Depression support groups in Pittsburgh (+How to get in touch with them)

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This article will show what are some good depression support groups in Pittsburgh. Aside from that, the article will explain what depression is, and what are the benefits of joining a support group to cope with depression.

Depression support groups in Pittsburgh

Support groups have become more and more common as a form of treatment for people with depression. In Pittsburgh, there are some of them like the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), a non-profit organization that focuses on improving mental health care.  

They hold peer-led support groups, and the meetings happen every Wednesday, from 7 to 8:30 pm. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been holding the meetings online. 

To join the group, you can enter their website (http://www.moodpeerspgh.org), and click on the zoom link that will be available. To join this support group you don’t need to register, and it is free.

In the groups held by DBSA family members of people going through depression are also welcome. And that is a great thing. Having them allows them to learn better ways to help and support someone going through depression. 

Another support group is one called Warrior Therapy Online Group. As said in the name, it is an online group that focuses on people with depression, anxiety, and self-esteem issues. 

They happen every Sunday, from 3 to 4 pm, and to be a part of it, you should get in touch by phone at (412) 214-7167. This is a paid group that costs $60.

The Carole Kunkle-Miller Ph.D. and associates also offer a variety of support groups, including ones focused on depression. These groups are led by mental health professionals, and go on every Saturday and Wednesday, in two periods: 10 am, and 7 pm. 

To take part in these groups costs $150. To be a part of them, you should get in touch through the number (412) 339-1987.

But now that we have learned what are good support groups for people with depression in Pittsburgh, let’s understand what depression is, and what are the benefits of taking part in them.

What is depression?

Depression is a mental health condition that affects about 5% of the world’s population. It causes the person to experience intense sadness and lose interest even in things they used to love. It makes it harder for them to focus, and they may have less energy and experience intense fatigue.

People with depression may also become more isolated, feel hopeless, more irritable, guilty, and ashamed. They may feel as if they have lost their purpose, and their eating and sleeping patterns can change. 

When a person is depressed they act on self-harm, and sometimes even have thoughts of death, and have suicidal thoughts.

Even though those are the most common symptoms of depression, the intensity and how long they go on may be different from one person to the next. But for a person to be considered depressed, they must go through its symptoms for more than two weeks.

The causes of depression are still under study, but what is known so far is that depression has a genetic factor to it, so having a family member with a history of depression can make it easier for you to develop depression. Women are also more susceptible to depression than men.

It also seems that depression can happen when your brain is going through a chemical imbalance, or you are going through a traumatic experience. Those can be the loss of a loved one or even the end of a relationship. But let’s understand a little more about how support groups can help people going through depression.

What are the benefits of joining a support group to cope with depression? 

Support groups have become a recognized and positive way for people to cope with mental illness. Looking for them online, it is possible to know that there are many of them. There are support groups for people with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and many other conditions.

Those support groups can often happen in 3 ways: they can be peer-to-peer groups, meaning that the participants organize themselves, and run the group. There may be other groups in which a trained facilitator will organize and guide the participants and others in which the facilitator is a mental health professional.

When thinking about the benefits of being a part of a support group when going through depression, there are many them. As you decide to take part in one of them, you may find a place that can make you feel less alone in your suffering. 

Being around people that are going through similar things can give you a sense of belonging. Sharing with them can help you validate your emotions, and maybe feel less guilty about them. It can also be a great way to learn how depression affects others since it can be very different from your experience. 

And through that exchange, you may learn new ways to cope with depression and develop new strategies to navigate it.

Since depression can cause you to isolate yourself, being a part of this group can be a great way to maintain some sense of sociability. And as a matter of fact, a way that you can feel supported and accepted. But being a part of a support group may not be for everyone.

Although it may not happen in reality, some people may be scared that they will be judged when being a part of a support group. For others, they can feel like they are not ready to talk about what they are feeling. And that is okay. Everyone should be aware and careful of their limits.

What is extremely important is that you don’t lose track of the importance of getting help. If you are depressed, being in treatment is the most important way out. So if you realize a support group isn’t the right fit for you, try to find what suits your needs. 

Maybe individual therapy will be the best. The important thing is to take care of your mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are good support groups for depression in Pittsburgh?

When are support groups bad? 

Support groups can be bad when the leader doesn’t take control of the group. They let the support group turn only into an environment of complaint, instead of a place to think of what can and should be changed.

A good support group holds you accountable and focuses on making you better so at some point you won’t need it anymore. The golden rule of a support group is to be there until it is necessary, not stay there forever.

What are the disadvantages of a support group? 

Being a part of a support group takes you away from being the center of attention. And it may be an exercise in trust, which is not for everyone. In group therapy, there may always be a person that is not there to work on themselves, but rather to take on the success of others.

This can unmotivate people that are there to do the work and improve their condition. Support groups also have a lot less flexibility than individual therapy, since to adjust it, you need to adjust everyone’s timing. 

Do antidepressants work the same way for everyone? 

No, antidepressants work differently in each person, and that is why it is important to always be followed by a psychiatrist when you are taking them. Unfortunately, mental health medication is a trial and error thing. Your doctor may have the medication that fits perfectly with your condition. 

But it is not until you start taking it that he will know if you experience a lot of side effects with it, or if they will work as your doctor had intended. Two people with the same condition may be taking the same medication and experience completely different reactions.

One may have such intense side effects that their doctor not only considers changing their dose but changing their medication. While the second person is experiencing great results from the medication. 

And even though this may seem discouraging, you should know that it is through this process that the doctor will be able to find the medication that works for you.

What are other ways to treat depression? 

Depression can be treated in some ways. The most common is through joint treatment with medication that should be prescribed by a psychiatrist, and a therapist, with whom you will talk about your emotions.

Through this process, you will be able to understand more about what you feel, and may even discover the root of your depression. But there are other things that people can do in their day-to-day life that will help them cope with depression.

The one thing that is usually most recommended by professionals is exercising. Even doing a short walk can help reduce the person’s stress level, and improve their sense of well-being. 

Aside from that, having a healthy lifestyle, meaning eating and sleeping well, can improve the person’s energy level, and make them feel less stressed and fatigued.

Being around people they love can also be great when dealing with depression. And although it may be hard, it can give you a chance to vent, or even distract yourself from the negative thoughts. In this contact, you may also feel yourself through a more positive glance, as your loved ones do, which can only help.

And finally being open to doing things that bring you positive emotions, such as volunteering, or even going on a hike. It can give you a chance to feel some sense of accomplishment, and cause you to see there are other possibilities to be explored.

Can I change my depression medication by myself?

No, you shouldn’t change your depression medication by yourself. The first thing is that you should never self-medicate. But besides that, quitting and starting a new mental health medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms and intense side effects. 

If you think there is a better medication to suit your needs, you may want to gather the information on that and make an appointment with your doctor. When in that, show it to them, and explain why you want to change.

If they agree with you, they will give you the prescription and give you the proper orientation on how to slowly go off your previous medication, and start the new one. 

Conclusion 

This article showed what good support groups one can take part in Pittsburgh. Aside from that, it explained what depression is, and what are the benefits of joining support groups when coping with depression.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.

References

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/groups/pa/pittsburgh?category=depression

http://www.moodpeerspgh.org

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