercise which again takes up lots of time and energy may be enough to put you off any more attempts.
Interestingly, the study by Andrea Dunn helps here: it showed that three periods of 10 minutes’ exercise per day can have a similar effect to a single 30-minute block.
So, when you feel ready, consider two or three whisker goals of 10 minutes’ period of exercise each day.
More Tips to Keep You Motivated to Exercise
Incorporate exercise as part of a holistic depression treatment plan. Back From The Brink will explain more about this and show you how to do so quickly and easily. You may wish to enroll in our free 30 day Mood Boost Challenge.
You may want to consider introducing rituals. The more you do something, the more familiar and ‘normal’ it becomes. So by building a routine to follow before, during or after exercise, it becomes easier to do. For example, you could buy a pedometer to measure steps each day (they’re cheap), lay exercise clothes out before going to bed and so on.
When you’re out and about, focus on the present moment and observe plants, animals, flowers and smells. Consider keeping a journal where you or your friend or loved one writes down the highlights. Take photos with a phone and share them on social media – you may find sharing with others to help you too.
Finally, being in the present moment can help you cultivate gratitude and focus on the good things and people you have in your life – something that’s liable to be forgotten amid the heavy fog of negative thoughts that loop in our mind during a period of depression.
Taking natural herbal supplements along with, of course, daily prayer and strong faith, can really assist your recovery from depression and anxiety.
Before taking any of the supplements below, it is of course wise to consult with your medical practitioner – especially if you are currently on any anti-depressant medications.
The below has been read and approved by us, content has been given from this website
Another great article on 12 supplements to assist with depression and anxiety can be read by clicking here
Top Five Anti Depression Supplements
Approximately 40 million Americans report anxiety disorders in any given year. A good percentage of these people don’t find relief through conventional medicine. Although Chicago-based research company Mintel reports that prescription depression medications continue to dominate the pharmaceuticals market with $12.9 million in 2007 sales (and anxiety meds not too far behind with $9.8 million in sales), researchers question whether many of these drugs are effective. The authors of a 2005 study published in Archives of General Psychiatry looked at 240 patients suffering from moderate to severe depression and found that half of study participants didn’t respond to conventional antidepressants. A recent Mintel study also found that 38 percent of respondents suffering from general anxiety turned to treatments other than prescription medications.
It’s no wonder, then, that sales of many natural ingredients for anxiety and depression posted upswings over the past year, even as consumers pinched pennies, according to SPINS, a Schaumburg, Ill.-based market research company.
Here are the top five, natural Anti Anxiety and Depression Supplements:
1. FISH OIL
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a major building block in optimal brain chemistry, says Paul Anderson, ND, a professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash. Although Americans tend to get adequate amounts of omega-6 fatty acids from foods like canola oil and nuts, we often come up short in omega-3s, which are most readily available in cold-water fish. Without enough omega-3s, “you tend to not transmit nerve signals properly,” says Anderson. “When your brain isn’t running properly, you can feel depressed or anxious.” Scientists have come to the same conclusion: A 2007 study of 43 adults found that those with diets high in omega-6s but low in omega-3s had high levels of proinflammatory cytokines-molecules that tend to be produced in the body when people are depressed or stressed. However, the research on omega-3s and depression is still developing. One 2009 study found that higher intakes of omega-3s and oily fish may reduce the number of occasions that women suffer depressive symptoms by about 30 percent. However, another 2009 study showed that complementing antidepressant therapy with an omega-3 supplement did not improve depression levels in patients with coronary heart disease.
Tip: Some customers report an unpleasant aftertaste or “fish burps.” This usually can be avoided by making sure your fish oil is made from “clean,” pollutant-free fish. For those who don’t eat fish, Anderson recommends pure DHA supplements made from plant sources. Because of the lack of EPA in these supplements, the body doesn’t have to convert it into active DHA. Thus, opt for a dose that’s half the strength of a comparable fish-oil supplement.
