Finding the Best Depression Treatment

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PHYSICIAN VOICES
8 Tips for Managing Depression

  • smiling-confidant-woman
    There are things you can do to overcome depression.
    Depression is draining and it can be incredibly difficult to do what’s necessary to feel better. Some people try to simply will themselves out of depression, but there are active steps you can take to overcome it.

     

    Do not let your depression prevent you from reaching for the help you need. Small steps can go a long way in helping you manage your depressive symptoms.




  • couple comforting
    1. Turn to loved ones for support.
    Support is essential when you are depressed. Being depressed can make you feel isolated and very far away from recovery. While you may not want to reach out to friends or family members, the people you are emotionally tied to can tremendously impact your depression for the better.  Seek out the people who love and care for you. They won’t mind hearing what you’re going through and will understand even if you have withdrawn from the relationship to some extent. Don’t feel like you are a burden and don’t be afraid to ask for the support you need.

     

  • Fans clapping at concert
    2. Do not retreat into a shell.
    Many patients suffering from depression avoid social activities. However, you will feel less depressed when you are around and engaging with others—even if you do not feel like it. Consider signing up for a class, volunteering for a local non-profit, meeting for coffee, or joining a friend for a walk.




  • Exercise
    4. Don’t stay in bed.
    The last thing you may want to do if you feel depressed is exercise. However, exercise may be as helpful as medication for some patients with depression. Exercise has been shown to increase energy levels and decrease stress.

     

    Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. While you may not be able to do this at first, your goal should be 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week. If you need or want to, you can break this up into three 10-minute sessions per day. Walking just 10 minutes has been found to improve mood for two hours. You can also incorporate more activity into your daily life by taking the stairs instead of an elevator or parking your car further away from your destination.




  • portrait-of-serious-young-man
    5. Confront negative thinking.
    Many depressed patients put a negative spin on much of what happens to them. Patients say things to themselves such as “I can’t do anything right,” “I’m a total failure,” or “I’m a loser.” This mindset and practice furthers depression symptoms and makes it very difficult to get into a balanced place where treatment is possible.

    Sometimes we need to realize and accept that we are less than perfect, and that’s okay. If you’re thinking things about yourself that you wouldn’t tell others, chances are you are being too hard on yourself. Also, Consider the people you spend time with. If everyone around you is negative, you probably will be, too. Spend time with people who keep a positive mindset and you might start seeing things differently.




  • Boy tempted by French fries
    6. Remember you are what you eat.
    How and what you eat can impact your mental health. Increasing fruits and vegetables while decreasing sugars and refined carbs is good for your overall health as well as your depression. Sugars and refined carbs are feel-good foods that people often crave or turn to when having a bad day. While these foods can be comforting for a short period of time, they can also lead to a sudden crash in mood and energy. Similarly, skipping meals can lead to irritability and poor mood and energy.

  • Woman wearing sun hat
    7. Pursue activities that make you feel good.
    There are things you can do to increase your energy levels and improve relaxation. First, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up about the same time each day and shoot for eight hours of sleep. Second, get out into the sun every day, as lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Take a walk at lunch or have coffee outside at your local coffee shop to get some rays. Finally, learn deep breathing strategies, meditation, or yoga, since active relaxation techniques decrease stress and symptoms of depression, and improve well-being.




  • 8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychiatrist
    8. See a mental health professional.
    Depression is like any other medical problem: when symptoms worsen, you need to seek help from your doctor. Sometimes your doctor will alter or add a medication; other times he or she will recommend lifestyle changes. Needing to see a doctor about your depression does not mean that you are weak. Like hypertension or diabetes, depression is a treatable medical condition and you can feel better when you take small steps every day.




8 Tips for Managing Depression

About The Author

Dr. Pat Bass III is chief medical information officer and an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at LSU Health- Shreveport and University Hospital. View his Healthgrades profile >
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THIS CONTENT DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. This content is provided for informational purposes and reflects the opinions of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding your health. If you think you may have a medical emergency, contact your doctor immediately or call 911.
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