Can You Prevent Depression From Happening
While theres no surefire way to prevent depression, one of the greatest protective factors for depression is social connection and social support, says Jessica Stern, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. Maintaining healthy friendships and relationships, she says, can potentially significantly decrease the likelihood or severity of depression. Whats more, the chance that an individual will receive care for symptoms of depression is often based on their social situation, Dr. Murrough says. Friends or family notice that someones not themselves, having trouble getting out of bed, and missing activities and appointments, and will help them seek care. Someone whos relatively isolated may be at risk for not getting treatment, and in turn, fall into deeper depression. The key? Nurture your relationships and encourage each other to talk openly about your feelings, without judgment. The more we can de-stigmatize emotions, the more we can help prevent or slow down the progression of negative emotions to depressive symptoms, says Dr. Stern.
Sadness Before Your Menstrual Cycle During Pregnancy Or After Childbirth
Reproductive hormones can also play a part in depression symptoms, so tracking what time of the month symptoms show up can offer some important clues.
- Symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder generally show up a week or so before your period starts. Along with depression symptoms, you might experience anxiety or nervousness, paranoia, or panic. Some people also have a sense of general overwhelm, or feel as if theyre losing control.
- Perinatal depression involves episodes of depression that might begin during pregnancy or anytime in the first year after childbirth. It can involve worries about your ability to care for your child and intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your child. You might also struggle to bond with your child.
- Depression symptoms can also develop along with perimenopause, or the transitional period before menopause. You might feel very tearful, lose interest in your usual activities, and find it difficult to manage ordinary stressors.
Things To Do When Depressed Include:
- Engage in an enjoyable activity like going to a baseball game or attending a social gathering, even if you don’t initially feel like it.
- Avoid spending long periods of time alone.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Take care of yourself. Pamper yourself.
- Break tasks up into small chunks spread out over time to make them more achievable.
- Spend time with friends or family. Talk to a trusted person about what you’re going through.
- Postpone important decisions until you’re feeling better. If you have to make an important decision, discuss it with others because feeling depressed can cloud your judgment.
- Get professional help when needed.
Remember, no matter what you do when you’re depressed, feeling better takes time. You may have to get weeks of depression treatment before starting to feel better, but trust the depression will lift over time.
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Major Or Clinical Depression
Major depression is much less common than mild or moderate and is characterized by severe, relentless symptoms.
- Left untreated, major depressive disorder typically lasts for about six months.
- Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but major depression can be a recurring disorder.
Can Situational Depression Become Clinical Depression
Situational and clinical depression are similar, but not the same.
- Situational depression stems from a traumatic or stressful event and the person is struggling to come to terms with changes relating to it. This type of depression usually manifest within three months of the event or change.
- Clinical depression is more severe than situational depression, but its important to point out that no type of depression is more real or easier to handle than another. Every type of depression is a mental disorder that involves complicated emotions and struggles. With clinical depression, the main symptom is a depressed or low mood on most days for a long period of time. A depressed mood often interferes with a persons ability to work, sleep, eat and enjoy themselves by any means.
Typically, people with situational depression will notice mood improvements a few days or weeks after the stressful event has ended or enough time has passed. However, its possible that if the event triggering the situational depression continues, or if the person never fully addresses it, it could turn into clinical depression later down the road.
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Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
Getting Out Of A Funk: How To Help Yourself Through Depression
Everyone has off days where they feel tired, irritable, and sad. Its normal to feel sadness as a response to challenging life events, loss, or changes, but sometimes these feelings can stick around for a while if left unaddressed and make it difficult for you to get through each day.
Heres how you can tell when youre in a funk or maybe even experiencing a mild depression as well as what you can do to help yourself feel better.
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Lack Of Support System
We need people to know who we really are. We need moments of vulnerability or opening up to one another to feel safe and secure. When we can tell others what we are going through, we feel a sense of clarity and release.
We feel obligated to be our own heroes. We feel like we need to hold on rather than let go and let others in. When this happens, sadness increases, and we are no longer engaged with those we love.
People overwhelm us with their ability to smile, carry on and even be functional. But thats not always their truth either. When sadness hits, we have to tell someone and build a support system. We may find we have some thing about ourselves in common with others.