2. B-COMPLEX VITAMINS
According to Anderson, one of the common culprits for mild depression is an imbalance of brain neurotransmitters-natural chemicals that can act as mood enhancers by helping transmit signals between brain cells. Prescription antidepressants like Prozac and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) focus on one of these neurotransmitters in particular: serotonin, which they allow to stay around longer in the system. A more natural solution, says Anderson, is supplementing with vitamins B6 and B3 (niacinamide). “Basically, they make your body conserve the amino acid tryptophan and convert as much tryptophan as possible into serotonin.” A 2004 Danish study of 140 people found that those who were clinically depressed had low levels of vitamin B6 in their blood.
If upping serotonin levels through B6 and B3 doesn’t help, the problem might be a deficiency of the other two neurotransmitters in the brain: norepinephrine and dopamine. Anderson recommends turning to vitamin B12 plus folic acid, which are necessary for the synthesis of these two chemicals. A 2002 Dutch study of nearly 4,000 elderly people backs up this suggestion: Researchers found that many of those who had depression symptoms also had vitamin B12 deficiencies.
Tip: If you are already on an SSRI, Anderson recommends consulting with a physician before adding supplements like B6 and B3 that manipulate serotonin.
Better Health Vitamin B 100 Complex
This formula provides recommended potencies of the most important B vitamins and is designed to supply your body’s required daily intake in one complete supplement.
The amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is another natural option for upping serotonin levels. As a serotonin precursor, 5-HTP may help those for whom SSRIs like Prozac don’t seem to work, says Katie Baker, ND, owner of Stone Turtle Health, a naturopathic family medicine practice in Seattle. “SSRIs block the uptake of serotonin so it sticks around longer,” she says. But that won’t do much good if not much serotonin is around to begin with. In contrast, 5-HTP is converted into serotonin in the body. “With 5-HTP, you are not plugging up the drain, so to speak; you are just putting more into the sink,” says Baker. A six-week study of 63 people found that those who took 300 mg daily of 5-HTP had the same depression relief as those who took prescription antidepressants-but with fewer side effects.
Tip: Smith notes some people who take 5-HTP have loose stools, so he suggests taking a fat-soluble version, which usually comes in a spray form that’s largely absorbed before it reaches the digestive system.
Better Health 5-HTP
Increase your serotonin levels which play a key note in controlling appetite and enhancing mood.
An amino acid derivative found in green tea, theanine has long been known to trigger the release in the brain of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. GABA activates the major calming neurotransmitters, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, but the body has difficulty absorbing supplements containing synthesized GABA. That’s why Anderson recommends theanine, which the body can easily absorb and, ultimately, use to boost levels of GABA.
Tip: Anderson doesn’t recommend doses above 600 mg without physician oversight.
Better Health Theanine
• Stress Management
• 100 mg Suntheanine
• Supports Cardiovascular Function
• Promotes Relaxation
5. VITAMIN D
Vitamin D has long been championed for its ability to help maintain healthy teeth and bones because it promotes calcium absorption. Turns out the multitasking vitamin might also help combat anxiety and depression. A 2008 study of 441 overweight and obese men and women in Norway found that those given 20,000 and 40,000 IUs per week of vitamin D supplements had significantly less depression symptoms after one year than those in a placebo group. It’s unclear how, exactly, vitamin D might fend off depression, but Smith conjectures that it might improve neurotransmitter function.
Tip: Concerns about vitamin D toxicity have largely been put to rest. To be safe, however, Smith and Baker recommend a blood test to ensure patients’ serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels aren’t above the optimal ranges of 50 and 100 nanograms per millileter. Then they suggest a follow-up blood test three months after a patient begins supplementing with vitamin D.
Better Health Vitamin D
Even though the human body can manufacture Vitamin D under ideal circumstances, there is strong evidence that much of the American population suffers from a deficiency of the nutrient.
