Does talk therapy work?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

We're living in a world where there's too much talk - we've got talk shows, talking heads, and people who talk the talk but can't walk the walk. Funny, though, in a society where we hyper-communicate, many of us can't talk about anything other than sports, soaps, or why the media spends so much attention on the fill-in celebrity scandal of the day. The fact is that when it comes to reducing the effects of depression, the biggest cure may not be in a pill bottle, but in making sure you don't stay bottled up yourself.
In treating minor depression, talk therapy over six weeks is 60 to 70 percent successful, and it's 90 percent successful when used in conjunction with drugs. How does it work? Probably through the release of feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and learning new coping strategies. Even if you don't regularly see a therapist, find a buddy. Whether on the Internet or in person, talking to someone helps. In fact, talking and walking 30 minutes a day are the most effective strategies for treating and preventing depression. Even just talking about your problems with your spouse, friends, or a taxi driver can help. Since women tend to speak much more than men, they may get a much larger brain chemical boost from hashing things out.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.