Depression – Understanding Is The First Step to Overcoming It – Week 4

The Importance of Seeking Help

No one thinks it’s simple to get help for a problem. It’s not. But when it comes to depression, the only way forward is to get help from a professional or group of professionals that know how to diagnose your problem and monitor you while you get help. The better the professional is that you choose, the more likely you are to be able to recover from your symptoms (or at least manage them) while living a satisfying and productive life.

  • You Don’t Have to Be Alone – No one needs to deal with depression on their own. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to deal with depression on your own, especially if there is a biological component involved. People who say they’ve done that usually weren’t really suffering from major depression.
  • Medication Isn’t Giving Up – Some people refuse to seek help because they don’t want to be medicated. They have the idea that medication is a cop-out or somehow dangerous. It’s not. There should be no more stigma surrounding medication for depression than diabetes or cancer.
  • Dealing with Friends and Family – You’re likely going to have some friends and family who think going to a psychiatrist is horrible, but others who are supportive. Surround yourself with the people who are supportive, and send educational information to those who aren’t. But, speak out for yourself regardless.
  • Depression Will Just Get Worse – Without treatment, your depression will not cure itself. It may even get worse. Why suffer alone for years and years when you can get help? It might take you some time to find the right person, but you would do that if you had another type of illness like cancer.
  • Depression Can Be Fatal – If not treated properly, depression can be a fatal disease. It not only can lead to suicide, but it can also lead to illnesses such as heart disease due to the additional stress on your body. Seeking help for this illness is a necessity every bit as much as any other disease.

If you’re experiencing symptoms such as overwhelming fatigue, sadness, your work, and personal life are suffering, and you are self-medicating to cope, seek help as soon as possible. If you are suicidal or fantasizing about death, call 911 or 1-800-273-8255.

Treatment Options for Depression

There are a variety of treatment options for people with depression. What type of treatment you engage in depends on your desires as well as the recommendations of your doctor. Regardless of the treatment you and your doctor settle on trying, remember that if it’s not working you can try something else. But, like most things, time is the best thing you can allow yourself because something will work for you.

  • Medication – There are numerous medications that can be tried for depression, depending on what type of depression you have and your overall health. Some medications require you to use them longer than 30 days to ensure that they work, or not. Some will give side effects that you’d rather not have, and some will not. You just need to try what your doctor wants to prescribe after doing your research, to find out what will work for you.
  • Talk Therapy – This works best for people who have a known situation that may have caused their depression, such as abuse. However, it can also work to help people cope with depression that has no situational reason or cause or it’s still unknown. The truth is, psychotherapy can help almost anyone even if they don’t have depression, provided they are open, honest, and ready to improve.
  • Exercise – You probably don’t feel much like exercising, but studies show that exercising can improve mood exponentially even in depressed people. Find an exercise that doesn’t feel like it’s torture to you based on your current health, such as dancing, swimming, or running.
  • Lifestyle Changes – It’s important to look at your life and find out what you can change to improve your situation if you have issues that are contributing to your depression. Are you in a bad marriage? Do you have a job that stresses you out? Do you live a healthy life? Any way that you can improve your life is going to help.
  • Sleep Control – There are some studies that suggest that for patients with sleep problems, the best thing to do to improve symptoms is a degree of sleep deprivation. Instead of sleeping eight to ten hours a night, work on sleeping from six to seven hours a night. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. Usually, within a few weeks, you’ll feel differently.
  • Hospitalization – For some people who are suicidal or otherwise destructive, the best course of action is short-term hospitalization that will allow them to be better diagnosed while in a protected environment.
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy – You have probably heard of this as the thing of nightmares from old movies. But, there are good reasons to employ this therapy for some people who need extra treatment to try to give some improvement in the quality of life. It’s also very effective in treating suicidal individuals.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – This non-invasive treatment uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerves to improve symptoms of depression. This is another effective treatment that is used as a last resort.
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation – This can be a very effective treatment that uses electrical impulses to stimulate the parts of the brain that affect mood, sleep, appetite, and motivation. It’s like a pacemaker and is inserted in the chest attached to the vagus nerve. However, it is not good for some forms of mental illness like bipolar or if one is suicidal.

These treatment options will give you and your doctor a lot to think about. You probably will start with medication and talk therapy. During talk therapy, your doctor may prescribe lifestyle changes to try to help you cope and improve your life. If that doesn’t work, you may need to move on with other things on the list.

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