Taking time out to pray daily is THE MOST POWERFUL form of meditation.
Along with the power of prayer, you may wish to consider other forms of meditation that will certainly assist your recovery from depression and anxiety.
This article taken from Psychology Today will introduce you to the power of meditation, and, just how easy & fun it can be!
Curing Depression with Mindfulness Meditation
A longer lasting solution to the spiral of sadness
Imagine if you could cure depression with a therapy that was more effective and long-lasting than expensive drugs, and which did not have any side effects. These are the claims being made for a form of Mindfulnessmeditation.
Psychologists from the University of Exeter recently published a study into “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy” (MBCT), finding it to be better than drugs or counseling for depression. Four months after starting, three quarters of the patients felt well enough to stop taking antidepressants.
MBCT marries Eastern meditation with Western cognitive therapy. Patients are taught the simple technique over eight sessions and then practice it at home for 30 minutes a day. Professor Willem Kuyken, whose team at the Mood Disorders Centre of the University of Exeter in the UK carried out the research, says: “Anti-depressants are widely used by people who suffer from depression and that’s because they tend to work. While they’re very effective in helping reduce the symptoms of depression, when people come off them they are particularly vulnerable to relapse. For many people, MBCT seems to prevent that relapse. It could be an alternative to long-term antidepressantmedication.”
MBCT was developed in the mid-Nineties by psychologists at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Toronto to help stabilize patients’ moods during and after use of antidepressants. About half of patients relapse into depression – even if they continue taking the medication. One common reason for a relapse is when a normal period of sadness turns into obsessive brooding.
“Brooding is a key feature of depression,” says Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford and leader of the team that developed MBCT. “In mentally healthy people, sad thoughts pass quite quickly but in people who suffer from depression they don’t. MBCT tackles brooding and teaches people to be more compassionate to themselves and others.”
Professor Williams is also the author of Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World.
The MBCT technique is simple, and revolves around “mindfulness meditation”. In this, you sit with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing. (See box for details). Concentrating on the rhythm of the breath helps produce a feeling of detachment. The idea is that you come to realize that thoughts come and go of their own accord, and that your conscious self is distinct from your thoughts. This realization is encouraged by gentle question-and-answer sessions modeled on those in cognitive therapy.
In the University of Exeter study, funded by the UK’s Medical Research Council, 47 per cent of patients with long-term depression suffered a relapse; the figure was 60 per cent among those taking medication alone. Other studies, including two published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, had comparable outcomes. As a result, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended MBCT since 2004. Availability is still patchy though, with many sufferers seeking courses at Buddhist centers.
“One of the key features of depression is that it hijacks your attention,” says Professor Williams. “We all tend to bring to the forefront of our minds the thoughts and feelings that reflect our current mood. If you are sad, depressed or anxious, then you tend to remember the bad things that have happened to you and not the good. This drives you into a downward spiral that leads from sadness into a deeper depression. MBCT prevents and breaks that spiral.”
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for depression. At the heart of CBT is an assumption that a person’s mood is directly related to his or her patterns of thought. Negative, dysfunctional thinking affects a person’s mood, sense of self, behavior, and even physical state. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to help a person learn to recognize negative patterns of thought, evaluate their validity, and replace them with healthier ways of thinking.
At the same time, therapists who practice CBT aim to help their patients change patterns of behavior that come from dysfunctional thinking. Negative thoughts and behavior predispose an individual to depression and make it nearly impossible to escape its downward spiral. When patterns of thought and behavior are changed, according to CBT practitioners and researchers, so is mood.
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Differ From Other Depression Treatments?
The focus and method of cognitive behavioral therapy sets it apart from other forms of talk therapy:
CBT is based on two specific tasks: cognitive restructuring, in which the therapist and patient work together to change thinking patterns, and behavioral activation — in which patients learn to overcome obstacles to participating in enjoyable activities. CBT focuses on the immediate present: what and how a person thinks more than why a person thinks that way.
