Psychotherapist Kyle Macdonald writes
Ask most people what the first thing someone should do if they’re depressed or anxious and most will likely say: see your GP.
Likewise, most people would think the first treatment you’re likely to get offered would be medication, specifically anti-depressants. At least in New Zealand, you’d be right. But you might be surprised to know not only is this not good practice, it may also be unhelpful.
The two big mental health research and good practice agencies in the world, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence in the UK (or NICE which is a great acronym), and the American Psychological Association in the USA (the APA) are clear that the first line of treatment for depression and anxiety, especially in the mild to moderate range, should be talk therapy.
Not only that, but there is also a lot of studies that show that most of the anti-depressant medications aren’t very effective for mild to moderate range depression and anxiety, and certainly not as helpful as talking with a psychotherapist or clinical psychologist. Not only that but when therapy is combined with medication for severe depression, both in combination are more effective than either on their own.
This is why people like me get so fired up about the lack of funded and affordable talk therapy options available in New Zealand right now. Read more »