How to Conquer Depression
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Did you know that approximately 1 in 10 American adults develop some form of depression? Or, that depression is most prevalent in people, ages 45 to 65? (Healthline, 2015).
Depression, also known as major depression, depressive disorder, and clinical depression, involves more than simply experiencing a “case of the blues” for a few days. In fact, according to National Institute of Mental Health (2015), true depression persists for at least two consecutive weeks, and interferes with daily functioning. Depression causes both physical and psychological symptoms (i.e. severe fatigue, headaches, gastrointestinal upset, irritability, anxiety, and/or feelings of despair, hopelessness and helplessness). And, in some cases, it can lead to suicide attempts and suicide.
Depression symptoms are not only constant; they typically affect the sufferer and the people around them (i.e. co-workers, relatives, friends, children, spouses/partners, and even strangers). The American Psychology Association (APA) reports that the exact cause of depression varies, however, it is still possible to conquer this condition with lifestyle changes, and the assistance of qualified mental health professionals (i.e. counselors, psychologists, therapists, clinical social workers, and/or psychiatrists). If you are interested in learning how to conquer depression, you have come to the right place. This article will provide you with valuable tips on how to banish depression from your life.
Are you getting enough exercise? If not, you may want to consider adding that to your daily or weekly schedule. In fact, you can overcome depression, or at the very least reduce symptoms by exercising on a regular basis. Exercising releases high levels of endorphins (hormones that are responsible for mood regulation and energy), which can improve your mood, and lift your depression. So, when you find yourself entering a dark time in your life - ramp up your exercise routine. For instance: start walking or jogging every morning, lunch break, and/or evening, play tennis, swim, join a gym, and/or participate in a sport (i.e. basketball, football, soccer, etc.). Try to exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes. Exercising will not only reduce or eliminate your depression symptoms; it will also improve your mood, alleviate muscle tension, regulate your sleep patterns, and zap your stress.
Consume Fatty Fish, Whole Grains, and Fresh Fruits & Veggies
How healthy is your diet? If you spend more time munching on junk field (i.e. chips, fries, hamburgers, pizza, candy, ice cream, pastries, etc.) than consuming healthy foods, than it may be time to revamp your diet. In fact, one of the best ways to reduce depression symptoms is to consume healthy foods (i.e. low-fat diet, fatty fish, fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean meats). Do not forget to add water into your diet. Why? Well, water flushes toxins out of your system, which can ease depression symptoms. It’s important to understand the effects that certain foods have on your health (i.e. moods). In fact, some foods may actually improve or worsen depression symptoms, and/or influence the effectiveness of anti-depressants. So, when you find yourself slipping into depression, add some fatty fish (i.e. salmon, tuna, etc.) into your diet.
Try to consume at least 3 servings of fatty fish a week, until your depression subsides. And, if possible, continue this routine, to ward off future episodes of depression. Why should I consume fatty fish? Well, because it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce stress and improve moods. Moreover, researchers have found that an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can trigger mild-to-moderate depression, in some people. You may also want to add or increase your consumption of whole grains like: oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown/wild rice, and/or quinoa.
Avoid refined carbohydrates (simple sugars) like: candies, cakes, cookies, and soda. Why should I consume whole grains? Well, whole grains are complex carbohydrates, which regulate moods. Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand, negatively affect moods. How? Well, they cause your blood sugar to crash. Improve your condition by consuming at least 2 to 3 cups of fresh fruits and veggies each day. Also, opt for dark green leafy veggies (i.e. kale, turnip greens, Swiss chard, mustard green, etc.). Why? Well, because they are packed with folic acid. Low folic acid levels have not only been linked to mild-to-moderate depression, it also has the ability to negatively affect the efficiency of anti-depressants.
Are you taking your medications as prescribed? If not, you may want to start taking your prescribed anti-depressants. You can conquer depression by taking your medications as prescribed by your doctor. This is especially important, if you have moderate-to-severe depression. It is common for physicians and psychiatrists to prescribe a counseling and anti-depressants combination for the treatment of depression. Common medications used to treat depression include: Abilify, Celexa, Cymbalta, Effexor, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Seroquel, Prozac, Lexapro and Sarafem.
Lastly, have you thought about counseling? If not, it may be beneficial for you to attend counseling sessions for your depression. Seek counseling from a qualified mental health professional. Make sure that the professional you choose has experience working with depressed individuals, and commit 100% to the counseling process. Psychologists and psychotherapists will help you identify the factors that are triggering your depression. They will also teach you more effective coping, communication, and problem-solving strategies. Most of all counseling will reduce your symptoms and help you regain control of your life. Common counseling types include: individual, marital/couples, family, child, and group. And, common counseling approaches include: cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy.
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
American Psychological Association (APA). (2015). Understanding depression and effective treatment. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-depression.aspx
Healthline. (2015). Depression statistics. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/statistics-infographic
Mayo Clinic. (2015). Depression (major depressive disorder). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/definition/con-20032977
McMillen, M. (2015). Treating depression without antidepressants. WebMD Health News. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20150225/depression-treat-without-antidepressions
National Institute of Mental Health. (2015). What is depression? Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml
WebMD. (2015). Psychotherapy to treat depression. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/depression/psychotherapy-treat-depression