CBT focuses on specific problems. In individual or group sessions, problem behaviors and problem thinking are identified, prioritized, and specifically addressed.
CBT is goal oriented. Patients working with their therapists are asked to define goals for each session as well as longer-term goals. Longer-term goals may take several weeks or months to achieve. Some goals may even be targeted for completion after the sessions come to an end.
The approach of CBT is educational. The therapist uses structured learning experiences that teach patients to monitor and write down their negative thoughts and mental images. The goal is to recognize how those ideas affect their mood, behavior, and physical condition. Therapists also teach important coping skills, such as problem solving and scheduling pleasurable experiences.
CBT patients are expected to take an active role in their learning, in the session and between sessions. They are given homework assignments at each session — some of them graded in the beginning — and the assignment tasks are reviewed at the start of the next session.
CBT employs multiple strategies, including Socratic questioning, role playing, imagery, guided discovery, and behavioral experiments.
CBT is often time limited. Typically, treatment with CBT lasts 14 to 16 weeks.
Who Can Benefit From CBT?
Anyone with mild or moderate depression can potentially benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, even without taking medication. A number of studies have shown CBT to be at least as effective as antidepressants in treating mild and moderate depression. Studies also show that a combination of antidepressants and CBT can be effective in treating major depression.
CBT can be an effective treatment for mild and moderate depression in adolescents as well. It’s also been shown to be effective at reducing relapses in patients who experience frequent relapses after having gone through other treatments.
Nearly two out of every three patients who are treated successfully for depression are treated with medications alone. Other patients, though, have lingering symptoms even when medication is partially working. CBT can be effectively used to treat many of these patients.
Although a wide range of people respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy, experts point out that the type of person likely to get the most benefit is someone who:
Sees him or herself as able to control the events that happen around them
Has the capacity for introspection
What Is Cognitive Restructuring?
Cognitive restructuring refers to the process in CBT of identifying and changing inaccurate negative thoughts that contribute to the development of depression. This is done collaboratively between the patient and therapist, often in the form of a dialogue. For instance, a college student may have failed a math quiz and responded by saying, “That just proves I’m stupid.”
The therapist might ask if that’s really what the test means. In order to help the student recognize the inaccuracy of the response, the therapist could ask what the student’s overall grade is in math. If the student answers, “It’s a B,” the therapist can then point out that his answer shows he’s not stupid because he couldn’t be stupid and get a B. Then together they can explore ways to reframe what the performance on the quiz actually says.
The “I’m stupid” response is an example of an automatic thought. Patients with depression may have automatic thoughts in response to certain situations. They’re automatic in that they’re spontaneous, negative, and don’t come out of deliberate thinking or logic. These are often underpinned by a negative or dysfunctional assumption that is guiding the way patients view themselves, the situation, or the world around them.
Other examples of automatic thinking include:
Always thinking the worst is going to happen. For instance, a person may convince himself he is about to lose his job because the boss didn’t talk to him that morning or he heard an unsubstantiated rumor that his department was going to cut back.
Always putting the blame on oneself even when there is no involvement in something bad that happened. For example, if someone did not return your call, you might blame it on the fact that you are somehow a very unlikeable person.
Exaggerating the negative aspects of something rather than the positive. Think of someone who exercises a stock option from a bonus a week before the stock rises another 10%. Instead of enjoying the bonus money he just got, he tells himself he never gets the breaks or that he’s too afraid to take risks that he should take. If he weren’t, he would have known to wait.
The idea in CBT is to learn to recognize those negative thoughts and find a healthier way to view the situation. The ultimate goal is to discover the underlying assumptions out of which those thoughts arise and evaluate them. Once the inaccuracy of the assumption becomes evident, the patient can replace that perspective with a more accurate one.
