Do Psychiatrists Always Prescribe Medication To Treat Depression?

Some people hesitate to work with psychiatrists to treat their depression because they're afraid the doctors will only prescribe medicine they don't need or want. However, medication is just one tool psychiatrists use to help patients overcome depression. Here are two other things the psychiatrist will try instead of or in addition to prescribing meds.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Also known as talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of mental health exercise that focuses on helping patients recognize problematic thinking and making adjustments to their thought processes that lets them manage situations more clearly and effectively.

For instance, a person suffers a setback of some kind and immediately begins berating themselves, which can make them feel bad and trigger a depressive episode. Using CBT, a therapist helps the person see how damaging their reactive thoughts are and teach them to pause and ask themselves a series of clarifying questions that lead to a more positive response.

CBT is a short-term therapy that involves little to no risk. However, it does involve making patients confront difficult emotions, thoughts, and issues that make them uncomfortable and anxious. However, one long-term benefit of engaging in CBT is you'll learn better and healthier coping mechanisms that can alleviate depression symptoms or make them a lot more manageable.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a type of reprogramming therapy where the psychiatrist uses a combination of physical and verbal techniques to lessen the impact of negative emotions. This therapy is commonly used on people who suffered traumatic events that caused PTSD, but anyone who is dealing with strong distressing emotions can benefit, including those suffering from severe depression.

A typical EMDR session involves the psychiatrist having the patient follow the path of their finger using only their eyes. The patient is then instructed to recall as much of the traumatic event they can remember. Afterward, the patient is lead to recall a more pleasant event.

The hypnotic effect of the eye movement coupled with the infusion of positive emotions blunts the negative emotions that arise when the patient thinks of the traumatic event. Over time, the negative emotions become weaker and weaker until they don't have as quite a bit impact on the patient as they used to, which may alleviate conditions related to the trauma, such as depression.

Like CBT, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is safe and has no side effects, but patients are required to relive troublesome memories. This may prove problematic for some people whose depression stems from trauma that's just too painful to deal with.

Luckily, psychiatrists have numerous tools they can use to assist patients with overcoming their depressive disorder, many of which can be implemented without the use of medication. To learn more about these or other therapies available, connect with a psychiatrist in your area.