Down & Out - The Importance of Detecting Depression Early and How You Can Treat It
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults in any given year, and one in six people will experience depression at some point in their life. Everyone experiences dips in their mood at times, but if you experience certain symptoms for at least a two-week period, you may be suffering from clinical depression or major depressive disorder (MDD).
Symptoms of MDD include loss of interest in certain activities, sadness, changes in appetite, changes in sleep, loss of sexual desire, low energy, uncontrollable crying or angry outbursts, loss of self-esteem, and a variety of other challenges. Often friends and family may struggle to understand what you are going through, or suggest you to “snap out of it”, but depression is in fact an actual illness that needs to be treated just like other physical illnesses. And, just like most other illness, it can in fact be treated.
Depression is a common psychological disorder, but many people delay seeking help. Often, a person who has had one episode of clinical depression is at risk for repeat episodes, and that increases with each subsequent bout of it. There are a number of ways you can treat depression, both with the help of a psychologist and on your own. Below are some examples.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is among the most well-studied treatments for depression and involves the recognition and correction of negative thinking patterns through various exercises. These exercises can include journaling, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness and breathing exercises, problem solving (strategies to help regain control and make the best out of bad situations), and more.
Do things you love
Although you may not be in the mood to do the things you previously found enjoyable, pushing yourself to do them can help you feel better. Love to cook but don’t have the energy? Maybe invite a friend over for a meal-planning sesh? Loved going to yoga, but can’t imagine leaving the house? How about a yoga video on YouTube to ease you back into it? It may be hard to get back into the swing of things, but it’s important to train your brain and do the things that were once enjoyable to you.
Get out there
When you’re alone, those little voices in your head seem to take over the way you think and feel. Instead of listening to them, try reaching out to a friend or family member to hang out and talk. Even the mere act of being around people and in a social setting can make you feel better.
Working out not only provides you with physical benefits, but it can help mentally as well. When depressed your energy levels can drop, however, it is important to make an effort to go to the gym or get outside. In fact, boosting your heart rate 20 minutes a day for five days a week has been found to make you feel better thanks to those little brain-releasing hormones called endorphins.
The above are just some ideas for how to treat depression, but the most important part is recognizing that you may be suffering from it and to start treatment early. If you are feeling down and would like some help improving your mood, we invite you to contact our office.