Ways You Can Look After Yourself
If youre depressed, there are steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery. These steps can help if youve been depressed in the past and want to stay well.
- Talk about how youre feeling. Talking to someone you trust, or finding peer support, can help you feel better and less alone.
- Eat well. A healthy diet can lift your mood and maintain your mental health.
- Stay physically active. Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it can ease the symptoms of depression. Research suggests it may be as effective as antidepressants in helping you feel better.
- Spend time in nature. Research shows that being in nature can make us feel happier, feel our lives are more worthwhile, and reduce our levels of depression
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. They may feel like theyre helping at first, but they make things worse in the long run.
- Try talking therapy to stay well. NICE guidelines recommend CBT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy if youve been depressed in the past.
Which Types Of Talk Therapy Work Best For Depression
The Society of Clinical Psychology rates several types of psychotherapy as highly effective :
- Behavioral activation therapy The aim of this type of therapy is to reverse the downward spiral of depression by encouraging you to seek out experiences and activities that give you joy.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT focuses on changing specific negative thought patterns so that you are able to better respond to challenging and stressful situations.
- Interpersonal therapy This very structured, time-limited form of therapy focuses on identifying and improving problematic personal relationships and circumstances directly related to your current depressive mood.
- Problem-solving therapy This therapy is a form CBT that teaches take-charge skills that help you solve the real-life problems and stressors, big and small, that contribute to depression.
- Self-management/self-control therapy This type of behavioral therapy trains you to lessen your negative reactions to events and reduce your self-punishing behaviors and thoughts.
Depression Statistics: Disturbing Trends Helpful Treatment
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who, like Kashuk, know exactly what it means to be depressed. An estimated 17.3 million, or 7 percent, of adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, making it one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States.
Whats more, a recent report from Mental Health America, a nonprofit founded in 1909, offers startling statistics pertaining to one of depression’s most disturbing symptoms: thoughts of suicide.
According to its 2021 State of Mental Health in America report, suicidal ideation among adults increased by 0.15 percent between the 2016-2017 calendar year and the 2017-2018 calendar year, the most recent years for which statistics are available.
There is a bright side. Although there is no one-size-fits-all cure for depression, there are many effective treatment options, one of which is bound to help you heal if youre struggling with the illness. This cannot be emphasized enough, given that roughly two-thirds of people living with depression do not receive the care they need, according to a report in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, published online February 22, 2019.
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Most People With Depression Need Treatment To Feel Better
If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your health care provider. This could be your primary doctor or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions . Certain medications, and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. A health care provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. Your health care provider will examine you and talk to you about treatment options and next steps.
Talking to Your Health Care Provider About Your Mental Health
Communicating well with your health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Read about tips to help prepare and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, including questions to ask your health care provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Reacting To Life Situations
Life is full of ups and downs. Stress, hassles, and setbacks happen . How we react to life’s struggles matters a lot. A person’s outlook can contribute to depression or it can help guard against it.
Research shows that a positive outlook acts as a protection against depression, even for people who have the genes, brain chemistry, or life situations that put them at risk for developing it. The opposite is also true: People who tend to think more negatively may be more at risk for developing depression.
We can’t control our genes, brain chemistry, or some of the other things that contribute to depression. But we do have control over how we see situations and how we cope.
Making an effort to think positively like believing there’s a way around any problem helps ward off depression. So does developing coping skills and a support system of positive relationships. These things help build resilience .
Here are three ways to build resilience:
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Depression Affects Your Diet
When youre feeling depressed, you might have less of an appetite, skip meals, or have an overwhelming desire for sweet foods that have less nutritional value.
Large quantities of fat and sugar can make you feel groggy and tired.
Nutritious foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide healthy antioxidants and nutrients with energy-boosting effects and these are the foods that we tend to put to aside when depression arises.
You Dont Sleep As Well
Depression may be disrupting your sleeping patterns in some way. About 80% of people with depression, for example, experience insomnia.
But its not just a lack of sleep that causes tiredness. Oversleeping, which is also a common symptom of depression, can cause similar feelings of fatigue over a period of time.
These kinds of sleep irregularities are among the biggest causes of fatigue in those who experience depression.
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Feeling Depressed Or Suffering From Depression
We often get mixed up between low mood and unhappiness and depression. The two things are very different. Depression isnt about feeling unhappy, its feeling youll never be happy again, explains Colin Grange, Psychologist and Clinical Director of Lifeworks.
If youre feeling low, is it starting to interfere with your day to day life? Are you not doing things that you used to do? Are you losing motivation in and enjoyment of life? Are you starting to not enjoy your hobbies? Is everything becoming an effort?
People suffering from clinical depression often experience a range of symptoms both physical and emotional which can interfere with day to day life. Discovering whether you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms could be an important step towards getting the help you need.
Quiz: Am I depressed?
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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Dont Use Facebook As An Indicator
You will be relieved to know that graphology is no longer considered a reliable test of a persons character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidates character or future performance in the workplace.
Depression And Oversleeping: I Want To Sleep All The Time
Oversleeping is my way out of depression. That’s not so odd seeing that sleep, whether it is too much or too little, can be a symptom of depression. For me, I could never get enough sleep. That is often still the case, a keen reminder that I must always be aware of the symptoms of depression that affect me. Depression makes me want to oversleep to numb the pain.
