Everything to Know About Depression Treatment
The days seem to have lost all their color. You don’t know how to plan for the future anymore. You sit at your desk all day wondering what the point of it all is. You used to feel motivated. You used to enjoy things like spending time with friends or working out.
What happened? If you’ve been thinking this way for a while, you may be experiencing depression. There’s no shame in realizing you may be depressed. It’s a symptom of something else that you need to address.
Thankfully, depression treatment has come a long way. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to find relief.
How Do You Know if You Have Depression?
The first indicator that you have depression is your thoughts. Are you struggling to find anything positive about your life? Does everything seem hopeless?
A continuous sense of dread or worthlessness is a key aspect of depression. Feeling lifeless, tired, and uninterested in doing the things you need to do is another.
But the best way to know if you have depression is by visiting a doctor or therapist who focuses on mental illness. Don’t be afraid to make an appointment. You deserve relief from the weight you’ve been carrying.
Different Types of Depression
Though “depression” is used as a blanket term, there are several types of depression. Reflect on your life before feeling depressed. That can help you pinpoint which type you may be experiencing.
It’s key to note here that if you suspect you’re depressed, it doesn’t matter what type you have. Every type of depression requires medical attention. Don’t wait until it gets worse to seek help.
Seasonal depression is experienced at certain times of the year. You may find you start feeling low whenever a holiday comes up. Or you may find yourself feeling worthless and lethargic throughout the winter months.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is one of the most common types of seasonal depression. When winter sets in, low levels of sunshine and physical activity can lead to depression.
If you live in a place with long winters and start to feel depressed between October and April, talk to your doctor. You may be experiencing seasonal depression.
Situational depression is usually tied to a specific event. The event or series of events is usually traumatic. Sometimes it merely requires a large adjustment.
You may develop situational depression after you move to a new country. Or after you’ve recovered from a serious illness. You may have been in a toxic relationship or lost a loved one.
These types of events often involve a lot of change. And often, they’re linked to high levels of stress that continue over long periods of time.
Depression can also come about through post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can involve nightmares, flashbacks, and anxiety attacks. It’s triggered by experiencing, you guessed it, a traumatic event.
Some of these events include:
- car accidents
- physical, verbal, or emotional abuse or attack
- hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, or other natural disasters
- military combat
PTSD is commonly associated with veterans as a response to combat trauma. But according to research, 6.8% of peoplewill experience PTSD.
It’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor or a qualified therapist after any kind of traumatic event. Seek help if the event has changed your mood, caused you anxiety, or is giving you flashbacks, seek help.
Chronic depression is depression that has gone on for more than two weeks. It’s also referred to as major depression.
Ask yourself if you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms:
- sudden loss of motivation to go to work or engage in your favorite hobbies
- difficulty getting up in the morning or falling asleep
- constantly feeling tired and lethargic
- difficulty making decisions or focusing for long periods of time
- constant, negative thoughts or feelings
- thoughts of suicide
- not wanting to spend time with friends and family
If you’ve been showing these symptoms for at least two weeks, talk to your doctor.
Seeking Treatment for Depression
Think about treatment for depression as a way to ease the heaviness you’ve been feeling. Getting help doesn’t necessarily mean taking medication or visiting a therapist. But those steps can be helpful.
Below, we’ve outlined multiple ways in which you can find relief from depression. Find what brings you the most healing.
Often, it can be hard to find the motivation to do anything productive when you’re depressed. In that case, it may be most helpful to bring people on board as you walk towards recovery. Whether it’s family, friends, or professionals, try to get a few people in your corner.
Log Your Symptoms
One of the first things you can do if you think you have depression is starting a symptom log. All you need is a pen and paper.
Note down when you noticed a change in your thoughts or feelings. Write down each day whether you feel tired, unmotivated, or have any suicidal thoughts.
If you can, try to include notes about your habits, too. What did you eat that day? Did you exercise at all?
What other factors may be contributing. Note the weather or any interpersonal events that may have sparked negative thoughts. Keep this log for at least two weeks after you first notice that your mood has changed.
Visit Your Doctor
This may be the last thing you feel like doing. But a critical step to take is scheduling an appointment with your doctor.
Your doctor will be able to give you a more thorough assessment. They’ll ask you questions you may not have thought about. And they can offer you solutions you may not have considered.
Bring your symptom log with you when you go. Be sure you’re honest and open about what you’ve been feeling.
Often one of the more helpful treatments for depression is a prescription medication. You should only take these after a consultation with your doctor. Each medication comes with its own side effects, but they offer incredible relief to many.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common prescription for depression. In your brain, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood, cognition, and memory. Neurons release serotonin, then reabsorb it.
