Meet Yourself Where You Are
Depression is common. It affects millions of people, including some in your life. You may not realize they face similar challenges, emotions, and obstacles.
Every day with this disorder is different. Its important to take your mental health seriously and accept that where you are right now isnt where youll always be.
The key to self-treatment for depression is to be open, accepting, and loving toward yourself and what youre going through.
When Does Depression Need Treatment
Any bout of depression that lasts more than two weeks can benefit from treatment, and the earlier it is begun, the better. Early treatment has the highest likelihood of bringing about full remission of symptoms and preventing relapse or recurrence. The so-called burden of depression is great, as the disorder is a major cause of missed work and poor productivity, and it has a devastating effect on relationships, family life, physical health, and general quality of life.
There are four main approaches to treatmentpsychotherapy, antidepressant medications, neuromodulation, and lifestyle measuresand all address different facets of the disorder. Chronic and severe depression responds best to a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy . Signs that depression is responding include less irritability, increased energy, feeling less overwhelmed, normalization of appetite, improved ability to concentrate, return of libido, and improved sense of self.
Small Steps Big Impact
Depression can drain your energy, leaving you feeling empty and fatigued. This can make it difficult to muster the strength or desire to seek treatment.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you feel more in control and improve your overall sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
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How To Find A Therapist
When it comes to therapy, you dont need to go to a doctor before you look for a therapist. You can use Psychology Today to browse professionals in your area filtered by the type of therapy they offer, insurance they accept, and more.
When seeking out a therapist, you may need to try going to a few different ones before finding someone whos a good fit for you. Its important that you like and trust your therapist.
Why Is Dealing With Depression So Difficult
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that will help you to feel better. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action.
Its the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There is a big difference, however, between something thats difficult and something thats impossible. While recovering from depression isnt quick or easy, you do have more control than you realizeeven if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. You may not have much energy, but by drawing on all your reserves, you should have enough to take a walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one, for example.
Taking the first step is always the hardest. But going for a walk or getting up and dancing to your favorite music, for example, is something you can do right now. And it can substantially boost your mood and energy for several hourslong enough to put a second recovery step into action, such as preparing a mood-boosting meal or arranging to meet an old friend. By taking the following small but positive steps day by day, youll soon lift the heavy fog of depression and find yourself feeling happier, healthier, and more hopeful again.
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If You Need To Wallow Wallow But Do So Constructively
Suppressing your feelings and emotions may seem like a strategic way to cope with the negative symptoms of depression. But this technique is ultimately unhealthy.
If youre having a down day, have it. Let yourself feel the emotions but dont stay there.
Consider writing or journaling about what youre experiencing. Then, when the feelings lift, write about that, too.
Seeing the ebb and flow of depressive symptoms can be instructive for both self-healing and hope.
What’s The Best Way To Help Someone Who Has Depression
The very best way to help someone who is depressed is to get them to a therapist for treatment. There are many other ways to help. One is to silently pitch in on the chores of daily living that usually seem overwhelming to someone with depression.
Because depression can be thought of as behavioral shutdown, behavioral activation is important, even though the disorder destroys motivation. To support regular activity, better than reminding someone to get exercise is handing them a jacket and taking them out for a walk the exercise, the sunlight, and the companionship all have antidepressant effects. So does the change of scenery. Establishing routines such as a regular sleep time is helpful. Also important is maintaining regular social contact with someone who is depressed.
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What Does Brain Stimulation Or Neuromodulation Do
In the evolving understanding of depression, the disorder is seen less as a neurochemical deficit, such as lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin or dopamine, than as a problem of wiringa failure of activation of or interaction between key nodes in neural networks, or the very connections themselves, especially when processing emotion-related stimuli, reward stimuli, or executive functioning.
As a result, treatment now increasingly encompasses methods of electrically or magnetically altering nerve activity by selectively stimulating specific components of brain circuitry. Neuroimaging studies have repeatedly demonstrated functional abnormalities in networks linking such key areas of the brain as the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex.
The goal of neuromodulation is to stimulate neuroplasticity, to jump start the growth of new nerve connections to create new neural activity patterns that restore more mental and behavioral flexibility. Studies show that, over time, the devices can significantly improve mood and memory. Copycat devices are now being snapped up by elite athletes and others looking for a performance edge they undergo a bout of stimulation before training.
