How to Decide on Treatment Goals for Depression

How to Decide on Treatment Goals for Depression

Depression is a mental illness that causes feelings of sadness, worthlessness, guilt, and anger. In order to treat depression, it is important for patients to set treatment goals with their therapist or doctor. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of treatment goals for depression as well as how these goals are achieved.

What are treatment goals for depression ?

A treatment goal is a short-term or long-term plan for managing the illness. It can include improving mood, reducing symptoms of depression, and preventing future episodes from happening.

Some possible goals are to:

  • Improve overall mental health.
  • Be able to handle day-to-day stressors without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Have an improved sense of self worth.
  • Cope with emotions in more productive ways, so that the person feels less irritable or sad all the time. 

How to achieve these goals:

In order to achieve these goals, it is important for the patient to be open about their feelings and stick to a treatment plan, such as seeing a psychotherapist. A therapist can help by teaching skills on how to manage the triggers that may cause depression, rather than just treating symptoms when they arise.  If a patient has had three episodes of major depressive disorder within five consecutive years (or two episodes following an individual’s first lifetime episode), they may find a combination of doctor prescribed antidepressants combined with psychotherapy to be beneficial.

How to set treatment goals with your therapist or doctor

Treatment goals can be difficult to set and achieve, but it is important for the patient’s mental health that he or she takes time to identify what would make them feel better and work towards achieving those goals.

It is often a process of trial and error when finding what works best, which may involve setting multiple small-term goals in order to eventually reach larger ones down the line. 

Treatment goals  should also take into account the individual. Some people might not want to share their diagnosis in any kind of way, therefore they would benefit most from one-on-one individual therapy. Whereas other people may feel more comfortable sharing their struggles and therefore, would get a lot out of group therapy sessions and support groups – either in person or online. 

The importance of setting realistic, achievable, and measurable treatment goals

Setting realistic, achievable, and measurable treatment goals will allow the patient to be more successful in their journey towards feeling better. It is important for patients with depression to set small-term goals that they can continue building upon day after day, rather than trying to tackle too many things at once. They also shouldn’t expect their life and mental wellbeing  to change overnight.

If a goal feels overwhelming, it may be helpful for the patient to break down into smaller tasks until they find one that they can manage before moving onto another challenge.

It’s also beneficial for patients who have other mental illnesses such as anxiety or PTSD–which often coexist with major depressive disorder–to focus on specific symptoms of those conditions, such as learning to overcome social withdrawal and/or being mindful of triggers.However, it is important not to set too many goals at once as this may be overwhelming and prevent the patient from achieving any of them.

Patience is key

It often takes time for patients with depression to find what works best for their condition. When it comes to treating depression, it can also help to practice self care (i.e taking time to  journal your feelings, spend time with friends and get outside) while prioritizing your physical health through healthy meals and regular exercise. 

Final takeaways

Setting goals and achieving them is an ongoing process. Sometimes you will feel like giving up, but it’s important to stay hopeful that your treatment plan will work for you in the long-term. If you’re unsure of what type of goals are best suited for your depression symptoms, be sure to discuss this with a therapist or doctor before making any decisions on how to treat your condition. Once you understand depression and what treatments are available, you can focus on what’s important: feeling better. Read more articles with the blogclus.