Captain Teresa Della Monica
Captain Teresa Della Monica recently unveiled her battle with depression. As a child, Monica was determined and optimistic, but later in life things drastically changed. She divulged, it became more difficult, if not impossible, to surpass sadness. when suffering from depression, life seemed bleak and dark (Monica, 2018, p. 17) .
She recalls being emotionally and mentally absent in activities, even though she was physically present. Monica’s daily life was negatively influenced by the prolonged sadness that accompanies depression (Monica, 2018, p. 17-19). Unfortunately, Monica is only one of many people suffering from depression, which affects a shocking amount of people. The severe symptoms of the disorder influence how one feels, thinks, and functions in daily life. In some cases, depression makes it harder for a person to sleep or they will sleep too often. Other times, depression makes going to work and participating in day-to-day recreation a burden. No matter what way it influences a person’s life, depression is a serious mental disorder that can make life more difficult, even unbearable, for many people.
There are a few different types of depression, the most common being Major Depressive Disorder. Other types include Persistent Depressive Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some of these come only during certain times of the year, others are present almost constantly for an extended period of time. Depression, as a whole, is the most prevalent of mental disorders and can affect children, adolescents, or adults. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported, 322 million people worldwide live with depression (Depression, n.d., n.p.). This disorder has and continues to impact many lives, which is why researchers continue experimenting in hopes of discovering how to best win the battle.
In this quest for discovery, researchers have found multiple sources of treatment for depression. One of the most well-known types of treatment is the prescription of antidepressant medication (or ADM). ADM is a grouping of medications known for improving the symptoms of depression. Although antidepressants are the current standard, newer forms of treatment are increasing in popularity. One modern treatment is participation in yoga.
In a Harvard Mental Health Letter, some of the benefits of yoga, such as reduction of stress and aid in managing symptoms, are revealed to assist in the treatment of depression and anxiety (Harvard Health Publishing, 2018, n.p.). Another, more common form of treatment is therapy. There are a variety of therapies used in treating depression, such as Interpersonal therapy, Behavior therapy, and Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, but the most widely practiced of these is Cognitive Behavior therapy. This specific form of talk therapy helps one become aware of negative thinking or behavior, so they can make a change that will influence their life for the better. Cognitive Behavior therapy is better for treating depression than antidepressant medication.
ADM puts one at a higher risk of relapse. When a person achieves a respite from depression they have the option of ending their ADM prescription, but this cancellation puts the person at risk of relapsing.
Authors DeRubeis, Siegle, and Hollon (2008) stated:
Those who recover from depression with ADM but then discontinue the treatment have a risk of experiencing a new episode of depression (recurrence) that is 3 to 5 times the risk of a member of the general population experiencing a first episode of depression. (p. 788)
A person may stop their ADM treatment, then two months later begin to experience the relapse symptoms. Those traits are often similar to normal depressive features, such as social withdrawal, fatigue, physical pain, and increased irritability. The patient’s symptoms of depression often fade with the use of ADM, but when treatment is terminated, he or she has an increased risk of relapse.
The chance of recurrence in depressive symptoms may be evident, but ADM has been proven effective in treating those with the disorder. Studies show, ADM works faster than Cognitive Behavior therapy. In one particular study, three groups were examined (one receiving ADM, one Cognitive therapy, and the other a placebo-controlled group). After a few weeks, 50% response rates were observed in the ADM group, 43% in the therapy group, and a mere 25% in the placebo group (Cognitive Therapy vs. Medications, 2005, p. 11). The ADM response rates demonstrated faster action in the treatment.
In the article outlining this study, the authors reported, There is substantial evidence that antidepressant medications treat moderate to severe depression effectively (Cognitive Therapy vs. Medications, 2005, p. 11). Although ADM is clearly successful, the researchers in the study concluded that Cognitive therapy works as well as ADM. They came to this conclusion based on the results, which showed that Cognitive Behavior therapy and ADM remission rates were extremely similar.
Researchers have conducted many studies showing the effectiveness of both ADM and Cognitive Behavior therapy. These studies also demonstrate the long-lasting effects of each treatment. The study previously described brought researchers to surmise that those who received therapy were able to stop the treatment with a minimal risk of relapsing, while those taking medication had to continue with treatment after reaching remission due to high risks of relapsing. According to the study, those receiving therapy were no more likely to relapse than those who were still taking antidepressants. People on antidepressants had higher relapse rates when medication was discontinued (Therapy vs. Medications for Depression, 2006, p. 21). One that receives therapy, can terminate treatment knowing they are much less likely to have a recurrence in their depression because Cognitive Behavior therapy has more long-lasting results than those of ADM.
The use of ADM in treatments takes up a lot of time and effort. When one takes any form of medication they normally have to stick to a schedule, taking ADM is no different. In an article comparing the benefits of Cognitive therapy to those of ADM, the authors claim, It requires strict adherence to a medication schedule and repeated visits to your doctor to monitor response. [plus,] It may take some time to find the right medication at the right dose (Cognitive Therapy vs. Medications, 2005, p. 21). The process of finding a correct dosage and repeated doctor visits consumes a considerable amount of one’s time. Also, once a person reaches the point of little to no demonstrated symptoms, the prescription is not often terminated. The patient then must continue a strict medication schedule, taking up even more time. ADM treatment is a long, time-consuming process.
Cognitive Behavior therapy is a better form of treating patients with depression than the use of ADM. Of course, ADM has been proven as an effective treatment, often working much faster than therapy, but ADM uses up a copious amount of the patient’s time. Also, Cognitive Behavior therapy lowers the risk of relapse in patients after termination of treatment. Therapy also has more beneficial long-term effects, helping symptoms of depression diminish or disappear altogether. The use of therapy in treatment for depression is an excellent idea and can help one suffering with depression maintain a happier and more fulfilling life.