Do Something You Enjoy
Depression can push you to give in to your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than preferred emotions.
Try to push back and do something you love something thats pleasurable or meaningful. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking.
The byproduct of engaging in meaningful activities can be a lift in your mood or energy, which can further motivate you to continue to engage in helpful activities that help with navigating symptoms.
Research suggests that walks in nature may improve depressive symptoms in people with clinical depression.
Time in natural spaces may improve mood and cognition, and lower the risk of mental health disorders. However, theres only limited research on the direct effect of nature on those with clinical depression.
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.
What Are The Different Antidepressants And How Do They Work
- SSRI This category of drug includes fluoxetine , citalopram , and sertraline and targets serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps control mood, appetite, and sleep.
- SNRI SNRIs include drugs like duloxetine , desvenlafaxine , and venlafaxine , which block the reabsorption of both serotonin and another neurotransmitter, norepinephrine.
- NDRI This class of medications includes bupropion.
- TCA TCAs include such drugs as imipramine and nortriptyline . These drugs were among the earliest antidepressants to come on the market. These days, doctors generally only turn to them when treatment with SSRIs, SNRIs, and NDRIs has failed.
- MAOI MAOIs, including phenelzine and isocarboxazid , were the first antidepressants developed. Theyre rarely used today, in part because people who take them require careful monitoring to prevent negative interactions with certain foods and other medications.
All antidepressants can have side effects, but some may be more problematic than others. You may need to try several different medications, or a combination, guided by your doctor, before you find what works best for you.
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.
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Who Is At Risk For Depression
Depression can affect anyone, no matter their age, gender or circumstances. About 16 million Americans experience depression each year.
Women may experience depression more often than men. And your genetics or other health conditions can increase the likelihood that youll have at least one depressive episode in your lifetime.
How Can I Help Myself If I Am Depressed
Other things that may help include:
- Spending time with other people and talking with a friend or relative about your feelings
- Increasing your level of physical activity. Regular exercise can help people with mild to moderate depression and may be one part of a treatment plan for those with severe depression. Talk with your health care professional about what kind of exercise is right for you.
- Breaking up large tasks into small ones, and tackling what you can as you can. Don’t try to do too many things at once
- Delaying important decisions until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well.
- Keeping stable daily routines. For example, eating and going to bed at the same time every day.
- Avoiding alcohol
As you continue treatment, gradually you will start to feel better. Remember that if you are taking an antidepressant, it may take several weeks for it to start working. Try to do things that you used to enjoy before you had depression. Go easy on yourself.
Risk Factors For Suicide
Not all people with risk factors will be suicidal. In addition to depression or other mental illness, risk factors for suicide include:
- Current or past history of substance abuse
- Past history of suicide attempt
- Family history of suicide
- Family history of mental illness or substance abuse
- Firearms in the home
- Feelings of hopelessness
Aim To Get A Good Nights Sleep
Not enough sleep can worsen symptoms of both anxiety and depression but too much sleep can also affect well-being and mood.
Experts recommend most adults get
These tips can help you get the sleep you need:
- Make a habit of going to bed and getting up around the same time each day.
- Turn off electronic devices about 1 hour before bedtime.
- Create a soothing ritual that helps you wind down before bed.
- Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
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What Are The Causes Of Depression
People usually associate depression with trauma. However, adverse events arent its only cause. It has other triggers.
First of all, studies have linked genes to depression, though the inheritance pattern isnt well-defined. That said, they prove that people who have parents with depression have twice the risk of developing the condition than those who dont.
2. Imbalance of brain chemistry
Depression occurs when the neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation become imbalanced. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that help different areas of the brain communicate with each other. When certain neurotransmitters are in short supply, this may lead to the symptoms we recognize as clinical depression.
These neurotransmitters are chemical substances that enable different parts of the brain to communicate. Depression sets in when they are lacking.
3. Female Sex Hormones
Many studies, including this one, document that twice as many women suffer from depression as men. They are prone to it because their hormones are in constant flux, particularly during their menstrual cycles. Moreover, their risk of depression declines after they go through menopause.
4. Circadian Rhythm Disturbance
Also, a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder happens because of a disruption in the bodys circadian rhythm.
5. Poor Nutrition
6. Poor Physical Health
9. Grief and Loss
What You Can Do: Daily Habits Make A Difference
These healthy lifestyle habits, along with professional treatment, can help you manage the symptoms of major depression:
Treatment Works. SAMHSA Can Help You Find It.
Effective treatments for major depressive disorder are available in your area. The earlier that you begin treatment, the greater likelihood of a better outcome. For confidential and anonymous help finding a specialty program near you, visit SAMHSAs Early Serious Mental Illness Treatment Locator.
If you, or someone you know, need help to stop using substances whether the problem is methamphetamine, alcohol or another drug call SAMHSAs National Helpline at or TTY: , or text your zip code to 435748 , or use the SAMHSAs Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to get help.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Depression
While each person may experience symptoms differently, these are the most common symptoms of depression:
Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
Loss of interest in almost all activities
Appetite and weight changes
Changes in sleep patterns, such as inability to sleep or sleeping too much
Slowing of physical activity, speech, and thinking OR agitation, increased restlessness, and irritability
Ongoing feelings of worthlessness and/or feelings of undue guilt
Trouble concentrating or making decisions
Repeating thoughts of death or suicide, wishing to die, or attempting suicide
If you have 5 or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks, you may be diagnosed with depression. These feelings are a noticeable change from whats normal for you.
