Do Something You Enjoy
Depression can push you to give into your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than happy emotions.
Try to push back and do something you love something thats relaxing, but energizing. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking.
These activities can provide subtle lifts in your mood and energy, which may help you overcome your symptoms.
Research suggests people who spend time in nature have improved mental health.
Exposure to sunlight may offer some of the same benefits. It can increase your serotonin levels, which can provide a temporary mood boost .
Consider taking a walk at lunch among the trees or spending some time in your local park. Or plan a weekend hike. These activities can help you reconnect with nature and soak in some rays at the same time.
Add Greenery To Your Home Or Office
You may also find it helpful to add indoor plants to your home or office environment. Natural settings are associated with improved mental well-being, so it makes sense that “bringing the outdoors in” might help improve your mood.
Studies have shown that adding indoor plants to your home or office can help in a variety of ways, including:
- Improving the workplace: Research has shown that office spaces enhanced with indoor plants improve worker concentration and workplace satisfaction.
- Reducing stress levels: Another study found that actively interacting with indoor plans by caring for them can reduce both physiological and psychological stress.
- : Research has found that students who spent most of their time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic had better mental health if they were exposed to more green plants. While about a third of the participants reported symptoms of moderate depression, those exposed to more greenery had lower levels of depression and anxiety.
Choosing certain plants may provide additional benefits. For example, research suggests that the scent of a lavender plant can help people feel calmer and more relaxed. No matter what type of plants you choose, greenery can be a great way to beautify your surroundings and potentially improve your mood.
Create A Wellness Toolbox
A wellness toolbox is a set of tools that you can use to help soothe yourself when you are feeling down.
The tools you find most helpful might not work for someone else so it’s important to carefully consider what things can help you feel your best.
Think of things you like to do when you’re happy. Then, when you’re feeling down, try one of those activities.
Cuddling your pet, listening to your favorite music, taking a warm bath, or reading a good book are just a few tools you might find helpful.
Create a list of the activities you might try when you’re feeling bad. Then, choose an activity to try when you’re having a particularly rough time.
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Whats The Difference Between Normal Grief After A Loss And Mdd
When you experience a loss of someone close to you, its normal to grieve and feel down and empty for a period of several weeks or more, but it should get better, says Dr. Murrough. If youre starting to feel worse instead of better as time goes on, thats a red flag. Perhaps, more critically, a typical grief reaction isnt: My life is not worth living anymore. Consider seeking treatment if you or someone experiences this.
Learn To Recognize Negative Thinking
Sometimes these thoughts can be obvious, such as times when you berate or criticize yourself. Other times, they can be more subtle. You might find yourself engaging in things like catastrophizing or all-or-nothing thinking.
Catastrophizing involves always anticipating negative outcomes. All-or-nothing thinking means that you think of things as either successes or failures with no in-between. Once you get better at recognizing these cognitive patterns, you can start working on some healthier replacements.
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University Of Michigans Brief Diagnostic Questionnaire On Depression
This checklist is taken out of the book: Real Men Do Cry: A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression and Surviving Suicide Loss by Eric Hipple, former NFL Quarterback for the Detroit Lions . This is the checklist he found at U of Michigan Depression Center, and wished that he had this checklist of symptoms of depression for himself in high school and that he knew the signs so that he could have seen them in his own son, Jeff.
Practice These Coping Skills Every Day
I recommend doing many if not all of the following coping skills and techniques once a day when experiencing depression. Its important to know you probably wont be motivated to do any of them at first because depression frequently saps motivation. In other words, know that its normal to feel unmotivated until youre halfway done.
The patients I work with who frequently practice these coping skills get better.The seven techniques can be memorized with the acronym MY PEERS.
1. Meaning: Find small ways to be of service to others.
Find personal meaning by serving something larger than yourself. Remember service doesnt have to be big to count. Consider this, Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued it must ensue as the unintended side effect of ones personal dedication to a course greater than oneself. Viktor E. Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning
2. Your goals: Find workable goals that give you a sense of accomplishment.
Most people feel guilty when talking about goals because they set unreasonable or unworkable goals. A goal is workable if its:
If something goes wrong with your goal, adopt a what can I learn from this? attitude . Also, be careful when comparing your progress with others. We usually compare our biggest weakness with another persons biggest strength. This is unfair .