Find people you trust: professionals, friends and family that you can turn to when going through a hard time. Let them in. You are not alone in this. You just need to allow others to see your weaknesses, which arent even true weaknesses. Feeling sad is not a weakness. Holding back in an effort to appear strong is, however, a weakness. When people know what youre going through, they can better assist you.
No man is an island. John Donnes
What Else Can I Do To Feel Better
If you tried those things, you might already feel better. But here are more things that can help when youre feeling sad:
Get support. Tell someone how you feel. You could tell a parent, a teacher, or a friend. They can listen to how you feel. After they listen, they might say, No wonder you feel that way, I see why you feel sad. It helps to know they understand.
Sometimes, thats all you need to start feeling better. Other times, you want to talk more about what you feel sad about. Talking about how you feel helps you get ready to feel better.
Think about good things. When youre ready to feel better, think of a few good things. Was there something good in your day? Was someone kind? Did something go well? You can think of other good things, too. Like your favorite books, games, or shows. Think of the people, places, or pets you love. These are all good things.
Write some good things down, say them out loud, or draw them. Even if youre not in the mood to do this, try it anyway. Its hard to stay sad when youre thinking about good things.
Put yourself in a good mood. Shake off a sad mood by doing things that put you in a brighter mood. Play a game or sport, ride a bike, dance or run. Take a walk, make art or music. Read, or spend time with someone you like. Relax, or get active. Have some fun, and feel better.
Learning to cope with sad feelings takes practice. But it helps you make room for more positive feelings.
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Sadness Isnt Always A Symptom Of Depression
Is it possible to experience formal depression symptoms without feeling sad? Yes, absolutely.
If youve received a diagnosis of depression, but you dont always feel hopeless or sad, trust that youre not alone. And your experience of living with depression isnt invalidated because of that.
Some people are less hungry, and some have increased appetite. Some have insomnia, and some have hypersomnia, says Goldman.
This means that not everyone experiences the same depression symptoms or intensity.
Other folks living with depression may feel anxious or angry, too, says Goldman. It can be difficult for some to connect to sadness or experience sadness because of biology, cultural upbringing, societal values.
Goldman says depression is still real and valid whether or not you have any of the following experiences:
- genuinely laughing at a joke
- suddenly crying after laughing
- moments of happiness and joy
- feeling an absence of sadness
- easily accomplishing tasks one day but not the next
Depression can be experienced differently, so acknowledge that your experience is legitimate, she says. This doesnt mean that youre not experiencing depression it solely means that your depression is manifesting in a specific way.
In every case, symptoms of depression can be managed, and treatment is available.
Depression is a formal mental health condition that manifests with several emotional, physical, and cognitive symptoms.
Alternately, human emotions can be fluid and ever-changing.
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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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Depression
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is considered to be one of the leading psychological treatments for depression. All of our online courses use CBT strategies to help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Click below to see if CBT can help you tackle your symptoms to improve the way you feel.
Strategies for Dealing with Depression
People who are depressed generally have a negative thinking style.
They often think of themselves as worthless and of the world as being a bad or unfair place, and they find it hard to hope that their lives will improve in the future.
When something bad happens, they blame themselves, but when good things happen, they tell themselves they are just lucky.
Furthermore, people with depression are less likely to recognize and appreciate positive events when they happen rather, they tend to be more tuned into the bad things in their lives and brood over those events.
The aim of a cognitive approach is to help people identify and correct their distorted and negatively biased thoughts.
This approach identifies and challenges underlying assumptions and beliefs.
With encouragement to reframe the way they think about life, people are able to recover from failures more effectively and to recognise and take credit for the good things in their lives.
People learn that they have some control over what happens to them. As with behavioural strategies, having these skills reduces relapse and recurrence of depression.
Does Depression Run In Your Family
In my family, depression goes back generations. My great grandfather was institutionalized for 40 years and my grandfather was subjected to horrific treatments in the ’50s.
I was diagnosed with depression when I was 42 and learned then that, in many cases, depression and other mood disorders are passed down in the family.
Of course, families can struggle with situational depression.
My siblings and my kids were as devastated as I was about my moms death and we all struggled. But, we’ve all been able to move forward and not have the sadness affect our lives.
