How To Deal With Depression

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How To Deal With Depression

“I have depression. But I prefer to say “I battle” depression instead of “I suffer” with it. Because depression hits, but I hit back. Battle on.” – Unknown

There are many ways to deal with depression. However, only a few of them truly help. When depression hits, you experience an overwhelming feeling of helplessness and apathy coupled with emotional pain and anxiety. When a person starts to wonder how to deal with depression, it’s the first step toward battling it. The key to dealing with anxiety and depression is your wish and determination to do it.

What Is Depression?

You may often hear someone say, “I’m depressed”. But in reality, it seems as if the person is just feeling slightly sad. What is depression, really? Is it an unpleasant feeling or a serious medical condition? Let’s find out.

There are two types of depression:

Short-Term Depression

We all have experienced this type of depression at least once in our lives. The feeling of sadness, helplessness, unworthiness, and hopelessness may be overwhelming at times and somewhat reduce the quality of your life. However, it usually goes away in a couple of days, allowing you to enjoy life once again.

Clinical Depression

In case the symptoms we described above last for weeks and seem to have an adverse effect on your everyday life and health, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

Clinical depression is a medical condition which requires treatment.

Overall, depression is a psychiatric problem, distinguished by mood disorders. Thankfully, all depression types are treatable, as long as the suffering party is willing to undergo such treatment.

Symptoms Of Depression

How do you know you have depression? Feeling slightly sad and irritable is not a sign of depression. The symptoms are much more acute. If you notice several of the following signs, which don’t disappear for more than a week, you may need to learn how to deal with severe depression.

  • Hypochondria
  • Lack of interest in anything (especially in things you had been interested in before)
  • Apathy
  • Not being able to feel pleasure
  • Feeling tired all day long
  • Bad mood most of the day (especially in the mornings)
  • Inability to focus
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Fear (mostly without basis)
  • Inner agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite

Besides psychological symptoms, depression can lead to physical problems. You may experience:

  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Low libido
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Sweating
  • Lack of energy
  • Headaches
  • Chest pains
  • Digestive problems
  • Slowed speech
  • Slowed movements

Diagnosing Depression

Noticing the symptoms of depression and checking them against the above list may help you get a good idea about your condition. However, a successful battle with depression is virtually impossible without a professional diagnosis.

In many cases, people are unsure about the severity of their symptoms. They try to find other reasons for the physical conditions and overlook the mental signs. Meanwhile, the wish to deny your problem may be another symptom of depression.

If you are not ready to schedule a doctor’s appointment just yet, you may want to start with online tests. You will be asked a variety of questions about your current emotional state. Giving honest answers can help you understand whether you may need help. Admitting the problem is the first step toward healing. Consider visiting a doctor to finalize the diagnosis and get valuable recommendations.

You may need to go through a physical exam in order to rule out other conditions, which could cause symptoms similar to depression. The exam may include several lab tests. Then your physician will send you for a psychological evaluation to finalize the diagnosis. The doctor will check your symptoms against DSM-5 depression diagnostics criteria.

How To Deal With Depression On Your Own

Overcoming depression without the support of friends, family, and loved ones is hard. However, it’s hardly impossible. You have to understand that you have a problem. As soon as you do, you can start dealing with it.

Thankfully, these days, plenty of information is available at your fingertips. Even if it seems as if you don’t have anyone to turn to right now, you’ll be surprised how many people are ready to help.

1. Reach Out

Many people wonder how to deal with depression alone. In a majority of cases, they just don’t realize that they are not on their own. One of the most important things to do is try to reach out. When you are alone and depressed, it’s hard to maintain the right perspective.

Depressed people tend to lean toward isolation. Reaching out may seem impossible. Try hard to stay connected to people. Force yourself to participate in social activities at least once a week. Then evaluate the way you feel afterward. You may be surprised how much better you feel.

Reaching out is not a sign of weakness. It’s a tool, which can help you battle depression and survive.

2. Do Things You Used To Enjoy

Apathy is one of symptoms of depression. If things you used to like before don’t seem amazing anymore, do them anyway. Perhaps you won’t experience as much pleasure as you used to. However, your body and mind can still take advantage of the small pieces of happiness.

Depression may not start going away immediately, but with time, pleasurable things are bound to get things moving.

3. Get Up and Move

Depressed people often can’t make themselves do anything. They lay in bed and wallow in their misery. Think logically. Such actions won’t help you battle your problem. Getting up and moving is a way to stimulate endorphin release in your body, making your happy on a chemical level.

About 30 minutes of any exercise per day can help lift depression. If it seems too much at first, consider starting with a simple 10-minute walk around the block. You’d be amazed at how much better it makes you feel.

4. Find Sunlight

Sunlight boosts serotonin levels in your body and can improve your mood. Try to go out during the day and expose your body to sunlight for at least 10 minutes. Strive to increase the amount of natural sunlight you are getting.

Don’t keep the blinds and curtains closed. Take every opportunity to go outside during the workday. Exercise outside instead of going to the gym.

5. Talk To A Professional

If your efforts to deal with depression are failing, consider talking to a professional. It’s highly important to catch the moment when the matter is getting out of hand. Depression is a common medical condition which has been studied for decades. You may be surprised at how easily a doctor can help you deal with it.

Just like a common cold, slight depression can have complications. If you feel it getting worse, ask for help.

How To Deal With Depression Without Medication

Dealing with depression without medication is possible. In fact, in the majority of cases, the steps you need to take to get rid of depression are 100 percent natural. If you are keen on battling this condition without meds, you have big chances to succeed.

1. Set Up The Right Diet

We are what we eat. Aches and pains our body suffers from contribute to depression symptoms. Meanwhile, lack of vitamins can cause depression on a chemical level.

Foods which affect your brain and mood (caffeine, alcohol, trans fats) should be eliminated from your diet.

Skipping meals makes us feel tired and less energetic. Try to eat once every four hours even if you don’t feel like it.

Limit your sugar and refined carbs. Snacks and fried foods may make you feel good for a few minutes but the adverse effect is bound to follow.

Add omega-3 fatty acids (tuna, salmon) and folic acids (spinach) to your diet. There is evidence that these vitamins may help ease depression.

2. Check Your Hormones

If your mood swings are caused by hormonal imbalance, nothing you do can help you deal with depression. If your efforts are failing, visit an endocrinologist. This doctor will schedule blood tests to find out if your hormone levels are in order.

3. Check Your Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency can become the cause of many health problems as well as depression. Perhaps the key to your recovery is a simple supplement. However, don’t start taking vitamin D supplements without checking the levels first. Vitamin D overdose can be toxic.

4. Exercise More

Even if you’ve never exercised before in your life, start now. Besides boosting endorphin levels in your body, exercise can improve your confidence and fight insomnia. It might seem tough at first, but once you settle into the routine, you’ll see the benefits immediately.

5. Get Sufficient Sleep

Lack of sleep as well as oversleeping can intensify the depression symptoms. Set up a sleeping schedule and follow it. Try not to use gadgets or watch T.V. before going to sleep. Avoid taking naps during the day. Your body “gets used to” routines. Eventually, you’ll be sleeping just as much as you need to.

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