There’s No One Reason For Depression
Lots of things influence whether a person gets depressed. Some of it is biology things like our genes, brain chemistry, and hormones. Some is environment, including daylight and seasons, or social and family situations we face. And some is personality, like how we react to life events or the support systems we create for ourselves. All these things can help shape whether or not a person becomes depressed.
Research shows that depression runs in families. Some people inherit genes that contribute to depression. But not everyone who has a family member with depression will develop it too. And many people with no family history of depression still get depressed. So genes are one factor, but they aren’t the only reason for depression.
Chemicals called neurotransmitters help send messages between nerve cells in the brain. Some neurotransmitters regulate mood. When a person is depressed, these neurotransmitters might be in low supply or not effective enough.
Genes and brain chemistry can be connected: Having the genes for depression may make a person more likely to have the neurotransmitter problem that is part of depression.
Stress, Health, and Hormones
Things like stress, using alcohol or drugs, and hormone changes also affect the brain’s delicate chemistry and mood.
Getting enough sleep and regular exercise often has a positive effect on neurotransmitter activity and mood.
Daylight and Seasons
Family and Social Environment
Almost Nothing Sparks Your Interest
Depression commonly involves a decrease in your energy levels and a loss of pleasure in your favorite hobbies and other things you usually enjoy. As you work toward recovery, youll usually find your interest in these activities slowly begins to return, along with your energy.
With worsening depression, you might notice the opposite.
You might also have trouble mustering up enough energy to go to work or take care of basic responsibilities, like paying bills or preparing meals. Even necessary self-care, like showering and brushing your teeth, might feel beyond your current abilities.
Difficulty Getting Out Of Bed
Its normal to enjoy sleeping in or spending time in bed. However, if it has become difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed or get ready in the morning, this could be a sign of depression. Depression can make us feel fatigued and physically drained to the point where even small tasks, like getting up in the morning, can feel exhausting or difficult to do.
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Learn Your Warning Signs
The first step is to develop your ability to sense the beginning of a depressive episode. The earlier you notice depression creeping in, the sooner you can take proactive steps.
What are your early signals does your sleep pattern or appetite change? Do you become apathetic? Are you more irritable? Do you withdraw from loved ones?
Once you become aware of your particular signs, take action early, and youll be more successful in heading off depression.
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.
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Plan Time For Relaxing Self
Some focused self-care often helps when you’re in the depths of the depressive episode itself. Self-care can include anything from taking a bath to listening to music to meditating â and if you know that a depressive episode is coming, you can fiddle with your schedule to ensure that there’s time to do some self-care.
Warning Signs Of Depression Relapse
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Reach Out To Family Or Friends
If you feel that you are slipping back into a state of depression, reach out to a family member or friend to let them know how you are feeling. Depression can make you want to narrow your social connections, which can make the symptoms of depression worse. Therefore, finding someone you can confide in and who will check up on you can make a difference.
Trap #: Seeking Sugar Highs
When you’re feeling down, you may find yourself craving sweets or junk food high in carbs and sugar.
Sugar does have mild mood-elevating properties, says Ilardi, but it’s only temporary. Within two hours, blood glucose levels crash, which has a mood-depressing effect.
The Fix: Avoid sugar highs and the inevitable post-sugar crash. It’s always wise to eat healthfully, but now more than ever, your mood can’t afford to take the hit.
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What Is A Relapse
The definition of relapse in relation to depression is a recurrence of symptoms after remission has been achieved .
While it is possible that those who relapse will experience the same symptoms they did during their first depressive episode, it is also possible that the symptoms that they experience will be entirely different the next time.
Engage In Meaningful Activities
One of the hallmarks of depression is a loss of interest in pleasurable activities. Even if youre not motivated to do the things you normally enjoy, try going through the motions anyway.
Volunteer. Engage in creative pursuits like writing, painting or playing music. Participate in your faith community.
As you move the focus off yourself and onto the activity and start connecting with others, your spirits will lift.
Theres no surefire way to stop a depressive episode in its tracks. But having a plan to address depression when it strikes can make it more manageable and help you to feel better sooner.
How Can You Get Yourself Out Of A Funk
Although depression can become a very clinical subject, many of the ways to help yourself through this mood disorder are very simple and practical. Self-care is a key component to living a happy, healthy life and between your diet, exercise, daily routines, and social interactions there are plenty of steps you can take to influence your mood. As you move through your depression, be open to trying new approaches and understand that it might take a combination of these self-care practices before you notice a change in your mood.
Depression Is A Real Medical Condition
Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. Depression symptoms can interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy your life. Although researchers are still studying the causes of depression, current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Most people with depression need treatment to feel better.
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You Notice Changes In Eating And Sleeping Patterns
Depression often affects appetite and sleep habits.
Sleep changes often happen on a similar spectrum. You could have a hard time staying awake and feel exhausted enough to sleep all day but you could also struggle to fall asleep or wake up often throughout the night.
Trouble sleeping at night can mean you need to nap during the day to catch up, so you might end up drifting off at unusual times. This can affect your energy and concentration and further disrupt your sleep.
Psychological Depression Symptoms Include:
- doing poorly at work
- difficulties with your family or home life
Its not always possible to tell that youre having symptoms of depression right away it can start and progress gradually. A lot of people dont realise theyre ill and try to carry on and cope with their symptoms. Sometimes it takes a friend or family member to notice that theres a problem.
