Depression is a serious illness but it is curable. Medical therapy, psychological back-up, self-healing and community support are critical therapeutic protocols for its treatment. This article will describe what depression is and list a doctor’s prescription of 8 do’s for managing depression.
The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as a plethora of physical and emotional problems tagged with a feeling of sadness. It causes you to lose interest in activities you once enjoyed. Depression is a state of negativity that overshadows your thinking and acting abilities. Depression affects either sex, though women are more prone to this illness. It is a prevalent yet serious illness that is often overlooked and may become life-threatening in extreme cases. One out of every six individuals may fall prey to this condition in their lifetime. The fact that depression is more likely to affect people in their younger years has a strong relation to another statistic – that there is a hereditary tendency found in depression cases. This makes diagnosing and treating depression at the earliest all the more important.
Are You Depressed – How Do You Know?
It is important to note that depression is different than sorrow or grief. However, that latter two states may culminate in a depressive state if not appropriately managed. Life has its ups and downs – death, separation, loss, ending relationships; they all have their impact on us. These situations bring their share of sadness in our lives. We are all individuals and everyone deals with sadness in their unique ways. Depression however is entirely different than being sad. The diagnosis of depression is made when symptoms last at least two weeks and they must indicate a change in your previous level of functioning.
Symptoms of Depression
Remember that depression can affect anyone, even people living supposedly in “ideal standards”. Here is a look at some of the symptoms of depression:
- A feeling of helplessness or hopelessness
- Possible weight changes
- Changes in appetite; often decreased appetite
- Disturbed sleep pattern
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Mood swings, anger and irritability
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Trouble focusing and lack of decision power
- A self-loathing attitude and loss of self-esteem
- Reckless and irresponsible behavior
- Unexplained physical aches and pains
- Suicidal thoughts
- Meaningless physical activities like the inability to sit still, constantly pacing around, slowed movements or speech (these must be severe enough to be observed by others)
Depression is an overwhelming situation that makes it difficult to carry on with daily activities. Your day may seem like it never ends. Patients often describe feeling like living in a black hole and an approaching doom.
The 8 Do’s For Managing Depression
Depression may make you believe otherwise, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Depression is an illness in the real sense yet it is treatable. The main tip that works for many patients is this: take it one day at a time and take it slow. Here are 8 effective do’s for managing depression.
- Devise a routine and follow it religiously
You do not need to create something unique. Your routine can be simple. The important thing is to keep consistent at it
- Set objectives
The objectives should be simple enough to be followed regularly. Set daily goals; let them be small. The important thing is achieving a sense of accomplishment, which makes even small goals significant. Perhaps it’s doing the dishes or taking out the trash. Convert the daily goals into weekly aims and so on. As the condition improves, you will observe yourself raising the benchmark with passing time
- Adopt some exercise
Exercise is the most daunting of all tasks when you are depressed. But physical activity may be one of the only medicines you need to get out of a depressive state. A recent study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states “Running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%”. This means that exercise can help depression and also be prevent it. In addition to this, exercise also helps cut back any chances of relapse. Regular moderate physical activity results in endorphins released in the brain (endorphins are chemicals that uplift your spirit and make you feel good).
- Introduce healthy & clean dietary habits
No wizardry diet fixes a depressive state completely. Yet consuming a healthy balanced diet helps in a big way. Cut back on refined sugars and simple carbohydrates from your diet. Stay away from an excess of caffeine, alcohol and trans-fats. Health experts believe supplements like folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids may help manage depression
- Get good sleep
Sleep patterns may be affected by depression. Trying to get an ideal 8-hour sleep may add to anxiety and restlessness. The trick is to get adequate shut-eye even if you are sleeping for only four hours a day. Try to reduce distractions while sleeping. Cut back on the screen time. Fix a bed-time for yourself and follow it consistently. The aim is to get up fresh and energized
- Challenge pessimistic thoughts
Depression has a way of portraying situations at their worst. Try to fight those feelings. Assure yourself that there is a line between what you think and reality. Keep a reality check on your surroundings and see things for what they are rather than speculating about them
- Seek help
Depression is often tagged as a taboo in many cultures but in truth, it is a common illness and not a taboo. Reach out and seek for help. Medications and psychotherapy contribute hugely to keeping you fit and healthy long-term
- Reach out to the world
You can do this in a number of ways. Try to learn new things such as a language, a craft, or a skill. Adopt a hobby – you may make new friends this way and also discover a fun past time. Join a support group – learn how others are fighting the same font that you are. Contribute by giving back to the community or volunteering
Depression is a devastating illness that can disable your life. However, with effective treatments available, you can save yourself or your loved ones from its crippling effects. Timely diagnosis and management is of utmost importance.
Now you know what depression is and are familiar with the 8 do’s to help manage depression, we understand it’s not easy and just want to say that you are not alone. Millions of people around the world are suffering but the good news is that there is hope and that you can get help.