Choose Psychotherapy: Another Treatment Option

I blog for World Mental Health DayAs mental health advocates observe and blog about World Mental Health Day today, the American  Psychological Association (APA) wants to draw attention to psychotherapy as an effective treatment option for depression and other mental health issues.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects more than 350 million people globally.  And in the United States, an estimated one in ten adults report having depression. Mental health problems lead to more than 150 million visits to doctors’ offices, clinics and hospital outpatient departments each year, making it one of the top three reasons why Americans seek medical treatment. Between 1996 and 2008, the number of prescriptions for antidepressants more than doubled from 55.9 million to 154.7 million.

Unfortunately, even though countless studies show that psychotherapy helps people living with depression and anxiety, drug therapy has become the most popular, and often the only, course of treatment prescribed over the past decade. In light of this trend, APA launched a psychotherapy awareness initiative this Fall to educate consumers about psychotherapy’s effectiveness and encourage them to ask their physicians about it as a treatment option. The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertisements for pharmaceuticals, including antidepressant, antianxiety, and antipsychotic medications. Because of this, psychotherapy is often eclipsed by rampant drug ads, which claim that a pill can lift the cloud of depression. In part to counter the billions spent on drug advertising yearly, APA is providing resources on how psychotherapy works and how to talk to your physician about getting started. While medication can be an important
part of the overall treatment approach for some, the key to good mental and physical health isn’t a magic pill; rather, it is achieved through hard work and commitment by the patient and a trained psychotherapist. To bring this point home, APA’s efforts also include a video series about a fictional miracle drug called “Fixitol,” which parody the drug ads and draw attention to the value of psychotherapy as a treatment option.

From research, we know that psychotherapy is an effective way to help people make positive changes to improve their health and well-being. Compared with medication, psychotherapy has fewer side effects and lower instances of relapse when discontinued. With the right information, more people with depression, anxiety, and chronic illness can explore the variety of treatment options available, and can create a plan that gives them the skills they need to manage their condition more effectively.

We hope that our educational efforts to raise awareness of the safety, effectiveness, and enduring effects of psychotherapy will encourage those who need mental health services to consider psychotherapy as a valuable tool in their recovery. And, a special thanks to a few of the bloggers who have written about APA’s Psychotherapy Initiative so far:

Sanz Plans

Dr. Stephanie

Psychotherapy Finances

Visit www.apa.org/psychotherapy to learn how psychotherapy can help in treating depression and watch the video series, Psychotherapy: More Than a Quick Fix. Join the conversation about psychotherapy on Twitter (@apahelpcenter), use hashtag #therapyworks.

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14 Responses to “Choose Psychotherapy: Another Treatment Option”

  1. Becky   July 2, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Hi Katherine, many of my family members have also suffered from depression. I will share your website and video with them as you suggested.

  2. Katherine Nordal   June 27, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Thank you for your post. Please spread the word and feel free to share our video and materials with friends and colleagues.

  3. Robinson Victoria   June 27, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Superb demonstration through the video!Psychotherapy is getting popular and getting wide recognition not only for treating people suffering from stress,anxiety but also bringing out the positivity to look at the things around them.Psychotherapy is often misconstrued as a treatment given only for mental disorders and hence people hesitate to admit or even discuss about stress,depression in public.I hope this post and video clear out the doubts from the minds of masses and reach out to many who truly are in need of it.

  4. Floriana   June 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Many of my family members have suffered from depression on and off over the years. Two years ago I started going to therapy and was able to stop taking my medication. This in turn made me more alert and a happier person. I highly recommend therapy as an alternative to meds.

  5. Valeria   May 17, 2013 at 1:29 am

    The most common treatment for depression includes the combination of antidepressant medicine and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is sometimes called “talking therapy.” It is used to treat mild and moderate forms of depression. Psychotherapy can be done on an individual or group basis and can include family members and spouses. It is most often the first line of treatment for depression. Medicines are commonly used to treat depression. Your family doctor can prescribe the medications or refer you to a psychiatrist. The medications are chosen based on your symptoms. The cost of medicines and potential side effects are important considerations when choosing this type of treatment for depression. I think it’s important to educate the public about the benefits of psychotherapy.I am really support your post. Thanks.

  6. Smith   March 21, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Great post, totally agree with you, As we see the current growth of Psychotherapy is growing day by and day and the treatment is very effective , and have seen many cases where psychotherapy is become must in the treatment. thanks for sharing.

  7. child psychology   November 3, 2012 at 5:59 am

    I am totally in support of this post!Psychotherapy is effective in treating certain types of psychological problems, it also teaches skills that arm people with new strategies to deal more effectively with problems if they arise again in the future.

  8. Danny Ford   November 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I think it’s important to educate the public about the benefits of psychotherapy. It’s important to recognise that the therapeutic relationship is a central aspect of the process and therefore it’s important that people have options when they seek therapy so that they are able to choose a therapist who is right for them.

  9. Core energetics   October 12, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Thanks for posting such a wonderful post on depression.I am in total agreement with depression is such a harmful disease which in general people took lightly and are not aware of the long term side effects that depression can cause.
    Generally it is the tendency of the people they are little hesitant to visit the psychiatrist and take it as a life phase which will pass on with the time but they are unaware of the fact that in which mud they are getting into.

    I think the best possible solution is to make people aware of the symptoms of this disease and same education should be given to the family members of the patient ,because their cooperation is needed in order to cure the person.

  10. Purple Dreamer   October 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Thank you for this post. I didn’t realize that most other countries do not allow the blatant pharmaceutical advertising that floods the airwaves of the American media.

    Psychotherapy has saved my life, and that, in conjunction with appropriately prescribed medication through my doctor, have helped me start the learning process on living life!

    • ymyb   November 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

      Thanks for reading and sharing your story with us..