3. Pleasant Events: Schedule pleasant activities or events.
4. Engagement: Stay in the present.
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Can Depression Be Prevented
You can help prevent depression by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and practicing regular self-care activities such as exercise, meditation and yoga.
If youve had depression before, you may be more likely to experience it again. If you have depression symptoms, get help. Care can help you feel better sooner.
Be Alert To Signs That Treatment Is Not Working
On the other hand, the absence of any such signs most likely means that ones depression is not improving and may be getting worse, Halaris notes, adding that a major concern in the absence of improvement is whether your loved one is having suicidal thoughts.
This is where you need to very gently raise the question whether they are having even fleeting thoughts of their life not being worth living, Halaris says.
According to Mayo Clinic, signs your loved one may be considering suicide include:
- Making statements such as I wish I were dead or I wish I hadnt been born
- Purchasing a gun or hoarding pills
- Fixating on violence, death, or dying
- Withdrawing from social contact with others
- Feeling hopeless or trapped in their current situation
- Telling people, goodbye, as if theyre going to disappear
- Getting their affairs in order or giving away their belongings with no other plausible explanation for doing so
If your loved one shows signs of considering or planning to take their own life, Halaris and Riba recommend taking steps to reduce their risk of attempting or completing suicide, such as:
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Vitamins And Supplements For Depression
The jury is still out on how well herbal remedies, vitamins, or supplements work in treating depression. While many supplements are widely available over the counter, in many cases their efficacy has not been scientifically proven. If your depression symptoms are in part due to nutritional deficiency, you may benefit from vitamin supplements, but this should be on the advice of your healthcare professional.
If you decide to try natural and herbal supplements, remember that they can have side effects and drug or food interactions. For example, St. Johns Worta promising herb used for treatment of mild to moderate depressioncan interfere with prescription drugs such as blood thinners, birth control pills, and prescription antidepressants. Make sure your doctor or therapist knows what you are taking.
What Is Prescribed For Clinical Depression
There are several types of medications that are commonly prescribed for depression.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the medications most commonly prescribed to treat depression by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. SSRIs include citalopram , escitalopram , fluoxetine , fluvoxamine , paroxetine , and sertraline . Certain SSRIs are also used to treat other mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors work in a way similar to SSRIs.
The main difference is that also block the bodys reuptake of norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter involved in mood, according to an article on the VeryWellMind website.
SNRIs used for depression include desvenlafaxine , duloxetine , levomilnacipran , and venlafaxine .
Mayo Clinic describes tricyclic antidepressants and tetracyclic antidepressants , also called cyclic antidepressants, as being among the earliest antidepressants developed. Theyre effective, but theyve generally been replaced by antidepressants that cause fewer side effects. However, cyclic antidepressants may be a good option for some people. In certain cases, they relieve depression when other treatments have failed.
The GeneSight test is a genetic test that can help inform doctors about how your genes may impact how you metabolize and/or respond to 64 FDA-approved medications commonly prescribed for depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychiatric conditions.
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Can Major Depression Be In Remission
Getting to remission is the primary goal when treating clinical depression. Remission is commonly understood to be getting you back to feeling like yourself. Patients reaching remission claim to feel more motivated, excited for social outings, less obsessive, and more stable regarding their mood.
If you think you are suffering from depression, please speak to your doctor. If medication treatment is an option, consider asking them to order the GeneSight test before making a prescribing decision, particularly if an antidepressant has failed you in the past. If you prefer telehealth appointments or are finding it difficult to schedule an in-person appointment, your clinician can also send a GeneSight® at Home sample collection kit directly to you to complete the GeneSight test from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Learn more about GeneSight here:
Our articles are for informational purposes only and are reviewed by our Medical Information team, which includes PharmDs, MDs, and PhDs. Do not make any changes to your current medications or dosing without consulting your healthcare provider.
If you are a healthcare provider and interested in learning more about the GeneSight test, please call us at 855.891.9415. If you are a patient, please talk with your doctor to see if the GeneSight test may be helpful.