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We Dont Have To Feel This Way
Learning I wasnt alone in my depression was the first step in a long process of discovery. The second revelation I had was that I didnt have to feel that way.
I dont have to be stuck. I dont have to feel consumed by despair or indifference.
I can feel better.
Theres nothing stopping me other than the voice in my head telling me that its pointless to try. Once I realize I dont have to feel bad all the time, I can start actively looking down that road of recovery.
Red Flags That You May Be Slipping Back Into Depression
If youve overcome a period of depression you will know how scary it can be when you start feeling blue again. There is always that fear that you will slip back into that black hole but it doesnt have to be that way.Learn how to spot a depression relapse and prevent a full-blown episode.
Many people who suffer a bout of serious depression do not experience such a severe episode again. In fact, research indicates that 50 percent of people who experience an episode of depression will recover and live a relatively normal life when it comes to their mental health. But half of those who suffer from an intense episode will find that they relapse sometimes more than once during their lifetime.
The good news is that if you are able to spot the red flags of a depression relapse, you stand a better chance of preventing a full-blown episode or at least coping better with your depression when it hits.
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Is Your Depression Coming Backsigns Of A Depression Relapse
Depression is a widespread mental health concern that affects an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. If you’ve experienced depression in the past, you may be worried about the potential for relapse.
While treatment for depression such as therapy or medication has been shown effective, research has also shown that about one-third of individuals who discontinue treatment will relapse within one year.
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.
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Medication Therapy Or Both
Not everyone improves with therapy alone.
Some therapists may wait to recommend talking to a psychiatrist about medication until you ask, so be sure to let them know if youd like to try a combined approach.
Whether youre considering therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, or all of the above, you have plenty of options.
Many therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy to treat depression, but thats not the only effective treatment.
Its absolutely normal to feel frustrated and powerless when depression intensifies and your usual coping methods no longer seem to make much difference.
This bleak outlook doesnt have to become your reality. These tips can help you get support.
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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Chronic Aches And Pains
Do you have back pain even though you havent strained your back? Or how about chronic headaches and stomachaches? Unexplained chest pain or achy legs and arms? Depression can have physical symptoms, too. If your aches and pains don’t get better with treatment, ask your doctor if depression could be to blame.
What Foods Help Ease Depression
While no specific diet has been proven to relieve depression, a healthy diet can help you feel your best physically and mentally. Certain foods may be linked to brain health and support for memory, alertness, and mood. Examples include foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids , antioxidants , and nutrients like choline . Always talk with your doctor before making any major diet changes.
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Tips For Preventing A Relapse
These prevention strategies can help to stop depression from returning:
Keeping up with treatment: Finishing the full course of a prescribed medication can significantly reduce the risk of relapse, especially during the critical 6 months after treatment begins.
Mindfulness based therapies: Mindfulness can help a person understand any negative thought patterns and find ways of dealing with them. One study shows that practicing mindfulness three times a week may reduce depression relapse by up to 50% within a year.
Educating friends and family: Telling friends and family what warning signs to look out for might help catch an episode early.
Prepare for a relapse: It may help to make a plan so that, if warning signs do appear, the individual can act upon them quickly. A doctor can help with this.
When worrying symptoms come back during treatment, it might mean that current treatment is not working as it should.
A doctor may recommend changing the treatment style or increasing the medication dosage.
Treatments that can help include:
Talking therapies: Interpersonal therapy , cognitive behavioral therapy , or both may reduce the risk of depression returning.
Medication: or mood stabilizers can help some people. Following the doctors recommendations for taking these drugs can help reduce the risk of a relapse.
Electroconvulsive therapy: In some cases, a doctor may recommend
Adhere To Therapy Recommendations
If you were already in therapy for depression, it’s likely that you received some homework and/or recommendations on how to move forward after the last session. Reflect back on your time in therapy and what you learned.
Are there strategies you could start using again? Are there workbooks or tracking logs that your therapist gave to you? Anything that was helpful to you in the past will likely be helpful to you again as you face a depression relapse.
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I Start From Where I Am
Self-care isnât all fancy spas or relaxing vacations. While I love getting massages or walking by the ocean, in reality I need to take better care of myself where I usually am â at home, in the car, at work, or out with family and friends.
As frustrating as it can be, mental illness is part of my life, so I needed to develop coping skills that I could use throughout the day. Making this perspective shift â from looking outside for self-care to also looking inside âhelped me cultivate skills and self-awareness that I can use to cope with depression and anxiety in my everyday surroundings.
Difficulty Experiencing Joy Or Connection
When were depressed, it can take all of the enjoyment out of the things we love and make it more difficult for us to connect to those closest to us. We may begin to lose interest in hobbies, friendships, schoolwork, social activities, sex or life in general. When this happens, we may find ourselves feeling isolated from friends, family members or others who care about us.
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So What Do We Do To Win Against Depression
Waking up one morning and realizing your depression has magically disappeared isnt likely to happen. I desperately want it to work like that, believe me. Ive laid in bed for hours, staring at my ceiling. Ive slept more than Ive been awake because sleeping is the only full escape I have.
My depression is never gone when I wake up.
Depression is a formidable foe, and like all adversaries, I cant avoid it. I have to find the strength to stand against it.