Jul 12th 2023
Recovery from depression can be a challenging and ongoing process, and it may not always be possible to recover completely. However, there are several interventions and tips that can help with the recovery process, including professional treatments and self-help techniques.
The type of treatment offered for depressive disorders will depend on the individual’s symptoms, the type of depression, and the severity and duration of the condition.
For example, managing acute symptoms of depression where a person may be severely struggling to function or may be at a high risk of suicide involves attempting to stabilize the condition. Whereas, continuation or maintenance treatment may involve exploring the underlying causes of the mood disorder, further management of symptoms, and relapse prevention .
People respond differently to medications. What works for one person may not work as well for someone else. As such, it can require trying more than one medication before finding the most effective. Occasionally, other medications may be prescribed, either instead of or alongside antidepressants, such as anti-anxiety medication, antipsychotic medication, or mood stabilizers .
It is important to take medication exactly as prescribed to prevent adverse effects. Medications can cause side effects, which usually go away on within the first few weeks. However, you should consult with your doctor if any side effects persist or become problematic, as you may need a change in dosage or medication .
Alongside professional treatment for depression, there are many ways to help improve your own recovery process.
It is very common to eat unhealthy foods when feeling low, both for comfort and because preparing meals can feel too challenging, but it is important to try and maintain a balanced diet. Research shows that processed, high fat, high sugar foods can contribute to symptoms of depression, while vitamins and minerals found in healthy foods can help to improve mental and physical wellbeing .
It is common for depression to cause sleep disturbances, which then leads to a worsening of symptoms. Trying to improve sleep hygiene can help to reduce symptoms of depression. By going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, avoiding screens before bed, and avoiding caffeine at night, you may be able to improve your sleep quality .
Engaging in regular exercise has been found to improve symptoms of depression. Physical activity can help increase self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and improve social engagement, while also improving physical health .
Relaxation exercises, including mindfulness, breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga, can help to improve awareness of the mental and physical state and have been shown to be beneficial in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms .
It can be very helpful to talk with a mental health professional, friend, or family member when experiencing emotional distress. Social support can reduce feelings of loneliness, improve social support, and help with processing difficult experiences .
Drugs and alcohol can worsen your mental state and interact with medications, thereby exacerbating symptoms of depression and increasing the risk of relapse. As such, reducing or avoiding alcohol and drug use is important to the recovery process. If you feel you need professional help to manage this, your doctor can refer you to appropriate organizations and advisors .
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