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About half of depressed people do not receive the care they need. Barriers to receiving care include not believing your symptoms are severe enough to merit treatment, lack of hope that treatment will help, inability to identify or physically get to the centers where care is available, cost of treatment, and the stigma or discomfort associated with being treated for a mental disorder.
It is important not to be your own worst enemy in this regard. If you feel miserable, get help. Don’t worry about whether your misery is severe enough to “deserve” professional attention. Even if you don’t believe that treatment can help, rather than stay depressed, give treatment the benefit of the doubt.
When getting help is simply a matter of logistics, new technologies for delivering care may provide a solution. There are many telephone- and online-based treatments available. These include programs called MoodGYM and BluePages. Most of them are based on the model of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but online therapist matching services such as BetterHelp.com let you choose what kind of therapist to connect with and how you want to interact (e.g., by phone, chat, or video chat).
There are even smartphone apps that can help you, such as one called Mobilyze. This clever app detects signs of depression based on your location, activity level, social interactions (phone calls, emails, and texts), and mood, and then makes suggestions to help bring you out of your funk, such as calling or visiting a friend.
Several online forums and support groups also are available for depression sufferers, such as MoodNetwork.org. Many of these are free of charge to join.
Internet-Based CBT An Effective Treatment
Online therapy has great potential to help people who, for any number of reasons, are not able to regularly attend face-to-face sessions with a therapist. But does it work just as well? Several studies have looked at the impact of self-guided internet-based psychotherapy. In one promising analysis of the available research out of Indiana University in Bloomington, investigators reviewed 21 studies looking at how effective internet apps that use self-guided CBT-based approaches to treat depression are. The data suggest that not only is this strategy effective, it is even helpful for people with severe depression. Many experts had assumed that CBT-based apps might only be helpful for those with milder forms of the condition. In general, internet-based CBT was about as effective as face-to-face CBT and antidepressants.
For more information about depression symptoms and treatment, purchase Overcoming Depression from University Health News.