Too many books, writings, web blogs, and personal accounts regarding depression have stated about the two options for depression treatment – pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Oftentimes, however, only a few people really know what’s the meaning behind these terms – save only those who are in the medical field.
For the benefit of those who are still ignorant about the two most commonly utilized methods of addressing depression problems, here’s the difference of the two.
Pharmacologic Depression Treatment
When you say pharmacologic depression treatment, it refers to the use of drugs or medications to treat the said condition. Pharma came from the Greek word ‘pharmakon’ that means drug or medicine.
When you say ‘pharmacologic depression treatment’, you can also convey its meaning by using another term such as ‘pharmacotherapy’. In the same sense, some doctors refer to this kind of treatment as ‘antidepressant therapy’ since the class of drugs used for treating depression is called – antidepressants.
An antidepressant is a drug that treats depression by increasing the level of certain chemical neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for one’s mood. These neurotransmitters are namely serotonin, norephinephrine, and dopamine.
Antidepressants also come is various drug classes depending on what neurotransmitter do they influence. There are SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Tricylcic Antidepressants (TCAs), Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), Noradrenergic and Specific Serotonin Antidepressants (NaSSA). There are also new drug classes of antidepressants, but they’re not that popular as compared to the ones mentioned earlier.
Since it is a given fact that depression is more than just a mood, but instead, it highly correlates to one’s brain neurotransmitter activity, the use of antidepressants in treating depression is considered to be highly successful.
Psychological Depression Treatment
Psychological depression treatment would obviously refer to therapies and counseling, and anything that has to do with the psych of a person. ‘Psycho’ comes from the Greek word psukhē, which means ‘breath, soul, or mind’.
Since this type of treatment deals with the psych of the person, the use of psychological therapies is inescapable. There are many types of therapies that are utilized to address depression problems such as Cognitive Therapy, Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy. Sometimes, other therapies, which do not necessarily involve only the patient, are also used such as Family Therapy and Group Therapy.
The length of these therapies varies from one another, and it is also highly dependent on the patient’s responsiveness. On the other hand, some individuals hesitate to use psychotherapy for depression treatment claiming that the process takes a lot of time and resources before results become evident.
Which is the Best Depression Treatment?
Basically, not one method is much better than the other. Both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy has their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s rather difficult to say which is best to take.
Furthermore, the type of depression treatment that should be applied to the patient is highly dependent to his or her case and responsiveness. Sometimes, pharmacotherapy works best for a particular individual; in other cases, psychotherapy works better.
However, although none of these two can be confirmed as better than the other, the combination of both prove to be the best treatment option. Yes, the use of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy together yields significant results in depression treatment as compared to the solitary use of one method only.