Depression can be a debilitating mental health condition, and for some, it can be life-threatening. It knows no boundaries and can strike at any time. Statistics suggest that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Being aware of the characteristics and how you can try to prevent it affecting your life, or the life of a friend or loved one can make all the difference. Read on to find out more about how you can manage this mental health problem, or help a friend or loved one through.
Characteristics of Depression
There are various symptoms of depression, and they include:
- Loss of interest
- Lasting unhappiness
- Lack of motivation and enjoyment
- Lack of appetite
- Aches and pains
- Bad sleep
If you think you recognise some of these symptoms in yourself, there are a range of treatments available. What’s important for recovery is to find the right one for your needs. Here are three of the most popular.
Changing certain aspects of your life can be a powerful tool in treating depression. For many, it’s all that required. Others find that making lifestyle changes can help fight depression and when combined with other treatments, prevent it from coming back.
Regular exercise is one way of treating depression and in many cases can be as effective as medication. It works because it boosts endorphins, serotonin, and other feel-good chemicals, triggers the growth of new brain cells and connections. 30 to 60 minutes of activity daily is recommended and should yield the best results.
Eating a healthy balanced diet is important for both your mental and physical health. Aim for small, well-balanced meals throughout the day as this helps keep your energy levels up and reduce mood swings.
Make sure you get enough sleep each and every night. Between seven and nine hours should be more than enough for most people.
Being able to effectively manage stress is also going to reduce the chance of depression.
There are different types of therapy available, but the three most common are cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy. It could be that a combination of different therapies works best for you. It’s possible to receive therapy in a number of different ways, for example, residential therapy at a centre such as 310recovery.com. Therapy helps in a number of ways. It teaches you how to combat negative thinking, change your behaviour in order to combat depression, helps you work through the cause of your depression and what you can do to stay healthy.
One of the most advertised treatments for depression is medication. However, that doesn’t mean it works. It can relieve some of the symptoms but does nothing to cure the underlying cause. They often come with side effects and withdrawal can be a problem.
If you think you might be depressed, it’s important you get professionally diagnosed before you look at any kind of treatment. Medication is not the only way for it to be treated. As well as the options above, there are also alternative and complementary treatments. A mental health professional who specialises in depression can help you explore all your options.