Tip : Eat A Healthy Depression
What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones .
Dont skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours.
Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these feel-good foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Aim to cut out as much of these foods as possible.
Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Boost your mood with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, and some cold-water fish oil supplements.
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Treatment Options For Depression
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly 19 million adults in the US experience at least one major depressive episode every year. Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in America. Sometimes referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it is different from less severe feelings of sadness. The good news is that depression is highly treatable. In this blog, we’ll go over how to treat depression.
What are the symptoms of depression?
The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person. Below is a list of depression symptoms from the American Psychological Association. You might experience these symptoms if you are struggling with depression.
- Prolonged sadness or feelings of emptiness
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Chronic pain, headaches, or stomach aches
- Loss of interest in activities
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Thoughts of death or suicide
What causes depression?
Just like substance abuse, there is no one cause for depression. The causes of depression will be different for each person and can be the result of a combination of factors.
Biological risks for depression include having a family history of depression, being diagnosed with a co-occurring mental health disorder, having a terminal illness, and being a woman. In fact, women experience depression at twice the rate of men, with one in eight women experiencing clinical depression in their lifetime.
How do you treat depression?
Are Brain Scans Useful In Determining Treatment
Brain scans have been very helpful in research to identify brain regions that are key to processing emotional stimuli and circuits of neural communication altered in depression. This information has guided the development and use of various kinds of neuromodulation devices as treatment. It has also helped researchers assess the mode of action and effectiveness of drugs in development. It is also used in studies of the effectiveness of psychotherapy, to assess brain function before and after treatment.
But neuroimaging remains primarily a diagnostic and research tool, and a costly one at that. And while it is helping identify nerve circuits involved in distinct clusters of depressive symptoms, such use is very much for research purposes, In general, scanning does not yet provide enough specificity or utility for personalizing therapy.
Treating Depression At Home With 3 Basic Techniques
Treat depression at home
Treating depression at home, by your own effort, is not an impossible task at all. There are many ways of reducing depressive symptoms by making a few changes to everyday life. This text will show you how to start treating your depression with three well-used techniques from behavioural psychology.
Treat depression at home
Learn All You Can About Yourself
Your mental health is intertwined with your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Its a part of who you are, and its hard to work on your mental health without learning more about yourself.
You might feel like you already know yourself pretty well, but we all have things were unaware ofor are too uncomfortable to admit. Here are some ways to get to know yourself better:
- Track your moods. Every day, or even multiple times a day, just write down how youre feeling. If you can identify what made you feel that way, write that down too. After a while youll be able to identify patterns. Maybe depression hits you harder on cloudy days or maybe you get super anxious when you interact with new people. The more you can predict your moods, the less they can take you by surpriseand the better you can cope with them. Be sure to track positive moods as well as negative ones!
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Serotonin And Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
SNRIs prevent the absorption of both serotonin and norepinephrine into the bloodstream. The increase in levels of these two chemicals in the body helps improve mood. SNRIs include , , and . Studies have shown that like SSRIs, SNRIs are effective at treating major depression. They also produce similar side effects as SSRIs and generally are considered to be safe medications.
What Are The Most Effective Natural Treatments For Depression
Studies consistently show that an anti-inflammatory and metabolically functional diet, regular exercise, exposure to sunlight, social support and companionship, sleep, and sex have an effect on depressive symptoms. All are low-cost and noninvasive approaches to relief that require no prescription. All in fact contribute to general well-being of all people at all times.
In numerous scientific studies, a healthy diet that contains an array of anti-inflammatory compounds normally found in fruits, vegetables and fatty fish has been linked to lower rates of depression. In addition, studies show that depressed patients randomly assigned to a diet with reduced carbohydrates, sugar, and processed meats report fewer symptoms than those consuming a standard Western diet remember, depression disrupts basic body metabolism.
Behavioral activation is a type of therapy that doesn’t have to be limited to therapists:It involves countering the effects of depression by encouraging patients to select and engage in rewarding activities that add necessary pleasure to life. Singing in a chorus is known to boost mental health both the singing and the socialization affect autonomic nervous system reactivity to stress. Religious involvement is another proven stress buffer.