Between sessions, the patient may be asked to monitor and write down the negative thoughts in a journal and to evaluate the situation that called them up. The real goal is for the patient to learn how to do this on his or her own.
What Is Behavioral Activation?
Behavioral activation is another goal of CBT that aims to help patients engage more often in enjoyable activities and develop or enhance problem-solving skills.
Inertia is a major problem for people with depression. One major symptom of depression is loss of interest in things that were once found enjoyable. A person with depression stops doing things because he or she thinks it’s not worth the effort. But this only deepens the depression.
In CBT, the therapist helps the patient schedule enjoyable experiences, often with other people who can reinforce the enjoyment. Part of the process is looking at obstacles to taking part in that experience and deciding how to get past those obstacles by breaking the process down into smaller steps.
Patients are encouraged to keep a record of the experience, noting how he or she felt and what the specific circumstances were. If it didn’t go as planned, the patient is encouraged to explore why and what might be done to change it. By taking action that moves toward a positive solution and goal, the patient moves farther from the paralyzing inaction that locks him or her inside the depression.
Is There a Standard Procedure for Therapy Sessions?
Mental health professionals who practice CBT receive special training and follow a manual in their own practice. Although actual sessions may vary, they typically follow this outline:
The session begins with a check on the patient’s mood and symptoms.
Together, the patient and therapist set an agenda for the meeting.
Once the agenda is set, they revisit the previous session so they can bridge to the new one.
The therapist and patient review the homework assignment and discuss problems and successes.
Next they turn to the issues on the agenda, which may or may not all get addressed.
New homework is set.
The session ends with the therapist summarizing the session and getting feedback from the patient.
A typical session lasts 50 minutes to an hour.
What Does It Mean to Say That Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is Time-Limited?
Some other types of therapy are open ended in that there is no clear end date established. With CBT, the goal is to terminate therapy at a certain point, usually after 14 to 16 weeks.
It takes about eight weeks for the patient to become competent at the skills that are being taught in therapy and to reasonably understand the model. While this is going on, the patient usually experiences a significant reduction of symptoms. Between eight and 12 weeks patients often experience a remission of symptoms. During the remaining time, they continue to practice the skills learned and to address issues related to ending the sessions.
More severe cases of depression may take longer to resolve. For most patients, though, 14 to 16 weeks with occasional sessions during the first year to reinforce the new skills is adequate. “Booster” sessions are sometimes recommended to help reduce the risk for relapse and provide “refreshers” for making use of core CBT skills.
Taking time out to pray daily is THE MOST POWERFUL form of therapy.
Along with the power of prayer, you may wish to consider Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) that will certainly assist your recovery from depression and anxiety.
In particular, we are going to talk about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets it name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life.
The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT (which is pronounced as the word ‘act’, not as the initials) does this by:
a) teaching you psychological skills to deal with your painful thoughts and feelings effectively – in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over you (these are known as mindfulness skills).
b) helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you – i.e your values – then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.
To download a simple, non-technical article which gives a basic overview of ACT, click here
To download a simple, non-technical article on Mindfulness Without Meditation,click here
Mindfulness is a “hot topic” in Western psychology right now – increasingly recognised as a powerful therapeutic intervention for everything from work stress to depression – and also as an effective tool for increasing emotional intelligence. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a powerful mindfulness-based therapy (and coaching model) which currently leads the field in terms of research, application and results.
Mindfulness is a mental state of awareness, focus and openness – which allows you to engage fully in what you are doing at any moment. In a state of mindfulness, difficult thoughts and feelings have much less impact and influence over you – so it is hugely useful for everything from full-blown psychiatric illness to enhancing athletic or business performance. In many models of coaching and therapy, mindfulness is taught primarily via meditation. However, in ACT, meditation is seen as only one way amongst hundreds of learning these skills – and this is a good thing, because most people do not like meditating! ACT gives you a vast range of tools to learn mindfulness skills – many of which require only a few minutes to master.
