When a person is confronted by an issue, any issue really, one of three things may happen.
- Ignore it
- Try to solve the problem themselves
- Seek others to help them solve it
There are many cases in which either of the three options in perfectly reasonable.
There are things in life that we can ignore without any consequences, and those are often not worth the hassle of sorting out.
On the other hand, some problems we can solve by ourselves reasonably well, either by researching the solution or using some knowledge or experience that we have acquired beforehand.
Then there are those problems that are out of our reach.
Maybe we really can’t solve them, or maybe we are just a bit lazy, but in those cases, we will seek help from others.
Treating depression and anxiety can actually fit any one of these categories.
You could ignore those mental disorders, you could try to overcome them by yourself, or you could seek professional help.
As it is, anxiety and depression only rarely go away by themselves, so should you decide to treat your disorders, you will probably apply either one of the other options.
Or both of them.
What is therapy?
When it comes to letting others help with anxiety and depression, the main idea that comes up is therapy.
Or more specifically, a form of therapy.
Either way, the broadest definition of the term “Therapy” is:
“The treatment of mental disorders by psychological rather than medical means.“
It is important to note that not all of forms of therapy, by definition, require the help of a licensed professional.
In fact, professional counseling and self-therapy (using practices of self-help to treat disorders) have their own advantages and disadvantages.
As you can see, the general definition is very broad, and as such there are many forms of therapy – Too many for us to discuss.
Here are a few of the more common types of therapy:
A standard practice of treatment, counseling is what most of us associate with the word “Therapy”.
The premise of counseling is to meet with a professional and discuss your problems with them.
The idea behind client-centered counseling is that the counselor doesn’t really talk, and for the most part listenes to the client’s problems.
In other words, the client is the one who leads the conversation.
After making sure that he understood the problems fully, the counselor will attempt to assist the client.
Either by suggesting solutions, providing tools to deal with the problem, providing support or leading the client’s thoughts into a more positive trail.
This type of counseling also acts as a method of coping with one’s thoughts and emotions.At times, simply having someone that listens and understands you can make a huge difference.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT for short, is a type of therapy that focuses on how your thoughts and actions affect your emotions and behavior.
The premise is that, when faced with an event that we perceive as negative, we will feel negatively towards it as well.
As a result of those negative feelings, you might act in a certain way as well.
CBT challenges this thought-emotion-action connection.
This can be done either through exposure to the source of your problems (exposure therapy), habit building, relaxation techniques and the like.
It should be noted that CBT is very self-help friendly.
in fact, A recent meta-analysis of 15 studies on the subject found no significant difference in the treatment outcomes for patients who saw a therapist and those who followed a self-help book or online program.
In other words, this practice of therapy can be done at home, and many solutions can be applied without expert opinion.
Furthermore, CBT is the most commonly used form of therapy when treating anxiety and depression disorders.
Humans are social creatures, our bond and sense of unity are what kept us alive as a species for so long.
Group therapy uses the power of these social links in order to treat mental disorders.
Group therapy is a practice of therapy that is done, well, in a group.
The people who are a part of the group meet for weekly sessions of therapy under a licensed professional.
These sessions can benefit the participants significantly.
The open environment of discussion allows the participants to get support from each other, as well the support of the therapist.
It makes sense.
After all, getting positive reinforcement from multiple people that suffer from problems similar to yours can arguably be more helpful than the input of a professional.
This method allows you to relate to others and let others relate to you.
It shows you that you are not alone and provides you with a place to share your feelings, but it isn’t perfect.
Not everyone can be a part of a group, and not every group can be an effective one.
Furthermore, this method takes away the focus from your particular problems, making the session as a whole less personal.
This can actually be either a good or a bad thing, depending on the person in question.
Psychotherapy is very similar to general counseling.
That is to say, you meet with a licensed professional for personal sessions.
In these personal sessions, you talk, express your problems, and are offered certain solutions in turn.
The difference is that psychotherapy offers medication as an added form of treatment, to go alongside the counseling.
These medications have a variety of effects on the body and the mind and are meant to further aid the process of treatment.
The medication changes certain patterns in the brain, something which makes it a lot easier to benefit from the advice provided and take action.
Can these methods of therapy help with anxiety and depression?
These methods are commonly used to treat anxiety and depression.
Be it with the help of therapists or through self-help methods.
But do they work?
After all, for all you know, these so-called experts know nothing and are only after your money!
Allow me to tell you right now: You have no reason to worry about that.
CBT is a wildly successful method, and there is more than enough evidence to back it up.
One study decided to test the effectiveness of CBT-based counseling in treating Social Anxiety.
This study included 75 participants, all of which were randomly registered for either CBT counseling or a waiting list.
After 16 sessions of individual CBT, the two groups were compared one to another.
The results showed that, compared to the waiting list, the CBT participants showed a greater reduction in negative emotions.
At the very least, this shows us that CBT is better than receiving no help at all.
Another study tested the effectiveness of group therapy on anxiety.
The participants were 31 individuals who were diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, social phobia, specific phobia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Out of the 31 participants, 17 completed at least 20 therapy sessions and have shown a significant reduction in their anxiety.
The effectiveness of antidepressants is also obvious, with recent studies reconfirming the effects of SSRI medication on depression.
A meta-analysis of 475 studies of the effectiveness of psychotherapy and 112 studies of the comparative effects of psychotherapy and psychoactive drugs gathered that behavioral therapy is more effective than verbal therapy and that drug-based therapy isn’t more effective than regular, non-drag-based therapy.
Medication VS CBT
Ultimately, the comparison between all forms of therapy really boils down to whether or not you should take medications or not.
Sure, the answers that you seek may lie in group therapy, but the greatest concern among anxiety and depression sufferers is whether or not should they take medication to ease their symptoms.
Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, so here are the pros and cons that you should be looking for:
- Can be easily applied
- Does most of the work for you
- Side effects are common and dangerous
- You become reliant on your medication, and your disorder might come back should you stop taking it
- Is highly effective
- It is a long-term solution
- Can be done at home
- Doesn’t have any particular risks to it
- Takes a lot of hard work to pull off
- Results are not immediate
- Many experts do not have the training required to help you with CBT
You should meet with an expert
Regardless of anything that you might do afterward, you still need to meet with a professional and get properly diagnosed by them.
No form of therapy, or treatment for that matter, is perfect.
No solution can apply for everyone.
Some people will not benefit from personal counseling, and some will find that the only thing that really helps them is medication.
Still, if you want to treat your disorder, you should start with CBT as soon as possible.
It can be used by anyone, has no risk to it, and is arguably just as effective as psychotherapy.
As such, here are some of my personally recommended programs:
- For depression, I recommend the “Destroy Depression” program
- For anxiety, I recommend “Panic Away“
- And for Social anxiety specifically, I suggest “The Shyness & Social Anxiety System“
Although you can’t benefit from CBT the same way you can from counseling and medication, it is still an excellent place to start.
All of these programs are fully refundable, so there is very little reason not to try them out.
Before you go, here is a question to consider: What is your favorite form of therapy?
Be sure to write down your answers in the comments below, I read every single one of them!
If you got any questions you would like answered then I am always available via email.