Depression is not a disease, so the promise of antidepressants as a cure just doesn’t hold water. That’s the assessment of James Gordon, and he should know. Jim is the author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey out of Depression.
So what really works? Here’s an example:
The key factor to successful treatment of depression without meds, according to Jim, is this—the client must take an active role in the process. Then any combination of complementary approaches like acupuncture, meditation and relaxation practices, sound nutrition, creative imagery, movement, and physical exercise are effective.
James Gordon is the founder and director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine and author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey out of Depression.
More about Depression, treatment, and alternatives to medication
Currently, the most common mental health disorder in America and one of the most costly depression racks up a staggering $54 billion a year in costs from work absenteeism, reduced productivity, lost earnings and treatment expenses, according to a 1995 study by the National Institute of Mental Health. Depression is also among the most medicalized of psychiatric diagnoses; indeed, family doctors, not psychiatrists, write up to 70 percent of antidepressant prescriptions, with a wide array of meds to choose from. With the lion’s share of mental health research dollars going into psychopharmacology during the past 15 years, there are now five major classes of antidepressants on the market. Seven new medications have been introduced within the last 10 years alone, and about 15 more are now being tested by the pharmaceutical companies.
But does the wide prevalence of depression, the staggering popularity of drugs to treat it and the obvious zeal for medicalizing the whole problem constitute prima facie proof that it is a disease? Can we now reduce the complex phenomena of depression, with all its emotional, cognitive, relational, social and biological elements, to a simple neuro-chemical mistake? Or is it possible that most depressed people are not “sick,” and that biology only represents one component in the reasons for their depression and the way they experience it?
Anxiety and depression are the two most common problems clients bring to psychotherapy today, but they remain some of the most challenging conditions to accurately and effectively assess and treat. With Networker articles and videos, you'll get practical advice to help you integrate today's most effective methods into your current clinical approach, and improve your client outcomes. Here are some other Psychotherapy Networker resources you might find useful:
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