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Ok Im Feeling Depressed So Now What
Now that you know the symptoms of depression, some positive coping skills can be useful. All of the following techniques are supported by scientific research and medication prescribers like psychiatrists and these skills are frequently recommended as important parts of treatment even for patients who continue to take antidepressant medications.
WARNING: Do not suddenly go off your prescribed antidepressant medications without first talking to your medical provider. Discuss any questions or concerns about the side effects of your medications with your provider.
Exercise As Depression Treatment
When writing about different medication-free depression treatments, it would seem almost criminal not to mention regular exercise. Regular exercise is just as effective as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy for treating depression. In 2016, Professor F. Schuch at the Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil, concluded that exercise is an evidence-based treatment for depression. Think about it. Few people would let their precious car just stand in the driveway and rust. Similarly, your body needs movement to stay in a good mood.
How much exercise is enough to treat depressive symptoms?
Is it enough to do some stretching or do you need daily spin classes to recover from depression? The answer is somewhere in between. Regular walking is an excellent strategy for treating depressive symptoms without medication. Dr. Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neural Science and Psychology at New York University, gives us the exact recipe:
- 30-40 minutes of exercise 3-4 times a week is enough to get out of depression
Why does exercise work as depression treatment?
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Therapy And The Big Picture In Depression Treatment
One of the hallmarks of depression is feeling overwhelmed and having trouble focusing. Therapy helps you step back and see what might be contributing to your depression and how you can make changes. Here are some of the big picture themes that therapy can help with:
Relationships.Understanding the patterns of your relationships, building better relationships, and improving current relationships will help reduce isolation and build social support, important in preventing depression.
Setting healthy boundaries. If you are stressed and overwhelmed, and feel like you just cant say no, you are more at risk for depression. Setting healthy boundaries in relationships and at work can help relieve stress, and therapy can help you identify and validate the boundaries that are right for you.
Handling lifes problems. Talking with a trusted therapist can provide good feedback on more positive ways to handle lifes challenges and problems.
Create A Peace Corner
A peace corner is easy to set up and can be a place to go in your own home that relaxes you when you need a break. Its purpose is to provide a peaceful zone filled with things that bring you positivity.
Inspired by the Montessori method of teaching, peace corners arent just for kids they can be whatever you want them to be.
Find an area of your home you can fill with comforting items such as plants, stress balls, soft pillows, a yoga mat, candles, and books. You can spend time there each day or just when youre having a hard time managing your depression symptoms.
boost levels of serotonin , a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates mood. If your serotonin levels arent where they should be, you can experience symptoms of depression.
Be sure to check in with a mental health professional about whether a lightbox is suitable for you.
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How Long Does It Take To Overcome Depression
Depression is a serious mental health condition that is characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
If youre going through depression, you might wonder how long it will last.
While there is no average for how long it can take to overcome depression, its not uncommon for feelings of hopelessness to last several months. In more severe cases, such as my own, depressed individuals may experience these feelings on and off for several years.
In this article, Ill go over why its important to seek treatment and, if you do, what you can expect as far as recovery time.
Ive struggled with depression for several years, so Ill be providing this information based on my own experiences dealing with depression rather than as a mental health professional.
How Do Antidepressant Drugs Work
In the brain, electrical signals speed messages from nerve cell to nerve cell but are relayed bychemical signals across the tiny gap between nerve cells. Antidepressant drugs affect those neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine and others belonging to a class of chemicals known as monoamines.
Antidepressant medications such as the SSRI’s can increase or decrease neurotransmitters, act as substitute neurotransmitters, or regulate the receptors that the neurochemicals bind to. While those changes may contribute to the effects of antidepressant agents, they are not considered the main source of improvement. The reason is that those changes happen immediately, but the drugs can take six weeks or more to provide relief of symptoms. Researchers believe that the time lag is due to the development of new nerve cell connectionsneuroplasticitywhich pave the way for mental and behavioral flexibility.
Studies show that 40 to 60 percent of patients treated with an antidepressant experience an improvement in symptoms within six to eight weeks. Care standards specify that once remission is achieved, treatment should be continued for four to nine months.