Tanya Ruckstuhl Valenti, LICSW

What is Depression?

“What is Depression?”
Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti

Recovery from depression is like that: you cannot give up and you have to try many new and different approaches, often more than once and with other variables adjusted as well, to find just the right one that works for you, and for your depression.

Depression, and the reinforcing thoughts that accompany it, appear to be a “learned response” much like riding a bicycle or driving a car. So it follows that if depression is a learned response it can also be unlearned with new skills and practice of those skills.

“What about drugs?”

Because depression can be life threatening, using simultaneous treatment approaches (meaning: making more than one change at a time) is best. Therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes are all important. Some people respond to medication and don’t feel they need therapy. That’s okay, but symptom relief is not the same thing as resolution of the problem.

Within the framework of a multi-prong approach, medication is a valuable tool which can be used as a stepping stone to alleviate some of the deepest feelings of depression so therapy can be more effective. As a therapist, I do not believe that drugs alone are the answer because most of the clients who I see do not want to take them for the rest of their lives. However, for some people taking medication is as important and long term as it is for a diabetic to take insulin. But for many, medication is a temporary bridge that helps them across the abyss.

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