Depression: Dealing Day to Day
Reviewed By: Steven A. King, M.D.
Depression can be treated and managed well, although you may not think so when you are in the midst of it. Some methods of managing it effectively are explored below.
- Seek early treatment
If you have feelings of unhappiness that are persistent and interfere with your activities and relationships, you are probably suffering from depression. Early treatment is key to the quickest possible recovery.
- Take all medications as prescribed by your doctor
Work with your doctor to decide which medications to try and then make sure to take them faithfully. Tell your doctor how the medication works and about any side effects. Some people try several different antidepressants before they find one that works for them. If you are feeling better, don\'t stop taking antidepressants without getting the go-ahead from your doctor.
- Attend all scheduled therapy sessions
Therapy can be an effective tool in managing depression. Working with a psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker in regular therapy can help depressed individuals find better ways to cope, solve problems and set realistic goals, as well as manage suicide risk if there is any. Skipping therapy sessions can extend or negatively affect treatment for depression.
- Avoid illegal drugs and alcohol
Although moderate alcohol consumption may offer some health benefits, people who abuse alcohol have an increased risk of depression. The same is true for individuals who abuse illegal or prescription drugs. If you have depression, it is best to avoid these substances, which can worsen symptoms and inhibit the effects of antidepressant medications.
- Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity has been shown to have antidepressant effects in people with mild to moderate depression, who are encouraged to exercise for 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. If you are new to exercise, begin gradually by exercising for just a few minutes at a time, and work your way up to 30 minutes or more a day. Aerobic activity (also called cardio) is typically most effective at relieving symptoms of depression. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, running, biking, dancing, in-line skating, swimming and playing basketball. (Consult with your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.)
- Get plenty of rest
Changes in sleep patterns are common among people with depression. They may sleep too much (hypersomnia) or not enough (insomnia). It is common for depressed individuals to awaken early in the morning and have difficulty falling back asleep. Sleep problems may also contribute to depression. Getting the recommended amount of sleep can help alleviate feelings of depression.
- Employ positive coping methods
Many people feel hopeless during a depressive episode. But you can help take control of your condition by identifying and using positive coping methods. In other words, when you start to feel sad, do something that provides solace. While this may not always ease the pain, and it\'s certainly not a cure, it can help stem the sadness on some occasions. Positive coping methods include:
- Writing in a journal
- Talking to a friend or family member
- Engaging in a hobby, such as cooking, drawing or gardening
If some coping method works for you, your depression may not be too serious. On the other hand, if you find that some activity like these is no longer pleasurable, it may signal that your depression is worsening.
- Share your feeling with others
Sharing your feelings with others, such as friends, family members and your doctor and/or therapist, can help you identify and work through any emotional challenges you may be experiencing. Having a reliable network of social supports can help combat the feelings of isolation that often accompany depression.
Geez, I do about half of these, and find it so hard to follow thru on alot, I know all these things help, just got to discipline myself and get it in gear.