HOW TO GET RID OF DEPRESSION
We all have days when we are just disinterested in life. Relationships, responsibilities and expectations combine together to weigh tons on our shoulders. This doesn’t constitute depression as depression, though common, is a real mood disorder rather than mood swing and people that are diagnosed with depression have often experienced the symptoms for a period of two weeks or more. So, how to get rid of depression is a major concern to many people who have found themselves entangled in its web without a clue how to get out of it.
Types of Depression
Depression is a common depressive disorder that affects every aspect of a person’s life. It affects their thoughts, actions and feelings and also brings about complications in their health and well being. Here are the types of depression we have;
Bipolar depression– this occurs when a person experiences periods of extremely low moods. However, this same person may experience extremely high moods which makes it more of a disorder than a depression.
Seasonal affective disorder– this is oftentimes, associated with winter seasons when natural sunlight is greatly reduced but some people suffer from it during summer when the body’s adjustment to whether changes is delayed. This kind of depression lifts when the dreaded season is over but returns every year.
Perinatal depression– this is a serious depression experienced by many women after giving birth. Baby blues which is the mild depression and anxiety experienced after delivery pales in comparison to this. This depression makes it hard for the new mothers to adequately care for themselves and their babies.
Psychotic depression– this has to do with depression that combines with mental disorder. The psychosis could be in form of hallucinations and delusions. The following symptoms usually accompany feelings of guilt, illness and some other depressive life themes.
Causes of Depression
Different things can cause depression and the sickness itself usually combines two or more symptoms over a consistent period of time. Different causes usually coalesce to form depression and older people or those living in unfavorable economic and social conditions are more prone to depression. The following causes are responsible for depression
Medications– some drugs lead to depression as a side effect. A drug like Accutane which is used to treat acne. Some drugs used to treat anxiety and insomnia like valium also lead to depression. Other medications that cause depression include those used to treat menopause, high blood pressure and cholesterol. It is important for you to note the side effects of any drugs you want to use and consult your doctor to know its safety level.
Genetics– if you have cases of depression running in your family, then you are most likely susceptible as well. However, depression is made up of very complex trait that makes it different from many genetic diseases. This doesn’t limit the risk of having depression if your family is prone to it as most psychiatric disorders generally have complex genetic traits.
Serious illness– other medical conditions can lead to depression. People are likely to develop depression when diagnosed with life-threatening or terminal diseases like heart disease or cancer. Thyroids and severe head injuries are also leads to serious mood swings and emotional complications that constitute depressions.
Bereavement– the loss of a loved one can lead to depression if not properly handled. Feelings of grief and guilt for someone’s death often lead to this. A parent may feel the death of his/her child would have been averted if he/she had been more responsible and their helplessness makes them develop depression.
Substance Abuse– many people that abuse drugs are prone to depression.
Adverse life events– the end of relationships, loss of job and other events that make people feel insecure and often lead to depression.
Conflict– depression often arises when a person cannot relate well with their family members, parents, siblings and other people within their social cycle. This may be due to personal issues, but without the understanding of other people, those concerned can develop depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Many of the symptoms that constitute depressions are experienced by nearly everybody. What makes it depression is the consistency and severity of such symptoms. People suffering from depression don’t experience all of these symptoms but they experience enough to pass the normal ‘bad day’ mood boundary. If you have been experiencing these symptoms for a period of two weeks or more, then, you are most likely suffering from depression;
- Feeling sad, anxious and empty persistently
- Feeling hopeless and having a negative disposition
- Feeling overwhelmed by everyday responsibilities and extremely irritable
- Loss of interest in hobbies and favorite pastimes
- Lack of confidence and intensity of frustration
- Loss of enthusiasm
- Reduced energy and incessant fatigue
- Inability to focus on anything or remember things clearly
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Inability to sleep, oversleeping or disturbed sleep
- Loss of weight or weight gain
- Inability to concentrate on any particular course of action, intense and persistent restlessness
- Lack of motivation
- Substance abuse
- Feeling aches and pains without any physical basis
- Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts
Prevention of Depression
Since majority of the causes accountable for depression are things we have no control over like the death of a loved one, it is practically impossible to say there is a way to completely avoid having depression. However, with some basic lifestyle adjustments, you can increase your chances of healthily responding to adverse life situations. Also, if you are just recovering from depression, there is a high chance of relapse at the slightest provocation. We may not readily agree to this but depression in its own way is a kind of escape we have created for us, and over time, it becomes a safer haven and option to confronting our devils. There are steps you can take to optimally reduce your chances of getting depressed and that way, rid yourself of depression. Some of these preventive measures are actual steps you can take to get rid of depression.
