The Best Ways to Beat Depression

  • Depressed woman
    Beyond the Blues
    Recognize that a depressive disorder is more than the blues. It interferes with every aspect of life, including relationships. Without treatment, depression can last for weeks, months, or even years. The first step is to see your primary care physician.

  • Meeting the doctor
    Diagnosis Is Key
    A big reason to head to the doc: Some medications and medical conditions can cause symptoms that seem like depression. Your doctor will work to rule out these possibilities.

  • woman eating salad and checking phone
    How to Find Support
    If you don't have a primary care doctor, talk with a nurse, social worker, or religious counselor. Ask him or her for a recommendation on where to get help. Or look under "mental health," "social services," and "hotlines." A community mental health center also can be a great resource. Or call the free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

  • Therapy session
    Talk It Out
    People with mild depression may do well with only psychotherapy. Most people with moderate to severe depression do best with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. The medication is prescribed to help relieve symptoms, while therapy helps you cope with life's problems.

  • taking-medication
    Medications Help
    Antidepressants work to normalize the naturally occurring chemicals in the brain. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the newest and most popular types. SSRIs tend to have fewer side effects than older types of antidepressants.

  • Man in Thought
    Be Patient
    Most people can find an antidepressant that works for them—but it may take some trial and error. And it usually takes at least six weeks of taking the medication regularly to see the full effect.

  • Friends talking
    Relationships Matter
    While you're recovering, reconnect with friends. Confide in someone you trust. Let others help you.

  • Meditation
    Try Meditation
    A study in Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that mindfulness meditation improved mood and reduced distress. Mindfulness meditation encourages nonjudgmental awareness in everyday life. It trains you to observe, rather than react to, emotions. To try it, find a quiet place and focus your attention on your breath.

  • Consoling a loved one
    When It's Someone You Love
    Do you have a depressed friend or family member? The number one thing to do is help him get a diagnosis and treatment. You might need to even make the appointment for him and take him to the doctor.

  • How You Can Help
    Listen and give encouragement. Offer to go for a walk, go to the movies, or to take part in her favorite hobby. Don't push her to take on too much too soon.

  • Happy woman
    A Treatable Condition
    Once it's identified, depression almost always gets better with treatment. So don't hesitate to contact your doctor or a mental health professional if you think you may be depressed. There is hope.

The Best Ways to Beat Depression

About The Author

  1. Medicines for Treating Depression: A Review of the Research for Adults.
  2. Meditation: What You Need to Know. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
  3. Depression. American Psychological Association.
  4. What is Depression? National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health.
  5. Helping a Friend or Family Member with Depression or Bipolar Disorder. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
  6. Men and Depression. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health.
  7. Jain S, et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation Versus Relaxation Training: Effects on Distress, Positive States of Mind, Rumination, and Distraction. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2007;33(1)11-21.
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Last Review Date: 2019 May 22
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