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How To Change Negative Thought Patterns
No matter what the cause of your persistent negative thinking, you can learn to challenge your negative thought patterns by refuting the cognitive distortions as they arise. This involves identifying negative thoughts as they enter your brain and offering another perspective to shut them down. Frances McIntosh from Intentional Coaching LLC advocates literally talking to your negative thoughts to counteract them:
Let your internal voice say, Im recognizing a negative thought its a story Im telling myself, and its not true.
If you are able to find a quiet spot, it can be useful to meditate on these words with your eyes closed for a few minutes to let them sink in. Although repeating these words may feel silly, know that you are working hard to challenge the automatic thoughts you’ve spent a long time going over.
How Can I Help Someone With Depression
Helping someone with depression might not look a single way. However, things that you can do to help include encouraging treatment, listening with compassion, helping the person suffering with daily tasks, be vigilant for signs of suicidal behavior, and to make sure you are caring for yourself, too.
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How Is Depression Diagnosed
Depression cannot be diagnosed by lab tests or physical examinations. However, your doctor may ask you about your symptoms and family or medical history, as well as order urine or blood tests to rule out other conditions that can cause depression such as hypothyroidism.
If no medical condition or medication is causing you to feel depressed, your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist. Your psychiatrist will interview you to help confirm a diagnosis.
Mixed Anxiety & Depression Explained
Depression and anxiety have similar causes and some people can experience symptoms of both conditions at the same time. If youve been experiencing both low mood and persistent worry, tension, and unease, click below to learn more about the relationship between anxiety and depression.
How To Deal With Depression
There are a range of ways to deal with depression, and often they are best used in conjunction with each other. The primary medical options are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy , antidepressant medication, and in some severe cases, Electroconvulsive Therapy .
Education and coping strategies are also important when learning to manage your depression.
ECT is an effective form of treatment for depression, especially if:
- There are medical contraindications to medication.
- There is a need for rapid improvement because of suicidal intent or refusal to eat.
- The person has experienced treatment failure following CBT, several medications, or combined medication and CBT treatment trials.
- The person has had a previous positive response to ECT.
- Somatic symptoms are prominent.
- Psychotic symptoms are present.
What is CBT?
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To Release Sad Emotions Don’t Overlook The Value In A Good Cry
Alternatively, you could also try “crashing,” which is something Levin does when she’s sad. I put on music or movies or shows that I know will help me cry and have a release, she says.
While it may seem counter-intuitive, Levin is actually on to something. “Only humans exhibit emotional crying,” says Dr. Matt Bellace, PhD, psychologist, and self-help . And not to get too science-y but Bellace says a biochemical analysis of tears found that the droplets contain an endorphin named leucine-enkephalin, which is known to reduce pain and improve mood. Plus, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, crying isassociated with the activation of the parasympathetic nervous systemwhich stimulates a relaxation responsemeaning it may have a self-soothing effect on people. Equally important: The same study found that “criers most likely report mood improvement if they receive comfort from others,” so it may be helpful to let it out in front of a close friend or family member.
How To Practice Focused Meditation
Here are six tips to help you practice focused meditation. Based on your availability and interest, these tips may change and evolve. Thats the point: to create a structured practice that caters to your needs.
1. Find a Comfortable Seat
As with any meditation practice, comfort is truly key. The physical body responds to meditation practice by alerting you to whether it is comfortable and supported or stressed out and in pain. This is best observed in practitioners who tend to slouch and lose the tall, supported spine that is essential to meditation practice.
A simple rule in meditative sitting is to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees. Therefore, choosing to sit in a chair instead of on the floor may be a smart decision or perhaps propping yourself up on a cushion. For meditation techniques overall, it does not matter how you sit. All that matters is that you are supported and comfortable sitting for some time.
2. Choose Your Object of Focus
Every meditation training session is going to be different because no single day is the same for any one person. Therefore, experienced meditators know that choosing an object is more about listening to what you need at this time versus following any doctrine or rule.
3. Set Your Desired Time or Go With the Flow
Likewise, if you have the time, you can also listen to your body and come out of your meditation when you feel its right to do so. This is often a beautiful practice of listening and tuning in.
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