ACT breaks mindfulness skills down into 3 categories:
1) defusion: distancing from, and letting go of, unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and memories
2) acceptance: making room for painful feelings, urges and sensations, and allowing them to come and go without a struggle
3) contact with the present moment: engaging fully with your here-and-now experience, with an attitude of openness and curiosity
These 3 skills require you to use an aspect of yourself for which no word exists in common everyday language. It is the part of you that is capable of awareness and attention. In ACT, we often call it the ‘observing self’. We can talk about ‘self’ in many ways, but in common everyday language we talk mainly about the ‘physical self’ – your body – and the ‘thinking self’ – your mind. The ‘observing self’ is the part of you that is able to observe both your physical self and your thinking self. A better term, in my opinion, is ‘pure awareness’ – because that’s all it is: just awareness, nothing else. It is the part of you that is aware of everything else: aware of every thought, every feeling, everything you see, hear, touch, taste, smell, and do.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique and creative approach to a change in behaviour which alters the very ground rules of most Western psychotherapy. It is a mindfulness-based, values-oriented behavioural therapy, that has many parallels to Buddhism, yet is not religious in any way; it is a modern scientific approach, firmly based on cutting-edge research into human behavioural psychology.
Duration And Delivery of ACT
ACT can be delivered in many different ways:
a) long-term therapy – for example, the Spectrum protocol for ACT with borderline personality disorder: forty 2-hour sessions.
d) ultra-brief therapy – for example, Kirk Strosahl’s work in primary care medical settings, where ACT can be highly effective even in one or two twenty to thirty-minute sessions.
ACT In A Nutshell
My own personal style for both coaching and therapy is what I call ‘ACT Made Simple’ – it is a distilled, simplified version of ACT, influenced very strongly by three factors: 1) the work of Kirk Strosahl, one of the originators of ACT, renowned for the simplicity, rapidity, and effectiveness of his interventions, 2) my previous training in solution-oriented counselling and other brief therapies, much of which can be adapted to fit this model, and 3) most of all, by my own personal motto: ‘Simplicity, Clarity, Accessibility’. ACT has been around since the mid-eighties, so it comes with quite an amazing heritage of tools, techniques, interventions and strategies. However, some of these are unnecessarily complex or longwinded. I have made it my personal mission to modify, adapt or reinvent tools, techniques, and training methods wherever possible, in order to make ACT readily accessible to everyone and anyone – whether they are a health professional, therapist, coach, student, client, patient – or simply an interested member of the general public.
My personal preference in ACT is to work quickly and effectively, and as a result, the vast majority of my work would fall under categories b), c), and d) above. However, I do have a few long-term clients with multiple severe problems, that I have been seeing for several years. And this is one of the many things I love about the ACT model: its flexibility. I love the way it can so readily be adapted, and made as short or long as it needs to be, to suit the individual needs of the client, group, or organisation.
To download a simple, non-technical article which gives a basic overview of ACT, click here To download a range of interesting articles and papers on ACT, go to the Articles & Papers page
Taking time out to pray daily is THE MOST POWERFUL form of therapy.
Along with the power of prayer, you may wish to consider Interpersonal Therapy for Depression (IPT) that will certainly assist your recovery from depression and anxiety.
In particular, we are going to talk about Interpersonal Therapy for Depression Therapy (IPT)
Events surrounding interpersonal relationships do not cause depression. But depression occurs within an interpersonal context and affects relationships and the roles of people within those relationships. By addressing interpersonal issues, interpersonal therapy for depression puts emphasis on the way symptoms are related to a person’s relationships, including family and peers.
The immediate goals of treatment are rapid symptom reduction and improved social adjustment. The long-term goal is to enable people with depression to make their own needed adjustments. When they can do that, they are better able to cope with and reduce depressive symptoms.
What Are the Ideas Behind Interpersonal Therapy for Depression?
