Treatment For Depression

The stigma of depression still exists today. People struggle with depression silently because they do not want to be labeled with a mental disorder. Although great strides have been made to make people aware that depression is a common disorder and there are ways of effective treatment for depression found these days.

Depression is more than feeling sad. It takes over your life. Every day is a struggle. Depression interferes with a person’s ability to work, sleep, eat, and perform normal daily activities. In addition, depression causes feelings of despair and hopelessness. It is debilitating and seeking help is crucial.

Depression comes in many forms; however, there are five general types of depression:

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

During the winter months and the holiday season, many people suffer from this form of depression. It is often referred to as the “winter or holiday blues”. While it is generally mild, for many people it is debilitating.

Major Depression

This type of depression may strike only once in a person’s lifetime. However, the symptoms can persist for up to six months. For many people it is recurring. The symptoms vary and the depression can be mild or moderate.

Atypical Depression

This type of depression is a subgroup of major depression. While people may feel happy when they receive good news or are socializing with friends, the happy mood will not last. Many people suffering with this type of depression will experience weight gain and excessive sleep.

Dysthymia (mild depression)

This type of depression can be difficult to diagnose. Many people ignore the symptoms. It is mild and most people will experience days where they are feeling depressed. However, normal moods will return. While the symptoms are mild, these symptoms last an average of two years.

Bipolar Disorder

This form of depression is often referred to as manic depression. The treatment of this type of depression is vastly different than other types of depression. A person may be depressed for several weeks and then will experience extreme manic episodes. These manic episodes may include impulsiveness, inability to sleep and hyperactivity.

Treatment for depression will depend on the diagnosis. The key to overcoming this disease is seeking help. Too many people try to battle the symptoms on their own. A misconception is depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Today, experts believe a variety of factors contribute to the onset of depression.

While many people do have a chemical imbalance, other contributing factors include coping skills, lifestyle choices, social, psychological and biological factors. Some factors put people at a greater risk of developing depression.

The following is a list of known factors that contribute to the development of depression:

  • Child Abuse or Childhood Trauma
  • Relationship Problems
  • History of Depression in the Family
  • Loneliness
  • Losing a Job
  • Physical Health Issues
  • Drug Abuse and Alcohol Abuse
  • Stressful Situations
  • Economic Challenges

This list is not all-inclusive as there are numerous contributing factors.

The road to recovery is paved with effective treatment options. However, the first step is recognizing the symptoms and understanding the disease. A person should not feel ashamed if they suspect they may be suffering with depression.

The second step is to seek professional help. This does not necessarily mean a person has to get psychiatric counseling. Many family doctors are adept in treating depression. Depression is more common than people realize. You can consult with your physician and he or she may recommend a therapist. This will depend on your symptoms. Since depression may be caused by an underlying cause such as job loss, a therapist can help you pinpoint the underlying cause.

What To Do To Treat Depression

In the past, depression was treated with medication. Today, treatment is more comprehensive. Medication is no longer the first choice. In addition, treatment is now specific to the type of depression.

For example, light therapy is recommended for seasonal depression instead of medication. However, this will depend on the type of seasonal depression. Many people who have lost a loved one will become depressed during holidays. This particular cause of depression may require a more comprehensive treatment.

In many cases, medication is prescribed. However, a treatment plan will include recommendations of lifestyle changes to help battle depression.

These recommendations commonly include the following:

Physical Activity

Exercise is a remarkable tool when battling depression. Regular physical activity boosts the feel-good chemicals in the brain and stimulates the growth of new brain cells. You do not have to join a gym. Simply walking for 30 to 60 minutes each day will garner wonderful results.

Healthy Eating

Your body needs nutrients to function properly. Eating healthy foods will increase your energy and reduce mood swings. Your doctor or nutritionist can develop a healthy eating plan that will provide you with a well-balanced diet.

Restful Sleep

The lack of sleep or sleeping too much will alter your moods. If you have trouble sleeping, your doctor may prescribe a sleep aid. However, most people discover sleep is more restful after incorporating a healthy diet and exercise program. The average person needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Reducing Stress

Stress is a significant factor in the development of depression. Exercise will help reduce stress over time. However, many doctors will recommend relaxation techniques to help people reduce stress. These techniques along with a healthy lifestyle are effective in combating depression.

Social Network

When people suffer with depression, they often become isolated. Developing a strong social network is beneficial in treatment for depression. Your social network should include family and friends. In addition, many people find it beneficial to join a depression support group. It helps people realize they are not alone. Depression is nothing to be ashamed about and millions of people suffer with depression.

Treatment for depression is not a one-size fits all. In addition, discovering the appropriate treatment for each person may take time. The key to finding an effective treatment is to be open and honest with your doctor. If you feel you are suffering with depression, seek help as soon as possible. You are not alone.