Saturday, September 1, 2018

Combating Depression

Expert Depression Counselors|Let's Put Smart To Work

What is Depression?

Depression is a medical condition that negatively affects how you physically feel, how you behave and the way you think and process information. It is more than just having a case of "the blues" for a day.  It affects the brain which it turn affects the rest of the body.  Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed which, over time, can have a dramatic impact on your health and well-being. It can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and personally. Depression can affect anyone from children to the elderly although it typically first appears in teenagers and is more likely in women than in men. Millions of people suffer from depression and it is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.  Fortunately, effective treatments are available.
Distraught girl with head in heads at a desk

Symptoms

Many people that suffer from mental health challenges never get diagnosed or treated because they don't recognize the symptoms. The following are some common depression symptoms  to be mindful of:
  • insomnia, or sleeping too much
  • loss of energy
  • significant weight gain
  • feeling helpless and hopeless, flat or empty
  • difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • slow movement and speech noticeable by others
  • zero motivation, withdrawn
  • self-loathing, worthlessness
  • feeling sad or having a lowered mood for a prolonged period of time (approx. 2 weeks)

Depression is different from grief despite sharing some similar symptoms. In the event a loved one dies, grief is a normal process which can often bring about feelings of sadness and result in withdrawal.  Unlike depression, however, the person grieving does not normally enter a state of self-loathing and is able to maintain their own personal self-esteem.  Further, the pain that is typically associated with grief, typically comes in waves, whereas during depression the state of pain is lasting and typically exhibited for a prolonged period of greater than 2 weeks.  If in doubt ask your physician or mental health professional to conduct an assessment to determine if depression is present and recommend the appropriate treatment.


Treatment

Getting support and help plays a vital role in overcoming depression. It is difficult on your own to maintain the effort required to beat depression and the tendency is to isolate your-self from close friends, family members and professionals that can assist. Even in the most severe cases, depression is a very treatable condition. The most common treatments used are psychotherapy and medication with the goal being a permanent stop of the depression symptoms.  Almost all patients experience at least some relief from their symptoms.

The following are some common treatments for depressive symptoms:

1. Psychotherapy: 
One of the most helpful treatments is to talk with a mental health therapist. Common approaches that have been proven effective include:
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy - involves the challenging and changing of negative thought patterns and has proven to be as or more effective than antidepressant medications, and protects against relapse.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy - a form of CBT, targets unhealthy or disruptive behaviors and teaches the skills necessary to become more adaptive to stressful situations in the future. This form of therapy is useful for treatment-resistant depression.

2. Prescription medication:
Be sure to create a list of questions for your doctor along with some notes about your symptoms and medical history.  Many doctors will prescribe anti-depressant medication. Ask about the length of treatment, and possible side effects.  Any side effects should be communicated back to your doctor. Do some research beforehand and discuss possible alternatives options if you would prefer not to take prescription medication.


Self-Help Strategies

Along with professional treatment, the following are strategies that can assist in combating depressive symptoms:
  • Lifestyle Changes - get the rest that your body deserves.  Turn off the television/computer and read a book - go to bed at a reasonable time and force yourself to get up early.  You will be surprised at what a well rested and functioning brain can accomplish.
  • Physical Appearance - when you awake, make sure you devote enough time to yourself.  Clean-up well.  Force yourself to invest that first part of the day back into you.
  • Eat Healthy - eliminate sugars and fast food. Eat a balanced, healthy diet.
  • Exercise - improves your fatigue and temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Starting an exercise routine when you are feeling depressed can be difficult but has long-term benefits. Regular exercises refresh your brain and improve your energy levels.
  • Alcohol & Drugs - eliminate and cleanse.  If you truly want to feel better about yourself and the world around you, remove these from your environment and don't look back.
  • Stay Connected - force yourself out of isolation to see close friends and family members. You may feel ashamed or too exhausted to talk about your situation but sharing with supportive family members will enable them to support you back.
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There is Hope

Depression is real and help is available. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, the vast majority of people with depression will overcome it. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, a first step is to see your family physician or mental health counselor. Talk about your concerns and request a thorough evaluation. You can then start to address your mental health needs.

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Combating Depression

Expert Depression Counselors|Let's Put Smart To Work What is Depression? Depression is a medical condition that negatively affects h...