Depression & Anxiety: Treatment
There are many treatments for depression and anxiety including prescription drugs, talking therapy, and natural remedies. What works for one person may not work for another as everyone's body and life are different, so finding a cure that works for you can sometimes take time, trial and error.
Anxiety: What are the best treatments?
While it can be distressing and debilitating, the good news is that anxiety is treatable, and there are several evidence-based approaches available to help those seeking relief - many of which are available here at Healing Roots Counselling & Psychotherapy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is one of the most widely recommended treatments for anxiety in the UK. CBT helps individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviours to reduce anxiety levels. At Healing Roots, CBT techniques are integrated into counselling to provide effective relief, without the drawbacks of traditional CBT which some experience, such as being "cold", "too structured", or "narrow-focused".
In some cases, medication can be prescribed by your GP to manage anxiety symptoms effectively. The most commonly prescribed medications include antidepressants (to increase serotonin), benzodiazepines (as short-term-use sedatives), and beta-blockers (which reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety such as rapid heart rate and trembling).
Mindfulness and mindfulness-based therapies are increasingly used in the UK to treat anxiety. Mindfulness emphasises being fully present in the moment and cultivating non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts, which in turn can reduce anxiety levels. At Healing Roots, mindfulness practice and techniques can be integrated into your counselling if you feel it may be a good fit for you.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
ACT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on accepting uncomfortable emotions and thoughts rather than trying to avoid or control them. It encourages individuals to identify their values and take action towards living a meaningful life. I often incorporate values and techniques from ACT into counselling, helping you to break the cycle of anxiety to live a more calm and contented life.
Participating in online and local support groups can be a valuable supplement to individual therapy. Being part of a group of individuals who share similar experiences can provide a sense of belonging and validation. Support groups offer a safe space to share experiences, learn from others, and offer support to fellow members.
Regular physical activity is known to have a positive impact on anxiety. This doesn't mean you need to purchase a gym membership or do anything out of your ability, but any movement is good. Engaging in exercise can help reduce stress, improve mood, and promote overall well-being.
Avoidance is a key way that anxiety is maintained. By avoiding the things that make us anxious, we never learn to overcome the fears we have. Exposure is an extremely effective way to reduce anxiety, and exposure exercises can be gradually incorporated into your counselling sessions at Healing Roots if this is something you would like to try.
Both a quick fix and a long-term solution, incorporating healthy lifestyle practices, such as a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and stress-reduction techniques, can significantly reduce anxiety. Reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption can also be beneficial.
Depression: What are the best treatments?
While its impact can be profound, it is essential to recognise that depression is treatable. In the UK, there are several effective and evidence-based treatment options available to help individuals find relief, and embark on a journey towards recovery. Healing Roots Counselling & Psychotherapy confidently provides treatments tailored to your needs, to safely and effectively help you to reduce and manage your symptoms.
Counselling and psychotherapy such as integrative counselling, CBT and CfD can provide an outlet to discuss feelings, change unhelpful ways of thinking, and give people strategies to recognise triggers, and prevent and cope with symptoms of depression. Healing Roots Counselling & Psychotherapy provides effective and confidential integrative therapy for depression, backed by modern research.
Although it isn't for everyone, medication can be a valuable tool for managing depression. I often compare it to a life jacket, it may not fix the root cause of the problem, but it will keep you afloat while you figure it out. Antidepressant medications are commonly prescribed to regulate neurotransmitters in the brain that influence mood. They may take several weeks to show their full effect and your progress should be closely monitored by a healthcare professional, such as your GP, as you may need to try different ones until you find one that works for you.
Like anxiety, mindfulness is growing in popularity as a treatment for depression as more research comes out showing its effectiveness. Mindfulness and mindfulness-based therapies help you to focus on living in the moment and noticing your thoughts, rather than getting stuck dwelling on the past, or unhelpful ways of thinking. Mindfulness practice and techniques can be integrated into your counselling here if you feel it may be helpful.
Behavioral Activation (BA) is a therapeutic approach that encourages individuals to engage in positive and rewarding activities. By gradually reintroducing enjoyable activities into daily life, individuals can counteract feelings of hopelessness and withdrawal commonly associated with depression. BA is one of the many techniques I may use during counselling to help you to overcome your depression.
Local and online support groups offer a safe and empathetic environment where participants can share their experiences, emotions, and challenges related to depression. By connecting with others who understand their struggles, individuals in support groups can feel less alone, and the sense of belonging and validation can help them to feel understood.
Exercise, even if you can only do light or seated activity, is an extremely effective way to treat depression. In fact, studies have shown that it can be as effective as antidepressants, without any of the side effects. Whether it's a sport, weight lifting, a walk or jog, dance, or something else, if you can find an activity that you enjoy it could be an effective way to see change.
If you aren't sleeping enough, are eating a lot of unhealthy food, and/or are repeatedly engaging in stressful situations, after some time depression may occur or get worse. Simple things like cutting out stress where possible, eating healthier foods, getting enough sleep, and even taking regular baths can be immensely powerful for treating depression.