After reading the previous two articles in this series about depression and social phobia, you may be wondering how mental health professionals address the unique issues relevant to people with either (or both) disorders. You may also want to know what kinds of strategies you can practice on your own to improve your mental well-being.
Professional Treatment for Depression
Once someone is formally diagnosed with depression by a licensed healthcare worker, he or she should be presented with a variety of treatment options.
Because depression has gained more prevalence and recognition, there are more methods of treatment available today than in the past.
Prescription medication and/or therapy are the two most commonly recommended forms of treatment for mild to moderate depression. WebMD has a list of common antidepressants which explains how they work and what kinds of side effects they can have.
A form of psychotherapy may be used to treat a person with depression. Therapy can help someone with depression to take control of his or her life by examining thoughts and behaviors which may contribute to an unhealthy state of mind. Therapy also teaches depressed people how they can actively change their bad habits into good ones and improve their quality of life.
Professional Treatment for Social Phobia
Similarly to people with depression, social phobics can be treated with antidepressants and psychotherapy. They may also
Supplemental Techniques to Try for Depression and Social Phobia
Cognitive restructuring is defined in the Social Anxiety Disorder section of About.com as “A cognitive-behavioral therapy technique used to identify and correct negative thinking patterns.” The site further describes cognitive restructuring as “altering negative automatic thoughts that occur in anxiety-provoking situations […] by replacing them with more rational beliefs.”
Lifestyle changes like starting a regular, consistent exercise plan, eating healthy, and joining a club or organization to socialize and meet new people are also recommended for people with low-grade depression. Exercise releases endorphins which elevate mood, and taking care of your body with a balanced diet can also improve mood and self-esteem.
These lifestyle changes are also good for people with social anxiety disorder. Joining an organization or special interest group allows social phobics to get used to regularly interacting with people in a relaxed environment. Exercise and healthy eating habits can also boost mood and confidence level for people with social phobia. Group exercise and exercise classes can be physically beneficial and socially stimulating.
Final Thoughts and Suggestions for People with Depression, Social Phobia
If you’re interested in working to improve your mental health, visit Everyday Health to learn more about cognitive restructuring and how you can use it to start healing.