Live your Passion- Richard Leider, on Blue Zones described a person who has found purpose as “a clear-eyed, energetic person getting up in the morning- with a reason to get up in the morning- and going off to do something that they have really chosen to do with their time and their life". One of the easiest ways to get depressed is to have no sense of control over your own life. Get purpose and depression will hike pretty far from you.
Curb your excesses– when you are faced by loads of responsibilities that you can’t handle, you begin to feel overwhelmed and stress sets in which accumulates to depression. You can prevent this cycle by knowing your limits and staying within it. Work, but do not overwork. Be concerned but do not worry. Expect but do not be anxious. In all things, do not over exert yourself. Give room for little mishaps and don’t beat yourself down or up for your slips. If you consistently follow these principles, depression will be far behind you.
Eat healthy– we are what we eat. While it may seem a bit farfetched, studies continually reveal that there are foods we can eat that will aid happy mood and those we eat that will result in a gray or sad mood. Eating foods that increase blood sugar significantly affects prevalence of major depression according to a study by Westover and Marangell while eating foods rich in healthy fats are safe for consumption and aid happiness.
Avoid alcohol and substance abuse– alcohol and some illegal drugs can negatively affect your mood. Alcohol functions as depressant while many of these drugs release neurotransmitters that affect the mood. While feelings of ecstasy and happiness may be experienced on consumption, such feelings are short-lived and usually replaced by an awful sense of foreboding that leads to depression.
Clinical Treatment of Depression
Treating depression is done with some forms of medications and talking therapies. The National Institute of Mental Health warns that no two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no “one-size-fits-all" for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find a suitable treatment.
Antidepressants– this is a form of medication that is used to treat the symptoms of depression. Antidepressants are of varying kinds and should be taken only based on recommendation by a doctor. Antidepressants are used to treat depression ranging from moderate to severe and can also be combined with other kinds of treatments like talk therapy for effective recovery.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – this is an inside out approach to treating depression that helps patients understand the patterns of their thoughts and actions and how they are affected by these. While CBT tries to understand how nature and nurture has shaped the patients, it is more concerned with creating healthy thought and action patterns in the present. CBT can be done one on one with a counselor or in group with other people suffering from depression. Technology has also made it possible to create online CBT that exists as a computerized version of the real one.
Counseling– counseling is a form of guide to help you through your daily life. Many people are depressed because they feel clueless on deciding on any course of action. A counseling session will help you deal with your daily life without enforcing any choices on you.
Behavioral Activation– according to an article published by The Lancet, this method of treating depression is as effective as CBT even though it is cheaper. It is an outside in approach to treating depression that helps people to change how they behave.
Self-help Treatment of Depression
Purpose– one major thing depression strikes out of your life is a sense of consequence. For this reason, design a life for yourself that you daily look forward to. Doesn’t have to be big things but consistent regular responsibilities
Sleep well– it will be very helpful if you can designated a period of time to sleep daily. Nap during the day as well. At first, it may seem tasking but when you refuse to budge, your body will comply and will reward you for it. A good session of sleep will clear your head, calm your nerves, revitalize your body and make you ready to take on the world.
Diet– there are some kinds of food that will ease your depression like salmon and spinach which contain omega-3 fatty acid and folic acid respectively. These foods enhance serotonin which is a brain chemical that helps make people happy. Avoid foods that will increase your blood sugar as while they may give you the rise instantly, they return to haunt your mood.
Exercise– I have never seen a person depressed while exercising, have you? Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good. If you exercise regularly, chances are you are also sweating your depression away. Study at Duke University in Durham has shown that sessions of vigorous aerobic treatment were as effective at treating depression as daily doses of Prozac within a period of four months. Since you have probably heard how important exercise is before, why not give it a try?
Laugh– if you are waiting till everything is rosy to be happy, you never will be. You have to be able to find humor in everyday life and little frustrations. Loosen up, lighten up and throw yourself into your days. Laughter does do well like antidepressants!
Bask in Sunlight– spending some time out in the open will set your mood right because the sun helps to regulate the circadian rhythm and make you feel happier, healthier, freer and stronger. Do remember to wear sunscreen to protect your skin.
Resist Negativities– say no to anything that tries to take you down. Realize your own power and leverage on it to challenge negative thoughts.