How Can I Manage My Depression?
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Depression affects millions of people every day. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 280 million people face depression worldwide. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines depression as a severe mood disorder that causes symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. It is characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in the things a person once enjoyed.
Complex interactions between social, psychological, and biological factors can lead to the development of depression. Significant life events such as childhood hardship, chronic illness, the loss of a loved one, and even unemployment may also contribute. Alternatively, depression can also be a symptom of other underlying mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and substance use disorders (SUDs).
What Are the Different Types of Depression?
Multiple variations fall under the umbrella of depression (also referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression). Each type has its own distinctive qualities. However, all involve persistent feelings of sadness or sorrow.
This type of depression is characterized by symptoms of depression that persist the majority of each day, lasting at least two weeks at a time. These symptoms usually interrupt the individual’s daily life. The ability to work, sleep, eat, or interact with others may all be affected.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)
When someone struggles with persistent depressive disorder, they experience less severe symptoms of depression compared to major depression. However, these symptoms last significantly longer, often at least two years.
This type of depression occurs when people experience major depression during pregnancy or after delivery. Depression after delivery is known as postpartum depression. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), up to one in seven women develop postpartum depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that comes and goes with the change of the seasons. Symptoms often start during late fall or early winter. They then recede at the beginning of spring or summer.
Depression With Symptoms of Psychosis
This type of depression is a severe form in which a person experiences psychosis symptoms along with symptoms of depression. These psychosis symptoms include delusions and hallucinations.
Seeking Diagnosis and Treatment
Seeking a proper diagnosis prior to treatment is an essential first step to receiving the right care for depression. When left untreated or ignored, depression can significantly worsen. This can include an increased risk for the following:
- Substance abuse
- Excessive weight loss or weight gain
- Wreckless or self-sabotaging behavior
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Luckily, many great methods can be implemented to help in the depression management process.
Managing Depression at Home
Individuals can do many things at home to help manage and cope with their depression. Developing healthy habits in daily life and routine can help people make significant progress in their overall goals for depression management. Here are some of the best things individuals can implement into their lives to achieve a happier state of mind.
The benefits of exercise regarding depression have been well-established. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s chemicals that make a person feel good. If a person is not already active, walking is a full body and gentle start to any exercise routine. Individuals should talk to their doctor if they have any health concerns about incorporating exercise into their daily lives.
A diet with loads of healthy, nutrient-rich foods can significantly boost mood and overall health. Medical professionals have noticed a connection to certain nutrients lacking in individuals facing depression. Multiple studies have also shown a decrease in depressive symptoms due to specific diet changes. A diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and lean protein, such as fish and yogurt, is recommended for those looking to improve their mental health.
Getting the right amount of sleep is essential for the brain and body to function properly. Depression can often involve sleep interruptions at night, resulting in exhaustion throughout the day. Setting a strict schedule to follow every day with a downtime period before bed can help you wind down for a good night’s sleep.
Keeping a journal can help individuals get their thoughts on paper. This is a great tool to reflect and process thoughts in order to help work through the things that are the most troubling to a person.
Those struggling with depression are encouraged to look for hobbies they enjoy doing. Some common hobbies may include:
- Taking up art or photography
- Reading a good book
- Spending time in nature
Learning about passions and pursuing them can help individuals cope with their symptoms of depression.
Treatment for Depression
While tools can be used to help individuals cope with depression at home, those struggling with depression should also seek treatment. Treatment plans for depression often involve a form of talk therapy and can be paired with medication. Working with a therapist and making efforts like those listed above can bring back the light a person has been missing.
Alter Behavioral Health knows the challenges you face every day. You don’t have to face them alone. Depression can steal your light and your happiness. It can make you feel like there’s no hope left. But there is. You deserve a bright future full of laughter and joy. At Alter Behavioral Health, we can turn the light back on in your life and help you achieve a sense of peace for the days to come. You may feel like depression is winning this battle, but it’s not, and you will win this war. Call us today at (866) 691-4386 to get started on the journey that leads to the rest of your life.