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How to Cope With Depression

Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects the way think and feel. The disorder causes feelings of sadness, anxiety or anger. It’s often triggered by certain events or situations, but can also develop without an obvious cause.

If or someone know is experiencing a major depressive episode, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. This can include talking with a mental professional, taking medication, or going to a hospital or residential facility.

Medication for depression can help relieve symptoms of the condition and reduce its impact on your life. Antidepressants, or “mood elevators,” can improve the way your brain chemistry works. You may need to take them for several weeks or even months before you find the right dosage and side effects that work best for you.

Psychotherapy: Talk therapy with a mental professional can help you learn to recognize and change unhealthy thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Many types of psychotherapy are available, but the most common is cognitive behavioral therapy. Depending on your needs, you may need just brief therapy or continue to see a therapist for several months or years.

Exercise: Physical exercise can be a helpful tool to combat depression and maintain your energy levels. Getting enough physical activity can help ease stress, boost your immune system and strengthen your self-esteem.

Social support: Regular contact with friends, family and other people can also be beneficial to managing depression. Sharing your feelings with those you trust and who understand can make it easier to move on from negative thinking and behavior.

Changing your lifestyle: You may want to simplify your life and set realistic goals. This can reduce the impact of negative thinking and increase your chances of recovery.

Self-help: Books, journals, websites and support groups can help you cope with your depression. These strategies may not work for everyone, so you’ll need to try them for yourself and share your experiences with a therapist.

Triggers: Depression can occur for a variety of reasons, including grief, traumatic events or loss, redundancy or illness. Some triggers are more common than others, but they can all contribute to an increase in your risk of developing depression.

Biochemistry, genetics and personality are other factors that may contribute to depression. For instance, people who have a low sense of self-esteem or are easily overwhelmed by stress or negative thoughts are more likely to experience depression than others.

Inherited traits can also increase your risk of depression. For example, if one of your identical twins has the disorder, you have about a 70 percent chance of having it sometime in your life.

Emotional stress, such as being rejected by a romantic partner or having to deal with an unsupportive parent or sibling, can lead to feelings of sadness and irritability. These are normal reactions to difficult situations, but if they’re persistent and interfere with your daily life, you may need to see a mental health professional to get treatment for your depression.

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