How To Fight Depression
Depression is a challenging disorder, and it can take a long time to recover. Even with a variety of treatments, the positive effects may not be noticed for several weeks or longer. Specifically, antidepressants can take at least three weeks to start producing a positive effect on your mood, and some medications may need to be altered, adjusted or changed during treatment in order to achieve results. Not all antidepressants have the same effect on each person, so the first medication or combination of medications you try may not work for you - If that's the case, you'll have to start over from the beginning. However, there are other things you can do to help get yourself out of depression, which do not require medication.
Depression can make you feel like withdrawing rather than be active. However, being active can actually make you feel better. Doing something about your feelings of depression can be empowering. When you feel you are actively trying to make your symptoms better, this can help perpetuate positive feelings.
According to WebMD, "The tendency to take on overly ambitious goals right away is actually quite common in people who are depressed," says Dan Bilsker, PhD, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Bilsker co-wrote a self-care guide for people with depression that is freely available online from the university's Mental Health Evaluation and Community Consultation Unit. Don't assume you will be able to leap out of depression and turn your life around immediately. "Start with some very small, detailed, specific goals." Break tasks into smaller ones. The more you feel steps of success, even small steps, it will help improve depressive feelings.
Reactivate Relationships, Interests
Many times a person with depression will withdraw from friends, family, social activities, maybe even spiritual activities. If you have withdrawn, you should take small steps toward getting back into it. It might feel uncomfortable at first, Make your first social interactions more intimate or with less volume of people. You may feel more comfortable going out with one friend for coffee than attending a party with 40 people. Don't expect to show up at a party and command the room, but do try to get out and see some people. Meet with someone briefly for coffee, or maybe drop in on a friend to return something you borrowed. Re-engaging with relationships will help you to feel supported, less feelings of isolation, and talking about your problems with someone close to you can help decrease depressive symptoms.
Exercise Away From Depression
"The typical things that we all know are important to taking care of ourselves become that much more important when you're dealing with depression," says Lea Ann Browning, a spokeswoman for the National Mental Health Association. Exercise is a proven tonic for depression. For decades studies have been showing that aerobic exercise improves mood in people who are depressed. Research indicates that the amount of aerobic exercise needed for general good health is equivalent to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week, which can bring about significant improvements in depression.
“The study, published in the January 2005 issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine, involved people with mild-to-moderate depression who did various amounts of exercise for 12 weeks. All groups in the study, including those in the control group, who only did stretches, had some improvement, but those who exercised as much as the CDC recommends fared best. In that group, 46% of the people reduced their symptoms by one-half, as rated on a scale of depression severity, and 42% no longer qualified as depressed when the study ended,” explains WebMD.
Seek Clear Thinking
Try to think positive. Depression can feed into negative thinking. Negative thoughts can be of suicide, helplessness, and perseverating thoughts of negativity.
Ask yourself questions:
Avoid Negative Behavior
Depressive symptoms can be overwhelming to the point that a person may begin to use or increase use of alcohol or drugs - Do not make major life changes when you are depressed.
- Kim B.
Downs, M. (n.d.). Help Yourself out of Depression. Retrieved January 25, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/help-yourself-out-of-depression?page=4
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