The 5 Benefits to Talk Therapy
Depression is a serious problem facing millions of Americans. At least half of all people in the United States who suffer from depression will never go for treatment. In 2012, the number of people who had at least one depressive episode was over 16 million. That was about 7% of the population in the country. Every year, problems associated with depression cost the American economy $80 billion. What makes all of this so unfortunate is that depression is a very treatable problem. Talk therapy is one of the ways it is treated. This kind of therapy has other health benefits. Here are a few:
- It can help people with back pain. There have been several studies linking stress at work to an increase in back pain. The Lancet also published a study in 2010 that showed the link between talk therapy and a decrease in back pain. People who were participants in the study received two kinds of treatment. They were either given cognitive behavioral therapy sessions that lasted 90 minutes or more standard back therapies. When the cognitive behavioral therapy was added to standard back treatment, the people had a much better outcome and experienced less back pain.
- It helps people receiving end of life care. When people, who are in a hospice or are receiving hospice care at home, participate in talk therapy, they have a much better quality of life for that time. When these patients are engaged with their psychotherapist, the helpful sessions seemed to revolve mostly around how these people had lived their lives and how they would most like to be remembered. Often, in these cases, the sessions are taped and transcribed so they can share the sessions with their loved ones if they want them to be. In 2011, a study was done on this and it showed the people who had the therapy were happier and had a better experience at the end of their lives.
- Heart health and depression are linked. People who suffer from heart failure sometimes also suffer from depression. If a person suffers from both of these things, they have a chance of dying that is four times greater than people who only suffer from heart failure. Talk therapy can be effective at helping these individuals live longer, better lives. It has been found that depression itself can increase the amount of inflammation in the body and this can do damage to the heart muscle.
- It helps people sleep. Insomnia is a problem that impacts at least 20% of the country. Chronic insomnia can lead to a host of health issues such as the development of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other problems. Talk therapy has been found to reduce the symptoms of insomnia. One reason is using talk therapy techniques can lead to the prevention of behaviors and habits that inhibit sleep.
- It helps with major depressive disorders. It should be a given but research has looked into how talk therapy helps people who suffer from major depression. Patients who were treated with both medicine and who had psychotherapy benefit greatly from the two therapies. In 2014, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study about this. Patients who were receiving both medications for their depression and underwent a combination of cognitive therapy were followed for 42 months. Another group was treated with only drugs and was followed for the same amount of time. Of the people who received both therapies, seventy-two point six saw a real improvement vs. 62.5% of those who only received the medications.
Around the world, it has been estimated that at least 350 million people suffer from depression. While the amount of time a person will spend in talk therapy will vary depending on the reasons they are getting it, it usually is not something that lasts for years, despite what people think and what is often depicted on television. Typically, it is a self-limiting treatment that lasts anywhere from ten to 20 weeks. When doctors prescribe medications for depression, they have to take them for at least six weeks for any benefit to be seen.
The good news is that there is treatment available that can help people with a host of problems including depression.