How to Treat and Manage Depression With CBT

Learn how to treat and manage depression with these strategies from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT), two of the most effective treatments for depression. We’ll look at how changes in behavior via behavioral activation can help ease depression, how changing our thoughts and how we relate to our thought with cognitive restructuring and mindfulness can help us start feeling less depressed, and how we can manage our emotions when we’re struggling with depression.

6 Tips to Treat and Manage Depression

 
 

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CBT and DBT Skills: Behavioral Activation, Opposite Action for Depression

Behavioral Activation is a CBT technique that uses opposite action, one of the emotion regulation dialectical behavior skills. to help us improve our mood by changing our behavior.

When we’re feeling depressed we tend to not want to do much of anything, which only leaves us feeling more depressed. With behavioral activation, we work on increasing our level of activity by engaging in activities that give us a sense of pleasure, achievement, and/or social connection. Behavioral activation is one of the most effective things we can do to help lift our mood and start to pull ourselves out of a period of feeling depressed.

CBT, Behavioral Activation and Depression

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Graded Exposure, Systematic Desensitization & Anxiety

When we’re feeling anxious about something, it’s natural to want to avoid it, but avoidance is one of the worse things we can do for anxiety, and the more we avoid something, the more anxious it tends to make us. The opposite of avoidance is exposure, and one of the keys to reducing anxiety is to exposure ourselves to the things that cause us anxiety, through a gradual and controlled process called Graded Exposure or Systematic Desensitization.

Watch the videos below to learn why avoidance increases our anxiety and how we can use graded exposure or systematic desensitization to lower our anxiety.

Reducing Anxiety and Avoidance with Exposure

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Managing Panic Attacks With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

panic attackPanic attacks, also known as anxiety attacks, are sudden and intense waves of anxiety that can leave you worried you’re having a heart attack, about to pass out, going crazy, or with any number of other fears that something is seriously wrong with your health. Panic attacks are terrifying in isolation, and panic disorder occurs when panic attacks arise on a regular basis.

The most effective treatment for panic attacks and panic disorder is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. In the videos below, learn how anxiety escalates into a panic attack, and how you can use CBT to defuse a panic attack and make it less likely you have panic attacks in the future.

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How to Sleep Better & Cure Insomnia With CBT-i

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) is the most effective treatment for insomnia. CBT-i teaches you how to sleep better and can often cure insomnia altogether. The main components to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia are reducing negative sleep thoughts (NSTs), and practicing good sleep hygiene and more effective sleep scheduling, sometimes known as sleep restriction therapy. Learn more about CBT-i in the videos below.

How To Sleep Better And Cure Insomnia With CBT

 
 

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Reversing the Cycle of Depression

upward spiralIn a previous post, we looked at the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) model of the vicious cycle of depression involving thoughts, feelings, behaviours, memories and physical symptoms. One of the first steps in overcoming depression is to put and end to this vicious cycle, and gain some momentum that can help you cycle in a positive direction.

Just as automatic negative thoughts result from and contribute to depression, by engaging in more neutral and balanced ways of thinking, we can begin to stop the vicious cycle involving negative thoughts and depression. Cognitive therapy provides an effective tool to help break out of negative patterns of thinking. As our thoughts become less negative, we begin to feel less depressed, and as we become less depressed, our thoughts about ourselves, our lives and our future become less negative, and so on.

We can experience similar reversal in these vicious cycles in other areas of our lives that are affected by, and affect depression. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help change behaviours that result from and contribute to depression such as reducing level of activity and withdrawing socially. Changes in diet, exercise, sleep habits and self-care can help alleviate the distressing physical symptoms associated with depression and lead to more energy and motivation.

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The Vicious Cycle of Depression

How to Treat and Manage Depression

 
 

depression cycleIn the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) model of depression, one of the reasons that breaking out of depression can be so difficult is that depression generates vicious cycles involving a number of aspects of your life. Once you get stuck in these vicious cycles, they can be hard to break.

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Why We Worry and How To Worry Less

worryWhy is it that when we’re feeling anxious, we tend to worry so much, even though worrying tends to do nothing except make us feel even more anxious? One reason is that it’s easy to regard worrying as something that can be productive: that it either helps us deal with anxiety, or protects us from the thing we’re feeling anxious about. If worrying actually did have these effects, it would be quite beneficial. But unfortunately, worrying usually only increases anxiety. So why do we continue to do it time and time again?

Worrying tends to feel a lot like problem solving. When we problem solve, we identify a problem, come up with some possible solutions, weigh their pros and cons, and then take some sort of action to resolve the problem. Problem solving is a very constructive, rational thought process to help us deal effectively with a problem at hand.

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Cognitive Therapy and Challenging Negative Thoughts

 

When we’re feeling distressed about something or going through a difficult emotional experience it can feel like our thoughts are running out of control. Our minds start racing and we find ourselves dwelling in the past, worrying about the future, or just spinning our wheels trying to think ourelves out of our problems.

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Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Anxiety

upward spiralIn a previous post, we looked at the vicious cycle of anxiety, in which an anxiety-provoking events triggers an anxiety-related thought, feeling, behaviour or physiological symptom, which generates additional anxious thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physiological symptoms.
 
One of the keys to overcoming anxiety is break this cycle before it begins to gain momentum. We often don’t have control of our initial response to an anxiety-provoking situation, but once we become aware that something has triggered an anxiety-related thought, feeling, behaviour or physiological symptom, then we can choose how we react. Mindfulness, and congitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or cognitive therapy, are effective ways to help you stop these cycles before they can build.

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