Anxiety and depression appear to be disturbingly common around the world. Some mental health experts are calling depression the plague of the 21st century, and for good reason. This condition affects millions of people all over the globe, and its effects can be devastating. Depression and anxiety can affect every aspect of a person's life, psychologically, socially, and physically, leading to inactivity, isolation, failed relationships, job loss, poor health, and even suicide. A number of drugs are being prescribed to millions of depressive patients, but evaluation of these drugs has resulted in mixed opinions among healthcare experts. While some neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists believe that depression can be cured through the proper medication, others believe that drugs are no substitute for face-to-face depression treatment with a clinical therapist. Anxiety problems seem to be related to depression, and the various intellectual camps that weigh in on the issue of drugs for depression seem to have similar attitudes towards anxiety therapy. The basic debate is one of which type of therapy works the fastest and most consistently for anxiety and depression. The potential negative side-effects of some drugs for these conditions is incontrovertible, indicating clear theoretical advantages to drug-free therapies. The key is effectiveness; do drug-free therapies actually work?
Ample evidence shows that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT therapy), a drug-free form of therapy, provides the most reliable results for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Through this form of therapy, the therapist examines the unique experiences and thought patterns of each client, co-evaluating the predominant thought patterns in the patient's mind. The Creative Imagination of the human mind is, generally speaking, a beautiful and powerful thing. However, it also has the potential to fabricate patterns of thinking that do not serve the thinker. The mind can develop thoughts and beliefs that are damaging, self-destructive, and dysfunctional. The American writer Mark Twain addressed this tendency in one of his many famous quotes: "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." Depression and anxiety, many therapists believe, are the result pervasive unhelpful thought processes which over time increasingly focuses the mind on the creation of negative experiences rather than positive ones.
One of the main objectives of CBT therapy is to help the patient examine his or her negative thought patterns, and to evaluate them in terms of their logic and potential benefits. Various therapists approach this process in different ways, but the goal is to help the patient to identify negative, destructive thought patterns, and begin to move toward thoughts that are predominantly logical, positive, and productive.
This type of cutting-edge therapy has the potential to revolutionize the state of mental health around the world. However, accessibility has been the major problem thus far. Many people around the world who would greatly benefit from CBT do not have access to it due to physical distance or financial constraints. Fortunately, a solution has been created. Some therapists have created inexpensive programs for those who suffer with stress, anxiety and depression to begin to help themselves with materials they can use in the privacy of their own homes. An innovative group in Britain has even created a website for members to access a wide variety of materials (articles, videos, etc.) to help them to deal with their problems effectively. These breakthroughs are truly inspiring because they may lead to millions of cures across the globe, among people who would not have had access to CBT otherwise. Perhaps stress, anxiety, and depressive disorders will one day be in the category of Polio, a horrible disease that was effectively wiped out through dedicated research and tireless innovation.