Depression & Anxiety

Depression, or loss of interest in life and living, is a common mental health issue that has potentially serious consequences. On a continuum, effects can range from temporary and mild, to chronic and severe. Yet, depression is treatable, and treatment is well-researched. Research has demonstrated that cognitive therapy is at least as effective as antidepressant medication in alleviating symptoms.  Also, studies indicate that cognitive therapy is more effective than antidepressant medication in preventing future relapses.

A cognitive therapist follows a structure that guides clients through a process of learning and practicing skills, to alleviate problems and symptoms. After completing cognitive therapy, clients are less likely to suffer relapses, because they can choose to continue using the skills that they have learned in counseling. One benefit of cognitive therapy’s structure, compared with other therapeutic models, is that the time necessary to produce significant results is shortened.  In cognitive therapy, a full course of treatment is considered to be 14 to 16 sessions.

In addition to working with thoughts and beliefs, behavioral interventions are utilized.  It is common for a depressed individual’s activities to become restricted due to reduced motivation and energy. Clients are encouraged to schedule exercise and enjoyable daily activities at a level that they can tolerate, to help reduce their symptoms.

Clients are also assisted with the implementation of problem-solving skills. For example, people struggling with depression may feel overwhelmed by the thought of trying to deal with the problems they face. In cognitive therapy, clients are taught how to take a large task, and break it down into manageable, daily steps that are more easily accomplished. For more information about cognitive therapy for depression, see here.

Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans suffers from depression at some time?

We know that just as many do not seek treatment, and suffer needlessly because they are fearful, either that, “it will look bad,” or, because they have internalized the erroneous belief that, “seeking help is a sign of weakness.” Nothing could be farther from the truth! Seeking expert advice from a professional counselor is no different than consulting a doctor, or tax accountant. It’s smart. It makes sense. It is completely confidential, it can radically improve your life, and it takes courage!

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 325-944-2561.

Anxiety disorders can be temporary and acute, or more generalized. They may involve phobias or fears about specific things (fear of flying, or spiders, for example), or manifest as repetitive thoughts and behaviors that can turn into preoccupations, to the detriment of other areas of life.

People facing anxiety often experience and use procrastination as a coping mechanism, in the face of large goals and challenges. At the other end of the spectrum, people suffering acute and repeated stress may suffer panic attacks through feeling overwhelmed. These situations may cause people to experience negative consequences by ‘giving up’ too easily, leading to low self-esteem, and depression.

The roots of chronic anxiety are caused by a combination of environmental stress and neurological changes in the brain. Fear and other strong emotions can be triggered by overactive and hypersensitive brain circuitry. Triggers can evoke powerful memories. Also, anxiety can run in families, with a genetic disposition being triggered by a traumatic or stressful event.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is proven to be an effective treatment for anxiety. By utilizing a problem-solving approach, and teaching coping and relaxation skills, therapists can help clients become freer and more functional. Using successive approximations, clients can learn to manage the process of facing their fears in a safe and controlled way. For more infromation, see here

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 325-944-2561.

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