Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, for depression really started in the 1960’s with behavioral therapy treatments focusing on activity scheduling. CBT today still includes many of these early interventions. Activity scheduling, and its modern form, called behavioral activation, is based on the idea that individuals’ moods and activities are highly related. That is, when people become depressed, they tend to change what they do. For instance, individuals with depression might start to sleep more, spend more time isolating from others, and generally engage in less activity overall. Treatment, then, works to gradually increase individuals’ engagement in certain types of activities that have been found to relate to improved mood. These activities include activities that the individual enjoys (or used to enjoy before becoming depressed), important activities for general functioning (e.g., showering, paying bills, etc.), and activities that the individual values (e.g., spending time with their children, work-related activities, etc.). Treatment works by gradually increasing engagement in these types of activities, starting with activities that the individual does not find to be too overwhelming or difficult given their current level of functioning.
CBT for depression also often involves cognitive restructuring, which is the breaking down of cognitive distortions that allow persons to maintain negative beliefs about themselves and their environment. When individuals become depressed, they tend to see themselves, the world, and the future in very negative ways. CBT for depression restructures these automatic thoughts to be more positive, helping the patient to understand that feelings of negativity are unwarranted and, at times, simply incorrect.
CBT for depression has been examined extensively and is empirically supported, which has helped more treatment providers recognize it as a therapy that provides positive outcomes.
Treatment for depression may include more than CBT, such as antidepressant medications. Treatment plans vary from individual to individual depending on their unique symptom presentation. Family members and friends can have a very positive effect on treatment by encouraging patients to complete important parts of their treatment plan and praising them for the work they do in treatment.
Like any mental illness, there are barriers to treatment. Stigma, lack of insurance coverage, and availability of care all have an impact on the overall quality of treatment available for those with a depression diagnosis. Rogers Memorial Hospital exists to provide the best care possible for those with depression by providing numerous levels of care intensive outpatient care to inpatient acute care.
If you or someone you know is interested in depression treatment call 800-767-4411 or you can request a screening online.