How to Cope With Depression
Depression is a serious illness that affects how you feel, the way you think and how you behave. It can be debilitating and a major challenge to deal with, but there are things you can do to help yourself or someone you know.
Getting a diagnosis is the first step in treating depression. This involves a doctor examining your symptoms to determine whether you have depression or another condition, such as a thyroid problem, a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency.
If you do have depression, the next step is to start treatment. Your doctor may recommend medication, psychotherapy (talk therapy) or a combination of both. Some types of therapy focus on retraining your thoughts and feelings to make you more optimistic, while others teach you skills to cope with depression.
The type of therapy you choose depends on what works best for your specific needs and goals. Some therapies focus on improving your relationships with friends and family, while others help you better understand your emotions and triggers for depression.
Your therapist can also help you develop ways to cope with stress. For example, meditation can help you learn to focus on positive thoughts and to recognize your negative thoughts as soon as they come up. Yoga and tai chi are other exercise techniques that have been shown to reduce depression symptoms.
A healthy diet can also help improve your mood. Avoid consuming too much sugar and refined carbohydrates. It’s also important to get plenty of sleep, as a lack of sleep can worsen your depression.
Other treatments include acupuncture, meditation and biofeedback. Some people find that combining these methods with medication can help them manage their depression more effectively and feel better quickly.
Alternative medicine can be an effective treatment for some people with depression, but it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any of these approaches. You should also be aware of potential risks associated with these methods, such as gastrointestinal problems or allergic reactions.
Genetics, social factors and environment can all contribute to depression. For example, someone with a long history of abuse, violence in school or a family breakdown might be more likely to get depressed than someone who doesn’t have such a history.
Some medications can also increase your risk of depression. For example, certain birth control pills can raise the risk of depression in women. Other drugs like corticosteroids and beta-blockers can cause depression in some patients.
The risk of depression can also be increased by genetics, socioeconomic status, environmental factors and gender identity. For example, if you’re transgender, your risk of depression is nearly 4-fold that of a cisgender person.
You can also be more vulnerable to depression if you have a medical condition, such as a heart disorder, diabetes or an HIV infection. This is because some medical conditions can mimic depression and cause similar symptoms.
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know might be suffering from depression, call a crisis line to discuss your situation and get help right away. The sooner you begin to seek treatment, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to recover from depression and enjoy a full life again.