The symptoms of depression may look like other mental health conditions. Always see a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Depression And Older Adults
Feeling down every once in a while is a normal part of life, but if these feelings last a few weeks or months, you may have depression. Read this article to find common signs and symptoms of depression, treatment options, and if you or your loved one may be at risk for depression.
On this page:
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Reach Out To Loved Ones
Strong relationships can go a long way toward improving your outlook and emotional well-being when you live with mental health conditions.
Friends and family can:
- provide encouragement and emotional support
- join you in hobbies or activities that offer a positive distraction
- offer rides, grocery runs, and other more tangible forms of support when you have trouble getting things done
Simply knowing you have someone you trust in your life can often help you feel less alone, whether you actually want to talk about your symptoms or not.
Treating co-occurring depression and anxiety can sometimes be more complicated than treating one condition alone. Even when you get treatment for one condition, some symptoms might persist or seem to play off the others.
- You cant stop worrying about all the things going wrong in your life, or thinking about the ways things could get worse. These fears eventually drain your energy and motivation to keep trying, leaving you feeling low and hopeless.
- Social anxiety keeps you from connecting with people in the ways youd like. You want to make new friends but generally end up avoiding interactions instead. This leaves you feeling lonely, sad, and guilty, especially when thinking of those missed opportunities, but helpless to do anything differently.
A mental health care professional may recommend combining treatment approaches, since what helps ease depression symptoms may not always relieve anxiety symptoms, and vice versa.
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.
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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What Are The Types Of Major Depression
There are several types of depressive disorders:
What Can I Do If I Have Depression
If you have symptoms of depression, see your healthcare provider. They can give you an accurate diagnosis, refer you to a specialist or suggest treatment options.
If you or someone you know is thinking of hurting themselves or taking their own life:
- Go to the emergency department of your hospital.
- Contact a healthcare provider.
- Speak to a trusted friend, family member or spiritual leader.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Depression is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. Anyone can experience depression even if there doesnt seem to be a reason for it. Causes of depression include difficulties in life, brain chemistry abnormalities, some medications and physical conditions. The good news is that depression is treatable. If you have symptoms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can feel better
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2020.
Put Your Thoughts On The Witness Stand
Once you identify the destructive thoughts patterns that contribute to your depression, you can start to challenge them with questions such as:
- Whats the evidence that this thought is true? Not true?
- What would I tell a friend who had this thought?
- Is there another way of looking at the situation or an alternate explanation?
- How might I look at this situation if I didnt have depression?
As you cross-examine your negative thoughts, you may be surprised at how quickly they crumble. In the process, youll develop a more balanced perspective and help to relieve your depression.
Diagnosing And Treating Depression
There’s no physical test for depression.
If you experience depression symptoms most of the day, every day, for more than two weeks, you should visit your GP. This is especially important if:
- you have symptoms of depression that aren’t getting any better
- you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- your work, relationships with friends and family, or interests are affected by your mood
It can be hard for people with depression to imagine that anything can help them but the sooner you seek help, the sooner the symptoms start to get better.
Your GP may examine you and perform blood or urine tests to make sure there isn’t another condition causing your depression symptoms, like an underactive thyroid.
When you see your GP, they’ll try to find out if you have depression by asking you questions. These are likely to be about your health, how you’re feeling, and how that is affecting you mentally and physically.
Telling your doctor your symptoms and the affect they are having on you will help your GP to tell if you have depression, and how severe the condition is. It’s important to be as open as possible.
Your conversation with your GP will be confidential. This rule can only be broken if your GP thinks there is a significant risk of harm to you or others, and that telling a family member or carer would make that risk lower.
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Do Something You Have Control Over
Regaining some control in the moment could help overwhelming feelings feel a little easier to cope with.
You dont have to take any major action, but accomplishing a short task, such as making your bed, taking a shower, or unloading the dishwasher, can help boost a sense of accomplishment. It could also offer a temporary distraction.
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.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is a condition that occurs in children and youth ages 6 to 18. It involves a chronic and severe irritability resulting in severe and frequent temper outbursts. The temper outbursts can be verbal or can involve behavior such as physical aggression toward people or property. These outbursts are significantly out of proportion to the situation and are not consistent with the childs developmental age. They must occur frequently and typically in response to frustration. In between the outbursts, the childs mood is persistently irritable or angry most of the day, nearly every day. This mood is noticeable by others, such as parents, teachers, and peers.
In order for a diagnosis of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder to be made, symptoms must be present for at least one year in at least two settings and the condition must begin before age 10. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is much more common in males than females. It may occur along with other disorders, including major depressive, attention-deficit/hyperactivity, anxiety, and conduct disorders.
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder can have a significant impact on the childs ability to function and a significant impact on the family. Chronic, severe irritability and temper outbursts can disrupt family life, make it difficult for the child/youth to make or keep friendships, and cause difficulties at school.
Treatment typically involves and/or medications.
What Risks And Complications Can Depression Cause
Having depression can cause other problems. It can affect your mental health as well as your physical health, and it may affect other areas of your life too. For example, depression may cause:
- disturbed sleep,
- difficulties with work and your hobbies,
- difficulties keeping contact with friends and families, or
- suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harming.
Some people might also drink more alcohol to try and relieve depression. However, as we said in the previous section above, this can actually make depression worse.
If you have any of these problems, speak to your GP.
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