Depression is quite a common psychological disorder that can lead to serious and sometimes tragic outcomes. Millions of people (especially in the western world) suffer from depression. It is noteworthy that depression has been known for more than 2,000 years and people have already managed to identify its symptoms. At the same time, people are still unaware of particular causes of the disorder (Beck & Alford, 2014). Nonetheless, it is clear that it is a stress-related disorder and people have identified many causes of depression. For instance, conflicts, personal problems, loss or death and so on are the most common reasons of depression. Some drugs can also cause depression (Beck & Alford, 2014). Substance abuse is another factor that contributes greatly to development of depression. Luckily, there are also quite many types of treatment to address this health problem (Beck & Alford, 2014). It has been estimated that people often prefer drugs to other types of depression treatment even though other types of treatment are equally (or even more) effective. It is possible to consider some types of non-medication treatment of depression to understand their benefits.
First, it is important to debunk the myth that pharmaceutical treatment is the most effective and the only possible option. In severe cases of depression and when the disorder is caused by certain health conditions, drugs are quite effective. However, in many cases, therapy is much more efficient especially when it comes to development of self-esteem and motivation (Beck & Alford, 2014). More so, antidepressants as well as other drugs aimed at relieving symptoms of depression often have numerous side effects and many people cannot take the drugs due to many reasons (for example, allergies) (Saisan, Smith, & Segal, 2015). Notably, non-medication types of depression treatment are not associated with these limitations.
An effective alternative to medication is therapy. Therapists can help people identify symptoms of depression and find a way to relieve them. Clearly, therapy requires significant time as well as willingness of the patient. However, the results are really remarkable, as patients’ mood improves. Such feelings as hopelessness, fear, anger, restlessness disappear as a result of efficient therapy. Saisan et al. (2015) note that therapy should often be used alongside with social support. Thus, the patient’s family and friends should actively help him/her overcome the problem.
Apart from that, lifestyle plays an important role in the process as well. Therapists often help depressed patients change their lifestyles, which is an important element of treatment. Thus, proper diet and exercise are crucial when addressing depression. Physical activities positively affect people’s physical and psychological state. Beck and Alford (2014) emphasize that exercise reduces fatigue and can effectively resist stress. Of course, physical activities positively affect sleep patterns, which is important as depressed people often have sleep disorders that contribute to bad mood, anxiety, nervousness and so on.
Nutrition is also seen as an important contributor to people’s mood (Saisan et al., 2015). The recent research shows that probiotics can be affectively utilized as a part of depression treatment. Dinan & Quigley (2011) note that eating yoghurt with probiotics is an effective strategy that contributes significantly to reducing depression. Thus, people who consume yoghurt with probiotics have better mood and a more positive attitude. Furthermore, it is also crucial to develop certain daily routine that distracts people from bad thoughts (Saisan et al., 2015). These can be hobbies or participation in the social life of the community.
As has been mentioned above, depression is stress-related and, hence, changing environment as well as avoiding stress is another important measure. Having a short vacation or travelling (even if it is a visit to a relative living in the other part of the city) can have a significant positive impact. Of course, many patients do not have an opportunity to leave their homes or get even a short vacation. There are options for such people as well. Such relaxation techniques as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and massage can significantly reduce symptoms of depression (Saisan et al., 2015). It is important to note that researchers in many fields are still working on the issue and come up with new ideas on depression treatment.
In conclusion, it is necessary to stress that many depression treatment strategies exist and people are free to choose the ones they find the most effective. If a person finds medication the most effective way, he/she may choose this type of treatment. However, it is also important to remember that depression is not a virus or bacterium but it is a psychological disorder. Therefore, therapy and proper lifestyle are the most effective methods to treat the disorder. They do not have side effects and enable people to have a healthy and happy life. People should not choose drugs due to this treatment’s availability and easiness (there is nothing easier than to take a pill). This approach is unlikely to be effective as depression is a complex issue and it needs quite complex treatment.
Beck, A.T., & Alford, B.A. (2014). Depression: Causes and treatment. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Dinan, T.G., & Quigley, E.M. (2011). Probiotics in the treatment of depression: Science or Science fiction? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 45(12), 1023-1025.
Saisan, J., Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2015). Depression treatment.