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Einstein Editions: A Helpful Tool for Battling the Blues

About one in six U.S. adults will experience depression at some point in their lives, but many don’t do anything about it. Barriers to getting help include social stigma, the expense of drugs and therapy, and a lack of trained healthcare providers.

One of the most intensively studied treatments for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), aimed at helping patients change firmly established but self-defeating patterns. CBT can help patients learn to rationally evaluate their thoughts while they gradually increase activities that provide pleasure or accomplishment. It can also help them decrease activities that may contribute to depression, such as poor eating and sleeping habits, isolating themselves, not exercising, or abusing drugs or alcohol.

Such changes help patients cope with challenges that might otherwise seem overwhelming. CBT can be as effective as antidepressant medication, according to a large-scale 2016 analysis by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

For those dealing with mild-to-moderate depression on their own or who want to improve their existing therapy, The 10-Step Depression Relief Workbook could be a useful resource.

Simon Rego, Psy.D., chief psychologist at Montefiore and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Einstein, and Sarah Fader, CEO and founder of the nonprofit Stigma Fighters group, begin the book with a screening questionnaire that readers can use to assess the severity of their depression. Subsequent chapters contain helpful exercises and homework. Throughout the book, readers are encouraged to identify problem areas or themes that often arise when people are depressed.

Tools offered in the book include worksheets that help readers assess whether their thoughts or concerns are reasonable or not; a list of questions to help set realistic, achievable goals; and exercises for identifying and coping with negative thinking. All of these tools can help readers overcome challenges and get through depressive episodes. The book also offers advice on better managing tasks to get things done, changing behavior patterns, and facing fears.

The 10-Step Depression Relief Workbook concludes by emphasizing the need for healthy lifestyle habits (including a sample exercise routine) and by urging readers to practice gratitude and maintain mindfulness. Changing negative thought patterns is challenging but possible. Dr. Rego’s book offers valuable tools for guiding readers through dark times.

Published by: Althea Press, 2018

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Excerpt from Step 3:
Identify Your Problem Areas

Thought records are a key CBT tool for distinguishing between thoughts and feelings. … [T]hought records teach us in a structured way that we do not have to believe everything we think, especially when our feelings are negative.

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