This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp –
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Affecting over 16 million Americans, depression is a severe mood disorder that can cause difficulty in functioning, social relationships, and motivation. Unfortunately, when it comes to identifying symptoms and treating the illness, there’s still a negative stigma that surrounds going to therapy and reaching out to mental health care professionals for assistance. These problematic stereotypes can lead some people to question if therapy can help with working through depression.
It’s important to remember that like many mental health conditions, depression is a scale from occasional symptoms to severe and constant debilitating. However, regardless of how often and severely depression affects you, there are treatment options that can reduce these feelings. Therapy is one treatment that can reduce stress levels and provide you with the necessary problem-solving and coping skills.
Seeing a therapist about your symptoms can do more for you than simply confirming and diagnosing you with depression. While medications and further treatment programs are an option, regular visits to your therapist can often be just as effective for many people. Whether you’re looking for a place to vent, uncover underlying issues, or learn more about how you can improve days where you’re feeling “low”, therapy has many benefits for individuals with depression.
Depression is a significant contributor to higher stress levels. Therapy can help to reduce your stress levels in several ways. One of the most simple ways to reduce your stress is by talking through your problems with a therapist. This doesn’t mean it will “cure” your depression; instead, it helps you to walk through your thoughts, identifying potential triggers and targeting areas you can improve to minimize stressful situations.
By identifying stress-inducing behavior and situations, a therapist can help you learn more about what causes your reactions and provide some techniques that can lower stress. These can range from breathing exercises to recommending activities like acupuncture. While medications can also help to reduce your levels of stress, this route isn’t for everyone; talk with your mental health care provider about options that work for you.
Your therapist is trained and experienced in coaching you through problem-solving skills that can help you with common problems that may be caused or worsened by depression. This consists of avoiding or reducing stressful situations, combating negative thoughts, or even changing your lifestyle habits. With better problem-solving skills, you can reduce depression and anxiety during difficult circumstances or triggering moments.
It’s important to remember that therapy isn’t a “one size fits all” solution. Because each person has different lifestyles, capabilities, and relationships, while also varying in the severity of their depression, it can take time to find solutions that work for you. Instead, you and your counselor need to work together in order to find ways that can help you work through depression based on your specific circumstances.
Healthy Coping Mechanisms
When depression isn’t treated, some people may turn to negative coping and defense mechanisms. This can lead to problems like substance abuse, self-harm, and other disorders. By working with mental health care professionals, you can find healthy coping mechanisms that can reduce symptoms of depression.
Having healthy coping mechanisms is an important part of lessening the effects of depression and living a healthy, productive life. By practicing these methods, you can improve your motivation, social interactions, and lifestyle. For some people, coping mechanisms could be exercising regularly while others may start learning a new hobby to express themselves. Working with your counselor can help you find a coping mechanism that works best for you based on your interests, habits, and needs.
Growing Your Support System
Having a support system is an important part of growing and developing throughout your life. This group of individuals should make you feel comfortable talking about your frustrations, concerns, and general thoughts without feeling you may be judged or ridiculed. A support system can consist of friends, family members, and mental health care professionals. This is why it’s important for you to find a therapist that you’re comfortable with to express yourself.
Discussing your depression, the causes, and triggers can get very emotional at times and may require you to be vulnerable to this person. That’s why you need to find someone that provides a safe environment where you can open up and find ways to work through difficult situations and days. Therapy is a quality solution for treating depression, but it does take time. However, it can significantly improve your self-image, coping methods, and daily life.
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