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“Depression” is often used as an umbrella term to describe symptoms of listlessness. It is also used to describe specific forms of depressive disorders, including major depressive disorder (MDD), persistent depressive disorder, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, etc. Whether you are diagnosed with a depressive disorder or are exhibiting related symptoms, you are not alone. By utilizing professional treatment services and resources, more specifically, those provided by Alter Behavioral Health, you can gradually incorporate the hobbies you love back into your daily life.
The Prevalence of Depression
Depression, at large, affects a great number of the United States population. According to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, “Major depression is the most common mental disorder in the U.S. and is the strongest risk factor for suicide behavior.” Data from the article revealed an undeniable increase in past-year depression, finding that the prevalence was 7.3% in 2015 and rose to 9.2% in 2020. Moreover, depression continues to rise as a result of events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and other destructive events.
These statistics highlight the significant number of people affected by depression, validating that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. Moreover, although depression exists on a spectrum, it must be urgently treated to avoid worsening health complications from surfacing, such as suicidal ideation.
Depression: The Shadow of Listlessness
The National Insitute of Mental Health (NIMH) lists a host of signs and symptoms of depression. In order to be diagnosed, symptoms must be present for at least two consecutive weeks. You may have depression if you:
- Experience a persistent sad or depressed mood
- Feel guilty, worthless, or helpless
- Have lost interest in activities you once found pleasurable; listlessness
- Experience chronic fatigue
- Have difficulties concentrating
- Experience sleeping issues, such as insomnia
- Have unexplained physical aches and pains
- Are feeling increasingly more irritable or frustrated
It is also important to understand that depression often appears differently in women compared to men. For example, men may exhibit more aggressive or irritable behavior. As a result, they are often more likely to turn to alcohol to self-medicate symptoms. Still, women also experience an increased risk of substance abuse as a result of depression.
Although you may recognize the severity of your symptoms, you may feel particularly saddened by your inability to participate in the hobbies you love. Fortunately, professional treatment can help to treat any chemical imbalances, intrusive thoughts, or problematic emotions that facilitate depressive symptoms like listlessness.
At Alter Behavioral Health, we recognize that depression is a multifaceted mental illness. Unfortunately, depression often co-occurs with other mental health disorders or substance use disorders (SUDs). Because of this, we believe that it is essential to diagnose and treat all existing conditions in tandem to ensure effective recovery. The most valuable treatment methods for depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and antidepressant medication. When used in tandem, prescription medication often increases the effectiveness of the therapeutic process.
Once you begin a treatment program, your team of treatment professionals will guide your healing. As you participate in CBT, interpersonal therapy, or other therapeutic groups, you will adopt a variety of skills and strategies that will serve as encouragement on your route to healing and recovery.
If you are prescribed antidepressant medication, allow your medication some time to begin working properly. Over time, your medication will work to balance neurotransmitters in your brain that will gradually restore feelings of hope, contentment, and motivation. Patience will help you as you attempt to pursue the hobbies you love alongside depression.
Incorporating the Hobbies You Love Into Your Recovery
Learning how to incorporate the hobbies you love back into your life with depression can be a daunting task. This can be especially so if you are not participating in a treatment program. As depression often occurs as a result of chemical imbalances in the brain, you simply cannot expect your brain to balance these levels on its own. This is why antidepressant medication often plays a crucial role in the treatment process.
On the other hand, participating in treatment can also serve as greater motivation to pursue the hobbies you love. For example, in group therapy, you will likely connect with others that share similar hobbies and interests with you. You can lean on these connections and use them as motivation to pursue your hobbies. Moreover, you can choose to pursue such hobbies alongside your peers. Often, facilities incorporate group activities into treatment, which can help you develop a passion for new hobbies.
Suggestions for Pursuing the Hobbies You Love
Working with a therapist to discuss your hobbies, interests, values, and more can also foster motivation for pursuing the hobbies you love. It may help to keep in mind the following:
- Start slow and small: Incorporate ten to 20 minutes of a hobby you love into your daily routine and work up from there.
- Focus on self-care: Pay attention to the hobbies that foster physical and mental wellness. For example, consider incorporating mindfulness exercises or physical activity into your daily routine.
- Breathe in nature: Try to engage in the hobbies you love outside in the sunshine. Whether you are sitting or lying down in the grass, at the very least, you are experiencing fresh air and reaping the benefits of Vitamin D.
- Learn something new: A hobby doesn’t have to be something physically or mentally taxing. Rather, it can be anything that stimulates joy in life. Finding time to learn something new through reading, listening to a podcast, or talking with loved ones can be great ways to develop and engage with hobbies you love.
Depression can affect every aspect of your life, affecting your ability to concentrate at work or school to limiting your ability to get out of bed in the morning. If you have depression, pursuing the hobbies you love may seem like an overwhelming activity. Fortunately, by utilizing professional treatment, you can incorporate the hobbies you love back into your life. At Alter Behavioral Health, we customize our client’s treatment plans to fit your unique needs and goals. For depression treatment, we often utilize a combination of psychotherapy and medication to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment process. With time and treatment, you can pursue the hobbies you love with motivation and pleasure. Call us today at (866) 691-4386.