How is Depression Treated?

If you suffer from depression, it might feel like something you will never be able to get away from. However, even the most severe and painful types of depression are highly treatable. If your depressive symptoms are stopping you from living your life to the fullest, it’s time to seek help. From therapy and medications to holistic wellness and minor lifestyle changes, there are a variety of depression treatment options available.

Since everyone is affected by depression differently, a treatment that works for one person may not work for another person. As a result, treatment for depression should be individualized to meet the patient’s specific needs. By being educated on the different treatment options, you can start to determine which type of care will best suit your needs.

Lifestyle Changes to Help Treat Depression

Although severe forms of depression often require professional treatment, there are small lifestyle changes that can help improve symptoms. While these lifestyle changes seem minor, they are extremely powerful in boosting one’s mood, coping with sadness, and creating a more balanced life.[1]

Build a Support Network

The importance of having a support group when it comes to mental health cannot be understated. Having a support network in place reduces one’s risk of isolation which is a major contributor to depression. Keeping in regular contact with loved ones and having a safe place to express your feelings will help reduce depression tremendously.

Get Enough Exercise and Eat a Balanced Diet

Exercise is proven to work almost as well as some antidepressant medications. Exercise boosts feel-good endorphins in the brain and helps relieve stress and tension, therefore, helping alleviate depression symptoms. You don’t have to be a triathlete to get a food workout in – a brisk 30-minute walk with a friend or short jog around the neighborhood will do.

On the same note, eating a balanced diet is also linked to more stable and happier moods. Try to avoid a surplus of processed sugars and carbohydrates as these are linked to blood sugar spikes which ultimately result in a “come down.” Instead, eating fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole carbohydrates will help balance the chemicals in your brain, providing for a better sense of wellbeing.

Practice Stress Reduction Techniques

High-stress levels are linked to depression, so it’s important to reduce stress when treating depression. If you notice something is causing you stress, try to step away or find an alternative solution. If that isn’t possible, integrate mindful meditation into your daily routine. By minimizing the impact that stress has on your life, depression is treated more effectively.

Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule

Have you ever had a long, sleepless night and found yourself a little moody the next day? That’s because sleep is largely connected to mood and stress. When people don’t get enough sleep, their symptoms of depression are typically worse as lack of sleep is linked to sadness, irritability, and fatigue. While it’s important to aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, it is also important to stick to a routine. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Quality sleep set on a strict schedule will help treat depression.

Clinical Depression Treatment

If you think you are suffering from depression and making these lifestyle changes either hasn’t worked or seems impossible, it’s time to reach out to a mental health professional. When visiting your primary care doctor or mental health professional, they will make sure that your symptoms are actually those of depression. Then, he or she will either refer you to a specialist or begin discussing your treatment options with you. Depression is treated using a combination of psychotherapy and medications.[2][3]

Psychotherapy

There are several types of psychotherapy used in depression treatment, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy

In most cases, depression is treated using a comprehensive approach that integrates various therapy types.

While in therapy, patients learn real-life techniques that work to shift negative thought patterns and implement positive behavioral skills that fight depression. Furthermore, therapy also helps patients uncover the causes and conditions of their depression. By understanding why you feel the way you do, what triggers your symptoms, and what you can do to change your lifestyle, you can begin healing and coping effectively.

Therapy also helps patients improve their relationships, set healthy boundaries with their loved ones, and learn how to work through life’s problems without becoming overwhelmed. These lessons are best taught in group therapy sessions where patients can interact with other patients who are struggling with the same things. However, treatment for depression commonly consists of both group and individual therapy so individuals have access to the personalized care that they deserve.

Medication

In addition to psychotherapy, depression is also treated using medications. For many people, clinical depression comes down to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Antidepressants help balance out these brain chemicals to lessen the unpleasant symptoms. However, like all prescription medications, antidepressants don’t come without risks and side effects. Additionally, most people who suffer from depression do so because of an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. As a result, most people mind medication alone less effective in treating depression than the combination of medication and therapy.

How Depression is Treated: 3 Things to Remember

Treating depression isn’t easy. There might be ups and downs as well as periods of time where you feel hopeless. However, it’s important to remember these four ideas:

  1. Depression treatment takes time. Many people have to try several medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies to find the right treatment plan that works for them. It’s easy to get impatient when it feels like something isn’t working, but hang in there – treatment takes both patience and commitment.
  2. Medication isn’t a cure for depression. While you might be tempted to rely on medication alone, therapy can do wonders for people who experience depression. Don’t sell yourself short of healing to your full potential.
  3. Finding the right therapist for you is important. If you go to therapy and don’t feel comfortable with your therapist, consider finding a new one. Everyone is different and you deserve to find a therapist that you trust.
  4. Be open to new suggestions. There are a ton of alternative and complementary treatments for depression, such as meditation, yoga, hiking, acupuncture, and even innovative therapies like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy and Ketamine therapy. If your therapist or doctor makes a suggestion, give it a shot. You never know what will work for you.

Keep these things in mind and you will be on the right track.

Find Treatment for Depression Today

Depression isn’t easy – we know. However, our highly trained and licensed mental health therapists are among the most qualified in the nation to help treat depression and other mental health conditions. If you or a loved one is struggling, pick up the phone and call us today. Our compassionate professionals are waiting by to assist you on the track to a better life.

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/depression/find-happy-17/slideshow-depression-diet-stress-exercise
  2. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression-treatment-management
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356013

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