Depression is extremely debilitating and has far-reaching consequences. The sooner it is treated, the better. These therapies and points of contact can help.
Depression is the most common mental illness. A wide range of therapies that use different treatment methods is available. Here are the key points:
Under certain circumstances, mild depression goes away by itself. However, without treatment, the illness lasts longer, can recur again at a later point in time or can become chronic. The decisive factor is the level of suffering: how much does the illness impact the affected person’s work, everyday life and free time? Professional help for depression is required when the life of the affected person and their relatives is severely impacted or if they have suicidal thoughts.
Do you think that you might be depressed? Our self-test can help you to get a better idea of the situation.
Depending on the level of severity, treatment usually combines psychotherapy and antidepressants. Complementary medicine such as acupuncture, shiatsu, herbal medicine and relaxation techniques for dealing with stress, such as mindfulness training (MBSR), are measures that can help.
In addition, many people affected by depression find physical and creative forms of therapy, such as art, creative, movement and music therapy, helpful. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options. Our health consultation team will be happy to help you. Please note that not all types of therapy are covered by your insurance.
Our health consultation advisors will show you how you can recognise, prevent and treat depression. We’ll also help you find a recognised therapist.
Psychotherapy treats mental problems that disrupt a person’s thoughts, feelings and actions. It can be carried out either as inpatient or outpatient treatment at a clinic, individually or in a group.
There are various types of psychotherapy. Every type of therapy is based on its own theory and has different treatment approaches. Behaviour therapy is one of the most common and researched psychotherapies. It involves finding new strategies for solving problems and practising beneficial behaviours. Other types of therapy include psychodynamic psychotherapy and systemic therapy.
Basic insurance pays for 40 sessions of medical or delegated psychotherapy carried out by a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist employed by them. For non-medical psychotherapy, you need supplementary insurance; it must be medically prescribed, and the therapist must be recognised by Helsana:
Specialists prescribe antidepressants mostly for moderate to severe depression. Antidepressants ensure that the body gets the substances it needs that are important for its functioning, and ones that are often lacking when someone is depressed, primarily serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. Depending on the compound, they can have a motivating, mood-lifting, anxiolytic or calming effect. Antidepressants are always used in combination with psychotherapeutic measures.
The mood-lifting St. John’s wort is used to treat mild to moderate depression. Similar to chemical antidepressants, it balances the transmitters in the central nervous system. St. John’s wort can have side-effects with other medications, such as the contraceptive pill, and it cannot be combined with other antidepressants. Consult your doctor before taking St. John’s wort.
Light therapy can help with winter depression. Seasonal depression occurs in autumn and winter when the days are shorter and we get less sunlight. Because our bodies produce more of the sleep hormone melatonin when it is dark, we feel more tired during the day. Daylight increases the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin and ensures that the body produces less melatonin.
When daily walks in the fresh air are no longer enough, light therapy can be a good option. There are special daylight therapy lamps that have at least 10,000 lux. Light therapy involves looking at a light every morning for at least 30 minutes during the winter.
This depends on the symptoms, how the depression progresses and the individual situation of the person affected. Keep aware of yourself and others – and if you suspect depression, get help. Discuss any symptoms with your doctor.
Melissa Biedermann (MSc) works as a health consultation advisor at Helsana. She is committed to providing psychology services to our clients. Melissa Biedermann provided the editorial team with advice and input for this article.
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