So, when we talk about treatment for depression, what does that mean?
When we talk about how to “treat” depression, we cover what treatment is shown to be effective, what to expect in treatment, what kinds of professionals you may encounter, and a crash course on medication.
The first step should almost always be talk therapy. The types of professionals who provide talk therapy include psychologists, social workers and counselors.
Mental health professionals also work in schools, community mental health centers, hospitals, private practice offices and sometimes even in places of worship. Many of these places can also connect you with free or reduced fee services.
Why talk therapy?
Even if you are not 100% positive you have depression, it is okay to see a therapist anyway. It is the therapist’s job to help you understand what is causing your symptoms.
Therapists have different styles and different personalities and sometimes you may have to meet with a few different therapists before finding someone you feel comfortable working with.
During a talk therapy session, you talk, listen and learn new skills from the therapist to feel better and manage your depression.
Another important point about talk therapy is that what is said between you and your therapist is private. The only time a therapist may communicate what is talked about in therapy to others is if they believe their patient is in danger of hurting themselves or someone else.
How do you find a therapist? Check out:
In some cases, talk therapy alone is not enough. For a person with intense or persistent symptoms, depression medication can be used in addition to talk therapy. Only a doctor, like a pediatrician or psychiatrist, can prescribe medication. It is important to talk openly with a doctor about any experiences on medication. Doing so will help the doctor to prescribe the appropriate medication and dosage for you.
Treatment for depression is widely available and effective, but sometimes people feel ashamed about asking for help or telling someone that they think they may have depression. What everyone needs to know about depression is that it is not someone’s fault, a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It is a very common and treatable illness.
How do you start a conversation with an adult about treatment if you think you have depression? Asking for help can be challenging. You might feel nervous because you’re unsure of how to start the conversation or because you’re afraid of what the other person will think of you.
However, asking for help is the first step to getting better and, believe it or not, many of us have already had success with similar conversations in the past.
Think about a time when you have been sick with the flu and had to ask for help. Usually it involved talking to a parent about your symptoms, stating what you have already tried to do to feel better, how long the symptoms have been going on and asking for medicine or to see a doctor.
Asking for help for depression is really no different. Using these same ideas, we can be effective in getting others to understand what we need in order to move on to a healthy, happy and productive life – something we all deserve.
If you are worried about yourself, first explain to a trusted adult 1) the changes you feel, 2) what you have tried to make it better and 3) what they can do to help you take action towards seeking professional help.
For more information
For more information on depression, check out our Parent Handbook on Childhood and Teen Depression. Also, don’t forget to take a look at the rest of the Teen Toolbox – access more information on depression, prevention, thriving and how to help someone with depression.
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