Jonathon Rottenberg in his work, The Depths: The evolutionary origins of the Depression Epidemic tells us that
“The mood system has a bias to return to deep depression even with little provocation. Fortunately relapse is not inevitable and it can be countered. Antidepressant medication is currently the domionant strategy for buffering a person’s risk of relapse. Using antidepressants as the first line of defense is consistent with defect models, such as the biological model of kindled depression. In line with the idea that drugs address a permanent viability, psychiatrists often recommend a life time of antidepressant maintenance treatment for people who have previously experienced three or more episodes.”
This same author goes on to share how antidepressants aren’t the only proven means for slowing down or preventing depression. In this section of his book he goes on to explain how other treatments such as cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy provide alternate care . He explains how “the success of brief, psychologically based treatments is encouraging not only because the treatment works, but because it speaks against the existence of a permanently brain-based vulnerability to depression.”
With all that has been said here, I would like to add another reality and alternative for treatment of depression. Simply put, the treatment occurs in the midst of those persons depressed who share their struggles with each other. They are no longer alone, shamed and existing on the margins of those who are needing understanding and support. The group not only can provide moral and physical support, they can be buoyed by a spiritual l belief that a God of their understanding, a Higher Power, is guiding them on the path of their own recovery. They not only have other members of the group walking the same path as are they, but this support is buttressed by having a personal plan of action.
For those of us who are active members of Depressed Anonymous, we know first hand how our Twelve Step plan of action provides us all with a way out of depression. Whether we happen to be on antidepressants, in a therapy program, or other forms of help, we discover that being in the midst of a group of person like ourselves, and receiving mutual aid for our own individual pain, it makes it possible to be positive about our recovery. We are not alone. We now have the tools and we have each other. As we all are so much aware, it is the being dis-connected from life and others that makes our life hell. For most of us, it is in the being dis-connected that drives us deeper into isolation and personal despair.
If you the reader are depressed, and you are visiting with your doctor, ask her if she has a depression support group that she might refer you to. You can tell her that it makes sense to talk with someone who has been were you are now. It takes one to know one!
As a therapist, it was always my practice to refer clients to a Depressed Anonymous group. Those who kept coming back to meetings had a plan in hand that was not only providing hope but the tools for living outside the prison of depression. We need health professionals to be able to provide their patients with other mental health opportunities as alternatives to traditional approaches to depression or in conjunction with them.
Have a hopeful day.
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.
Go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore, at VISIT THE STORE for this and other helpful books on depression. You can order material online