Interpersonal therapy is a manual-based treatment. That means the therapist strictly adheres to a treatment process whose effectiveness is supported by evidence.
According to the International Society for Interpersonal Therapy, there are three components to depression.
IPT is a short-term treatment option that typically consists of 12 to 16 one-hour weekly sessions. The therapist focuses on identifiable problems in how an individual interacts with or doesn’t interact with others. When those problems are addressed, the patient realizes a benefit in his or her experience of symptoms.
Except to check on their severity and the effect of the various treatments, symptoms are not addressed in therapy sessions. Instead the therapist works collaboratively with the patient, either individually or in a group, to identify and then address one or two significant problems in his or her interactions. The number of problems addressed is deliberately limited to one or two for the whole course of treatment. The result is an intense focus on how to make the necessary adjustments in interpersonal situations that will help reduce symptoms of depression.
The types of problems addressed fall into four categories:
Interpersonal disputes or conflicts. These disputes occur in marital, family, social, school, or work settings. The disputes emerge from differing expectations of a situation. They become a problem that needs to be addressed when the conflicts that come from the expectations lead to significant distress.
Role transitions. Changing circumstances, whether they’re developmental, stem from shifts in work or social settings, or result from a life event or end of a relationship, require adaptations from the individual. With depression, those changes are felt as losses and contribute to the depression.
In IPT, grief is the experience of loss through death. Grief becomes a problem when it is delayed or becomes excessive so that it lasts beyond the normal time for bereavement.
Interpersonal deficits. This refers to the patient reporting “impoverished” personal relationships either in number or in quality.
By focusing on issues from these categories, the therapist can help the person with depression learn how to make the adjustments that are needed to address the interpersonal issue and improve relationships.
What Kind of Adjustments Might Be Made Through IPT to Resolve Interpersonal Issues?
With issues involving interpersonal disputes, the therapist works with the patient to define how serious the issue has become in terms of how difficult it is to move beyond it. For instance, there might be a dispute between husband and wife that stems from the wife’s attempts to be more independent. The therapist would lead the patient, in this case the husband, in an effort to discover the sources of misunderstanding. Then the therapist might use problem-solving approaches, communication training, or some other technique to enable the patient to resolve the conflict in a way that doesn’t worsen the symptoms of depression.
In role transition issues, the therapist helps the patient determine the differences between the old and the new roles. Then together they would focus on identifying exactly what is causing the difficulties and work to find a solution for the problem.
For issues involving grief, the therapist facilitates the grieving process to help the patient move beyond it. Two important techniques used to do this are:
Empathetic listening, which provides support and a safe outlet for the patient’s feelings
Clarification, which is a technique for helping the patient examine his or her own misconceptions about the situation
With interpersonal deficits, the therapist will work with the patient to explore past relationships or the current relationship the patient has with the therapist. The goal is to identify patterns, such as excess dependency or hostility, that interfere with forming and maintaining good relationships. Once those patterns are distinguished, the focus turns to modifying them. Then, with the therapist’s guidance and assistance, the patient is urged to make new relationships and to apply the therapeutic adjustments that have been made.
As the sessions progress, the therapist gradually lessens his or her level of intervention. The goal is for the patient to self-intervene more and make more of his or her own adjustments. This becomes easier as time goes on, and the patient’s ability to self-intervene continues to improve after the sessions end, often not peaking until three to six months after therapy is over.
What Is the Process for Interpersonal Therapy?
Interpersonal therapy typically takes place in one-hour sessions, usually weekly, that continue for 12 to 16 weeks. Depending on the severity of the depression, sessions might be continued for an additional four or more weeks.
If you were being treated for depression with interpersonal therapy, the first few sessions, usually from one to three weeks, would be used for assessing your depression, orienting you to the IPT focus and process, and identifying specific interpersonal issues or problems you have. Together, you and the therapist would create a record of your interpersonal issues, rank them, and decide which one or two issues seemed most important to address in terms of your depression.
