When a friend shares with you that he or she is feeling depressed, your first inclination may be to suggest meeting with a mental health counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. But new inroads in the treatment of depression are possible with Occupational Therapy.
Cognitive therapy, medications and other traditional modalities for treating depression are undoubtedly successful, but Occupational Therapy can be an effective adjunct to recovery.
Living with depression can adversely affect your relationships, career, and even physical health. Occupational therapy can provide strategies to improve the quality of life while working with other professionals to cope and recover. Even managing simple daily routines can be overwhelming for those suffering from depression. OTs can help motivate a patient to begin functioning as a healthy, stable adult. By refocusing on self-care and doing ordinary things, patients see that there is hope for a future without depressed mood.
They don't have to answer questions or talk about a painful past; they just have to engage in easy activities and grow their confidence to tackle more complex things. Social interactions and dealing with work are addressed, explored and conquered. In a gentle way and without rushing the patient, the OT evaluates the needs of each individual. Setting goals and working toward them, they develop a treatment plan and activities and even physical exercises toward a goal.
Occupational therapy supports the efforts of the psychiatrist, psychologist and cognitive therapist. They guide the patient through meeting responsibilities and obligations that might seem daunting and add to their depressive mood. Ashley Opp, with the American Occupational Therapy Association, says OT helps people with depression, ". . . restructure their daily lives, find meaning in daily occupations, and redefine their sense of identity."
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