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Glandular Fever Or Mono
Also known as mononucleosis, or just mono, glandular fever usually attacks young adults. While this viral infection lasts just a couple of weeks, the fatigue, unfortunately, lingers on for months after. Other signs of this fever are a sore throat, high body temperature, and swollen glands in your neck.4
What Are The Different Antidepressants And How Do They Work
The most commonly prescribed cause changes in brain chemistry that affect how neurons communicate. Exactly how this improves mood remains somewhat of a mystery, but the fact that they do often work is well-established.
- SSRIs This category of drug includes Prozac , Celexa , and Zoloft and targets , a neurotransmitter that helps control mood, appetite, and sleep.
- SNRIs SNRIs include drugs like Cymbalta , Pristiq , and Effexor XR , which block the reabsorption of both serotonin and another neurotransmitter, .
- NDRIs This class of medications includes bupropion.
- TCAs include such drugs as Tofranil and Pamelor . 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.
- MAOIs MAOIs, including Nardil and , 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.
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Youre Too Focused On Money And Material Things
The longing for more money and more toys is the cause of so much dissatisfaction and unhappiness in life.
Money and things might provide a temporary boost of happiness, but then you quickly become bored and long for the next thing or a higher income.
Place more emphasis on relationships, experiences, and personal growth.
How Is Depression Treated
Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
Before a diagnosis or treatment, a health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and a physical examination. In some cases, a blood test might be done to make sure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency . The evaluation will identify specific symptoms and explore medical and family histories as well as cultural and environmental factors with the goal of arriving at a diagnosis and planning a course of action.
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Other Reasons People Hide What They Are Feeling
Parents who are experiencing depression may worry about how their children or family could be affected. They may even fear that they will be seen as unfit parents if they admit to having feelings of depression.
The pressure to justify depression can be overwhelming, but remember the old saying that you cant judge a book by its cover. The way someone elses life appears to be may not show the whole truth.
People who are depressed may work very hard to try to hide how they really feel. On the outside, they may look and even act as though they feel OK and that everything is fine.
Whether youre experiencing depression yourself or you care about someone who is, it can be helpful to reframe how you think about the condition. Start by focusing on the causes of depression rather than focusing on reasons .
Depression Affects Each Woman Differently
Not every woman who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some women experience only a few symptoms. Others have many. The severity and frequency of symptoms, and how long they last, will vary depending on the individual and the severity of the illness.
Where Can I Learn More About Depression in Women?
The following agencies have additional information on depression in women.
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Some Common Causes Of Depression
Some factors that contribute to depression include:
- Brain chemistry: The “chemistry” of depression is not well understood, but researchers do know that an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters can happen in anyone, even in the absence of an obvious “trigger.
- Non-modifiable risk factors: Some influences, such as brain structure, genetic predisposition, and environmental exposures, are not something a person can control.
- Modifiable risk factors: Risk factors that fall under the category of lifestyle choices are considered modifiable, but the extent to which an individual can do so will depend on their own ability and how much support they have.
Depression can make it much more challenging to address factors that might be contributing to depression, such as substance use or diet. As much as it is a mental illness, depression can also be physical. Symptoms like chronic pain and fatigue can make it difficult for people to take on lifestyle modifications, such as exercise, even if they want to and believe they could help.
To make these changes people need to have the right tools and a good deal of support. To get treatment, a person with depression needs to feel safe talking about how they are feeling.
A person who believes they are depressed for no reason may not feel they deserve to ask for or get help. Thats why its important to focus less on the reason for depression and instead think about the causes.
Lifestyle Changes For Depression
Lifestyle changes, such as making art, journaling, exercising more, and practicing yoga or mindfulness, can also alleviate depression and the stress that can heighten it. Alternative treatments like massage, acupuncture, and light therapy may also help.
Diet changes, too, can uplift your mood by reducing inflammation and helping to ensure your brain gets the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
One randomized controlled study, published October 9, 2019, in the journal PLoS One, found that self-reported symptoms of depression dropped significantly in just three weeks in young adults who changed from a highly processed, high-carbohydrate diet to a focused on vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, unsweetened dairy, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and the spices turmeric and cinnamon. In contrast, the depression scores didnt budge in a control group of people who didnt change their diet.
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Diagnosing Depression And Fatigue
To make a depression diagnosis, your doctor will ask you about your medical history and give you a questionnaire that assesses depression. They may use other methods, such as blood tests or X-rays, to make sure another disorder isnt causing your symptoms.
Before diagnosing you with chronic fatigue syndrome, your doctor will run several tests to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. These may include restless leg syndrome, diabetes, or depression.
Emerging Trends In Substance Misuse:
- MethamphetamineIn 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Data shows that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
- CocaineIn 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
- KratomIn 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.
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Aim To Exercise More And Start Small If You Need To
Though depressive attitudes may make it harder to work out, implementing an exercise routine thats realistic and attainable in your everyday life can ease depression fatigue.
Exercise has the added benefit of improving your sleep, too.
Its OK to start small even just walking for 30 minutes a day will likely boost your energy and mood. Exercise is truly an organic and reliable way to help address your depression fatigue.