At least the next eight sessions would be focused on addressing those issues — understanding them more, looking for adjustments that you can make, and then applying those adjustments. Throughout this portion of the therapy, the therapist would use a number of different techniques, including among others:
Clarification, which has the purpose of helping you recognize and get beyond your own biases in understanding and describing your interpersonal issues.
Encouragement of affect, which is a process that will let you experience unpleasant or unwanted feelings and emotions surrounding your interpersonal issues in a safe therapeutic environment. When you do, it becomes easier to accept those feelings and emotions as part of your experience.
The entire focus of the sessions will be on addressing the identified issues. This is hard for some individuals to get used to — especially those who are familiar with more traditional, open-ended and introspective approaches to therapy. It may take you several weeks before your own primary focus shifts to the IPT approach.
Another important aspect of the IPT process is an emphasis on terminating therapy. From the beginning the patient is aware that therapy is defined by a limited amount of time. In the final four or so weeks of therapy, the sessions will turn to termination issues.
With IPT, termination of therapy is seen as a loss to be experienced by the patient. So you would be asked to consider what the loss means to you. What issues does it bring up, and how can you apply the interpersonal adjustments that you’ve learned to make over the course of therapy to evaluating and getting through the loss? The idea is for the patient to become more aware of his or her ability to deal with interpersonal problems that have kept him or her from being able to actively manage the symptoms of depression.
Can IPT Work in a Group Setting?
There are several advantages to interpersonal therapy being applied to group therapy. First, the members of the group have an opportunity to learn through observing what other members in the group are learning. Learning also takes place through a process of modeling the adjustments and behavior of others in the group. There is also more opportunity to see various types of interpersonal interactions and associations. These can help the individual better understand various approaches to making interpersonal adjustments.
Before you would join a group, you would have one or two individual sessions in order to learn about the group process. You would also use those sessions to identify the one or two interpersonal issues that you will want to focus on during therapy.
Initially, the group would go through a process of engagement. This would involve identifying the common goals and common focus of the group. The therapist would then facilitate the group’s establishment of a collaborative approach. That would be followed by members of the group differentiating themselves and figuring out how to work on their individual issues. During this second phase, conflicts are likely to arise and partnerships or alliances formed.
As the sessions progress, each individual’s focus would be addressed and both the therapist and the other group members would help that person learn how to adjust his or her approach to the issues. The therapist might suggest role playing or brainstorming to help find the right intervention. Or the therapist might suggest communication training among members of the group. When conflict arises between group members, the therapist will often allow the group members to resolve it themselves while serving as a mediator to help avoid excessive negativity or criticism.
As with the individual therapy, termination is an important part of the process. There is still the same sense of loss, and members of the group are asked to confront that loss and to make themselves aware of the evolution of their own adjustments and how to use them to manage symptoms that may emerge when the sessions end.
What Happens After Interpersonal Therapy Ends?
Because depression is sometimes a recurrent condition, and because some people may experience multiple recurrences, patients are encouraged to supplement IPT with ongoing maintenance. Maintenance takes the form of once-monthly sessions in which the adjustments made during the short-term IPT are reinforced. The goal is to prevent the stress of increased social interaction from leading to new episodes of depression, and to help the individual continue to function at least at the level he or she was at when regular sessions ended.
Repetition for Emphasis i know. But we will say it again.
Taking time out to pray daily is THE MOST POWERFUL form of therapy.
Let’s talk about common sense to aid your recovery from depression and anxiety.
Do you smoke?
Smoking can cause anxiety.
Do you drink?
Drinking is a depressant and can lead to addiction (self-medication) to mask your depression and anxiety.
Healthy daily habits as mentioned above, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, meditation, hypnotherapy, taking daily supplements such as fish oil, 5HTP and other supplements above, seeing a CBT specialist or other therapist will really help your recovery and finally overcome your depression and anxiety.