Depression is one of the world’s most common mental disorders, with 300 million cases worldwide. Distinct from sadness or low energy, which all humans experience from time to time as part of their emotional landscape, depression is a disease that brings about long-lasting symptoms and requires sustained treatment. While some people with depression experience only one major bout in their life, others battle it for decades. In any conversation about depression, it is essential to understand that it isn’t a weakness and it isn’t something that can be “snapped out of.” Research suggests that people with depression have fundamentally different brain chemistry and biology than their neurotypical peers and counterparts. Depression as a mental illness interacts with different personalities, environments, and lifestyles differently to cause a wide range of symptoms, the scope of which is beyond a single blog post. Today, we will focus our attention on a few of the best ways of treating depression across the board. The good news is there are many known treatments that are highly effective, from natural lifestyle changes to talk therapy and other treatment modalities.
Natural Treatments to Combat Depression
In any recovery plan to combat clinical depression, natural treatments serve a crucial role. Treatment can do wonders to shift brain chemistry. Deep changes in behavior and thought patterns will be the engine that powers your sense of progress and prevents relapse. Some of them may seem like common sense, but they are easier said than done and should be taken very seriously.
- Sleep. Learning how to practice good sleep hygiene is essential. Less than 7 hours of sleep a night can wreak havoc on your emotions and deepen the depression. Unfortunately, disrupted sleep can be a symptom, so proactivity about consistently good sleep is paramount. Whatever you have to do—avoid naps, remove your phone from your room, put on ocean sounds—it will be worth it in the long run.
- Exercise. Thirty minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise such as walking, running, biking, or pickup sports can have a profound effect on mood. The boost in endorphins (the “feel-good” chemical) can impact the course of a whole day, and the entire process of exercise seems to rewire the brain in positive ways we still don’t fully understand.
- Routine. Depression can make it difficult to maintain a routine, creating the sense that one-day blends into the next. In fact, depression thrives in such chaotic circumstances, reinforcing a cycle of purposelessness. Having regular tasks to ground you and make it through each day can provide a handrail and prevent your depression from spiraling.
- Responsibilities and Goals. Similarly, it can be tempting to give up responsibilities at home and at work when you are withdrawing into depression. It is important that you don’t. By having long-term and short-term goals to motivate you to get through each day can be a great help to curbing this mental illness. The sense of achievement when they are completed deals a devastating blow to the negative or hopeless self-talk characteristic of clinical depression.
Talk Therapy and Other Treatment Modalities
Exercise- or goal-based treatments are not the only answer to combating depression. Formal treatments are necessary to keep depression at bay. Finding a therapist you trust will allow you to talk through the nuances of the symptoms and hone in on a course of action to combat them. You can process your ambitions in friendships, set goals, and understand the relationship between your work and depression with your therapist. You can have a teammate along your path of progress and potential setbacks, who can help recognize patterns and guide you toward the choices that have historically boosted your mental wellness. Most importantly, you can discuss whether other treatment modalities including medication are right for you.
Finding the right course of treatment requires patience as everyone’s responses are deeply personal and subjective to the treatment modality. It is important to know that stopping any treatment abruptly, without talking to your therapist or doctor is strongly discouraged and can cause difficult-to-control mood changes. Changing medications requires a safe and gradual dose shift with a medical support system.
We’re Here For You
At Blair Wellness Group, we’re devoted to the treatment of your depression. Having a safe space to discuss your feelings and experiences can have a profound impact on your mental health, productivity, and relationships. This will allow you to learn more about your own patterns, strengths, and pitfalls.
If you feel like it’s time to take the next steps in your journey to wellness and seek psychological services, we want you to know we are here to help. Our expert guidance and support can give you the tools you need to live a healthy, happy, and productive life. Remember that it takes strong habits and practices to change unhealthy behaviors, and we have a great playbook to guide you through the hard times. Change takes time, and the journey to your mental health and wellness takes courage, persistence, and patience. Just as you work hard at the gym and slowly see positive changes in your physical body, you can experience the same in your emotional well-being by practicing self-loving work of correcting negative patterns and finding the joy of a healthy and happy mental state. If you feel ready to embark on your healing journey, give us a call today.