SSRIs block the reabsorption process. This increases the levels of serotonin in the brain, which has been linked to better moods.
Common SSRIs you may have heard of include Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro. These medications typically have fewer side effects. But you should always consult your doctor to see if they’re the right fit for you.
Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) work similarly to SSRIs. As the name suggests, SNRIs block the reabsorption of both serotonin and norepinephrine.
Norepinephrine is a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It affects how alert and energized you feel. SNRIs can help those whose depression makes them feel particularly tired and lethargic.
Other antidepressants can help depression as well, though they often have more side-effects. But it may be worthwhile asking your doctor about medications like Tianeptine, Wellbutrin SR, or Remeron.
Get Some Sunshine, Catch Some Zzz’s
Even small things like getting enough vitamin D and sleep every day can improve your mood.
Vitamin D is the nutrient we get from sunshine. Low levels of Vitamin D have been found to negatively impact mood. So if you’re stuck inside all winter, you may want to consider a vitamin D supplement.
Sleep is also a critical component of fighting depression. Lack of sleep can impair your cognitive abilities, your memory, and your alertness. Sometimes, people with depression can’t get out of bed; other times, they can’t fall asleep.
Knowing how depression affects your sleep can help you determine what kind of treatment you need.
Aerobic exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which help you feel better. Though you may not feel like you have the energy to work out, try starting small. Even five minutes of stretching can make a difference.
If you need help finding the motivation to go to the gym or work out regularly, ask someone to go with you. Taking walks with a friend will do wonders for your mood and get those endorphins flowing.
Evaluate Your Diet
Diet plays a much larger role in depression than you may realize. If you’ve been depressed for a while but can’t find the cause, look at your diet. You may need to improve your gut health.
Depression may be linked to dietary sensitivities to gluten, dairy, and processed sugar. It may also be a sign of another issue, like leaky gut syndrome.
It’s easy to give in to cravings when you’re feeling low. Try to fuel your body with all-natural foods, plenty of greens, and a good amount of protein. The little effort you put in will pay off big-time with your mood and energy levels.
Taking supplements is a simple way to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients. Try incorporating a multi-vitamin after breakfast to cover your bases. A B complex supplement can be helpful if you feel tired most of the time.
If you’re struggling to get through the winter, remember that a vitamin D supplement may be what you need. Homeopathic consultants can be a huge help here. Reach out to us if you want to learn more about how supplements can help your depression.
Connect With Friends and Family
Social support is a huge asset to people with depression. It’s difficult because depression makes people want to withdraw. But having a support system around you can keep you from spiraling.
Try connecting with your close family and friends. Or consider joining a depression support group. It may seem hard, but making the effort to reach out will remind you you’re not alone.
Meet With a Therapist
Therapy is a well-known treatment for depression for a reason: it helps. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychotherapy are two really great options to consider.
A licensed therapist can help you understand your thought patterns. They can help you get to the root of your depression and work to relieve it.
Therapy can be a scary, vulnerable experience. But it’s well worth it to get to know yourself better and move forward depression-free.
Read an Inspiring Book
You may not like to read or find it hard to get through an entire book. But self-help books can be instrumental in shifting perspectives and offering solutions.
They may give you a sense of comradery because the person writing it knows what you’re going through. Sometimes, too, it’s easier to seek advice from a book first. Try checking out some of these self-help books for depressionto get you started.
Revisit an Old Hobby
Often the easiest thing to do when you don’t feel like doing anything is something you used to do all the time!
Maybe you used to love painting but haven’t painted in ages. Or perhaps you used to ride horses or play basketball every week. Maybe it’s something you loved to do as a kid, even.
Revisiting old hobbies can take you back to happier times. This may bring relief from current distress and depression. If you’re not sure what to do to feel better, try starting up an old hobby again.
Journaling and freewriting can be very helpful treatments for mild to moderate depression. In freewriting, you journal, unfiltered, for at least 15-20 minutes. No editing, no thinking before you write; you just put words on the page.
When you’re depressed, thoughts going through your mind can overwhelm you. Journaling and freewriting give you a place to put those thoughts. They help you process what you’re feeling and reflect on what you’ve experienced.
Find the Best Depression Treatment for You
Not every kind of depression treatment will be right for you. One may be the perfect fit, or you may need a combination of a few types.
Try some of these out and know that you can find relief from your symptoms. Just start small. Go for a short walk or get started with supplements by contacting us here.