Depression is a serious illness. If you think you might be depressed, be sure to see a doctor right away, as physicians are the only health professional who can diagnose the condition. If you have been diagnosed with depression, the health care team that will help you get better consists of many individuals, including yourself, your family doctor and nurses, your pharmacist, a psychiatrist, and a therapist.
It is important to find a therapist that you are comfortable with. A therapist might be a psychologist, social worker, or a nurse who is specially trained in helping people with mental health problems. Your family doctor can help you find a therapist, or you can engage the help of a local agency such as the Canadian Mental Health Association. Psychology Today has a website that lists therapists according to geographical location.
If you are a college or university student, chances are good that your campus has health services that you can use. Finally, you may want to call the local general or psychiatric hospital outpatient department to ask if they offer individual or group psychotherapy.
It is up to you to decide whether or not the particular therapist is the right one for you. Different therapists use various approaches. Some will use the cognitive-behavioural approach. This approach is aimed at trying to uncover the thought processes that are causing the negative thoughts associated with depression. Others will use an approach called interpersonal therapy. This approach helps people understand their problems associated with relating to other people, and focuses on trying to improve social functioning.
You should inquire about a particular therapist's approach when you first meet them. If you know right away that you are likely not to benefit from the approach, find a therapist that better meets your needs. Once you have chosen your therapist, be patient. It often takes several months for treatments such as counselling and medications to make a significant difference. Also be confident, because the majority of people who do undergo such treatment do get better.