Depression is often an ongoing battle. Whether you’re struggling with a major depressive episode or dealing with long-term dysthymia, you’ll find some days are better than others, and setbacks can occur when you least expect them.
There’s no easy solution to treating depression, and no remedy that’s one-size-fits-all. But if you’re one of the over 17 million Americans who’s grappling with the symptoms of a depressive disorder, there are many strategies you can employ to help manage your mood and improve the overall state of your mental health.
Here are some tips you can use to get your depression under control and get back to living a satisfying life.
- Talk to a therapist
Psychotherapy is a crucial component of effective depression treatment. In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of talk therapy that teaches awareness of negative thinking patterns and strategies to help you change them, has been shown time and again to alleviate the symptoms of depression. Additionally, establishing a strong relationship with a therapist you trust can help improve your long-term outlook.
- Consider medication
For many people with depression, medication can vastly improve their quality of life. Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) can disrupt the chemical imbalance in your brain, alleviating feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety.
- Find a support network
It usually takes time for depression treatment to work. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an extended process, and most medications don’t take effect for at least two to four weeks after you begin them. Waiting can be difficult, so it’s important to surround yourself with people who support you on your quest toward a healthy life. Stay in touch with close friends, caring family members, and if necessary, join a support group for people affected by depression.
- Establish healthy habits
Your body and brain function best when you take care of yourself through healthy living. The following habits can both encourage healing and elevate your mood:
- Daily exercise
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Limiting sugar, alcohol, and caffeine consumption
- Getting plenty of restful sleep
- Keep to a schedule
Routines help to limit surprises and empower you to feel in control of your life. Give structure to your days by scheduling activities and planning your to-do list ahead of time. Afterward, make time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished – or neglected – and see how your mood may have been affected. This can help you to identify triggers for your depressive episodes.
- Practice meditation
Studies have shown that meditation can actually change areas of your brain specifically associated with depression. By establishing a daily mindfulness meditation practice, you can teach your brain to focus for long periods of time, which helps you to recognize and redirect negative thoughts and feelings without acting on them. To get you in the habit, start small with five- or ten-minute daily sessions.
- Reach out for help when you need it
Depression can lead you to difficult places, but there’s no need to suffer alone. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; on the contrary, it’s a courageous step in the direction of a happy, healthy life. If you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, call a mental health support service, like the National Suicide Prevention Line. And when you’re ready to pursue treatment, Pacific Health Systems is here to help.
Depression Treatment at Pacific Health Systems
At Pacific Health Systems in San Diego, we provide holistic, cost-effective care for patients who are struggling with their mental health. Our approach to depression treatment is highly individualized, ensuring you receive the right psychological and psychiatric care for your specific symptoms – be that antidepressants, talk therapy, Advanced TMS, or a combination treatment plan.
With a highly experienced team of board certified mental health specialists, you can trust Pacific Health Systems to provide the highest quality care for your depression. To find out more about how we can help you, call us at (619) 631-0128.