It used to be that people who were depressed were treated with either an admonishment or a straitjacket. But depression and other emotional disorders of the brain are as much a disease as any other health problem out there.
We're living in a world where there's too much talk—we've got talk shows, talking heads and people who talk the talk but can't walk the walk. Funny, though, in a hypercommunicative society, many of us can't talk about anything other than sports, soaps or why the media spends so much attention on [fill in celebrity scandal of the day].
The fact is that when it comes to reducing effects of depression, the biggest cure may not be in a pill bottle, but in making sure you don't stay bottled up yourself. In treating minor depression, talk therapy over six weeks is 60 to 70 percent successful, and it's 90 percent successful when used in conjunction with drugs.
How does it work? Probably through the release of those feel-good chemicals—including oxytocin—and learning new coping strategies. One of the more effective treatments for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy. Limited to 10 to 20 sessions, this therapy helps people learn how their thoughts contribute to their symptoms, and it suggests behavioral changes that they can make to change their environment, their response to their environment, and ultimately their thoughts. It doesn't tell you how to feel, but rather, it teaches you how to stay calm and cool when you're upset about a problem, so that you can figure out what to do and how to feel better. It's why therapists ask a lot of questions rather than make a lot of statements.
But even just talking about your problems with your spouse, friends or a taxi driver can help. Since women tend to speak much more than men, they may get a much larger brain chemical boost from hashing things out.
Here are 10 more ways to keep your mind sharp:
Published on November 11, 2008