Do You Need Individual Therapy, Medication, or a Combination to Treat Depression?

If you are suffering from depression and have had changes in your behavior, appetite, energy levels, and/or self-esteem, you should reach out to your doctor for help. Your doctor may refer you to a therapist, prescribe medication, or recommend both treatments concurrently. While only you and your doctor can figure out your individual needs, you may be wondering what the advantages are of each treatment route. Read on for more information.

What are the Advantages of Individual Therapy?

While depression can be caused by chemical imbalances in the body, it can also be triggered by prolonged work stress, chronic illness, poor relationships, long-term isolation, and so on. The great advantage of individual therapy is that you get one-on-one time to address the root cause of your depression and/or any triggers that may exacerbate your symptoms.

If you are extremely sensitive to medication or have had bad experiences with withdrawal in the past, you may be looking for natural health care options and conservative treatments. Although it may take a little while to find a good fit with your therapist, a benefit of therapy is that you can focus on behavioral changes without worrying about drug interactions or side effects. In fact, one study found that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) could be an effective alternative for antidepressant medications.

What Are the Advantages of Medication?

If you've been experiencing lengthy symptoms of depression and individual therapy isn't enough, your doctor may recommend medication. While antidepressants aren't a good fit for mild cases of depression, they can be helpful for people with severe or chronic depression. While an antidepressant isn't a panacea, it can help some patients get over feelings of apathy so that they can function in their day-to-day tasks. Medication can help some people reduce anxiety, distressing thoughts, and insomnia.  

What Are the Advantages of Both Therapy and Medication?

If you don't want to stay on medication long term, then a combination of therapy and medication can be beneficial since a therapist can monitor your progress and help you safely wean off the drug when you're ready. If you have chronic depression but you also have stressors in your life that increase your symptoms, then a combination treatment of therapy and medication could be helpful to address biochemical imbalances and external sources of depression.

Reach out to a natural healthcare provider in your area to learn more about individual therapy sessions and how you can start treating your depression.