How to Treat Depression Without Medication

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“Depression is often called the common cold of mental illness.” Many people argue that it is more effective to treat depression with medication, while others argue that such a common problem should be approached with a change in lifestyle rather than as a chemical issue.

While it takes more than a simple “lifestyle change” to effectively attack a medical issue such as depression, it is not more medication that this Country needs more of, but rather a greater awareness, better mental health education and greater access to therapy for those suffering from this condition. Depression is as much an organic, physiological issue as a broken bone or heart problem but because it cannot be "seen" it is often ignored, dismissed, mistreated or over-medicated by the vast majority of healthcare providers.  Today's HMO driven, medication dependent society tends to throw pharmaceutical "band-aids" at the problem of depression.  A more holistic, therapeutic approach, ideally involving the family/support system of the patient would, in the long run, be both a more effect and lasting treatment for the patient and more cost effective as well.  While depression can, in fact, be helped by the use of proper medications, any long-term treatment must include counseling/therapy and significant and lasting lifestyle changes.  

Depression is, in fact, the catalyst that has lead me to pursue my current academic and professional dream to become a Psychologist. It is also something that I have a great deal of personal experience with, both as a parent of a clinically depressed teenager and as a woman living with a depressive disorder myself. In my own personal experience, the majority of doctors tend to “throw medication” at the issue of depression, when in fact, for many patients, therapeutic counseling and psychotherapy is often all that is needed. This tendency to medicate first and counsel second, especially in teens, can be irreparably damaging. Psychological medications,...
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