Tips For Managing Clinical Depression
Depression is a treatable mental health condition with several available treatment options. During a depressive episode, it can feel like things are hopeless take comfort in knowing theres hope.
Treatment and management strategies may involve clinical approaches, like medication and therapy, or natural approaches, like exercise and journaling.
Its up to you to decide on the right combination of tools to manage your depression.
Overcoming Depression: How Psychologists Help With Depressive Disorders
Depression is extreme sadness or despair that lasts more than days and affects people in different ways. Fortunately, depression is highly treatable.
Overcoming depression: How psychologists help with depressive disorders.
Everyone experiences sadness at times. But depression is something more. Depression is extreme sadness or despair that lasts more than days. It interferes with the activities of daily life and can even cause physical pain. Fortunately, depression is highly treatable.
Depression, also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. In 2014, an estimated 15.7 million adults in the U.S. about 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode, according to the National Institute of Mental Health .
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
If a GP thinks you’d benefit from taking an antidepressant, you’ll usually be prescribed a modern type called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor .
They help increase the level of a natural chemical in your brain called serotonin, which is thought to be a “good mood” chemical.
SSRIs work just as well as older antidepressants and have fewer side effects, although they can cause nausea, headaches, a dry mouth and problems having sex. But these side effects usually improve over time.
Some SSRIs are not suitable for children and young people under 18 years of age. Research shows that the risk of self-harm and suicidal behaviour may increase if they’re taken by under-18s.
Fluoxetine is the only SSRI that can be prescribed for under-18s and, even then, only when a specialist has given the go-ahead.
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Interpreting Scores: How To Know If You May Need Help:
If your score is 4 or less: May be experiencing tough times but may not need professional treatment.
5-14 Should consider speaking with a professional, your doctor, a counselor at school or work, therapist, or other mental health specialist.
15 or more: May be experiencing clinical depression and likely would benefit from a thorough check up and possibly antidepressant medication andtherapy. .
Other Causes Of Depression
There are a number of things that can lead to developing depression.
- Stressful events big changes in your life, like bereavement, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job, can be difficult to deal with. When these things happen, it’s important to keep seeing friends and family instead of trying to deal with problems alone this increases your risk of developing depression.
- Giving birth pregnancy and birth can make some people vulnerable to depression. Postnatal depression can happen as the result of physical changes, hormonal changes, and the responsibility of taking care of a new baby.
- Loneliness your risk of depression gets higher if you aren’t in contact or spending time with family and friends.
- Personality some personality traits can put you at a higher risk of developing depression. These include low-self esteem or a habit of criticising yourself too much. These personality traits can come from your genes, which you get from your parents, or they can be as a result of experiences in your early life.
- Family history it’s more likely for someone to develop depression if a family member, like a sibling or parent, has experienced it before.
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Can Depression Go Away On Its Own Without Treatment
Surprisingly, some experts say that it can. For some people, depression is cyclical or seasonal, and they can eventually recover and remit without any specific intervention, says James Murrough, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Depression and Anxiety Center for Discovery and Treatment at Mount Sinai. “But we also know that treatments like psychotherapy and medications can severely reduce the symptoms and duration of an episode of depression. Many individuals who suffer from depression never seek treatment, and thats why from a public health perspective we want to keep reducing the stigma around it.
How Common Is Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the US reported having at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows.
Thats 7.1% of all adults ages 18 and older. Women have a higher prevalence of experiencing a major depressive episode than men .
Depression is especially crushing for the workforce: Its the number one leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The total economic burden of MDD is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year in the United States alonea figure that reflects costs associated with missed days, reduced productivity, treatment for depression, and suicide.
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Risk Factors For Depression
Depression can affect anyoneeven a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.
Several factors can play a role in depression:
- Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
- Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
- Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
Social Isolation And Depression In Older Adults
Everyone needs social connections to survive and thrive. But as people age, they often find themselves spending more time alone. Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher rates of depression.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to this issue however, many Americans felt socially isolated and lonely before the pandemic. If youre feeling socially isolated or lonely, and you cannot see your friends and family in person for any reason, try reaching out over the phone or joining a virtual club. Find tips to help you stay more connected.
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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.