1414682132_2 Can Occupational Therapy Replace Antidepressants?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 15 million American adults (6.7% of U.S. population) 18 years and above are diagnosed with depression. While depression has been a taboo topic, artists such as Kid Cudi, Demi Lavato, Selena Gomez and Gwyneth Paltrow have come forward about their own battle with depression.

Though there are a number of medications that can be prescribed for depression, but studies show that these antidepressants can come with some significant side effects. Studies suggest that for those with depressive symptoms, considering other options is recommended; which is where occupational therapy can be effective.

Occupational therapy practitioners can examine meaningful life roles to  for clients with depression and help adjust their obligations; this gives clients the chance to gain a sense of accomplishment. “Usually I go through the roles important to a client—worker, student, family member, friend, hobbyist—and we talk about how all of those roles have a set of responsibilities that, when met, have an outcome that is both desirable and rewarding,” says Lisa Mahaffey, occupational therapist at Linden Oaks Hospital in Naperville, Illinois.

Practitioners then further analyze what factors are keeping their clients from tending to their obligations; i.e. making meals for their kids, getting tasks completed at work, etc.

Mahaffey states that self-esteem and identity are huge factors in managing depression as well.

“I look at self-esteem from the perspective of how choices that we make in our lives impact how we think and consequently how we feel about ourselves,” Mahaffey states. With this in mind, practitioners may speak with clients about replacing bad habits with beneficial habits on a daily basis. Occupational therapist can assist in finding more productive or beneficial ways for clients to spend their alone time. They can assist them with balancing leisure, work and relationships.

“We look at daily structure and include certain occupations and strategies to ensure that clients follow through on things so that they meet the responsibilities of the roles that are meaningful to them,” Mahaffey stated.

For more information about occupational therapy and depression head to this article.