Depression does require medication.
If you suffer from depression, and your doctor has prescribed an antidepressant for you, you will find that, in about three weeks, you are able to function in your life again — even while taking the medication.
Unfortunately, this gives people a sense of “I’m all better now” that isn’t quite true. You see; depression does require medication, but it also requires counseling. Without proper counseling, you will never get to the root of the problem — what is causing the depression. The medication will not make that go away — it only deals with the symptoms of depression.
Counseling is needed to deal with the cause of the depression.
Counseling for depression may have two parts. The first part may be traditional therapy so that the counselor can help you to discover what the problem is, in the event that you do not already know. Sometimes depression has no visible cause. Other times, it may be caused by a physical condition that does not need any counseling at all — the depression lifts when the condition is treated.
So, traditional therapy may be needed, but that will usually be followed with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy essentially teaches you a new way of thinking — a new way of looking at or approaching a problem, — something that enables you to deal with the problem in a more constructive, timely manner. Once the problem that is causing the depression is taken care of, the depressed state lifts.
CBT can take anywhere from 12-20 weeks. Furthermore, depending on the severity of your depression, your doctor may not feel that counseling should be sought until the medication prescribed has a chance to work. On the other hand, he (or she) may think that the depression warrants immediate counseling. This varies from one individual to another.
Note that most therapists are not licensed to prescribe medication. That requires a medical doctor or a psychiatrist.