Depression is a serious condition that causes debilitating symptoms. Left untreated, it can lead to problems at work or in relationships with friends and family. In extreme cases, it can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of depression vary from person to person. But they all share common features. They include a feeling of sadness, hopelessness or lack of energy. They may also involve a significant change in appetite, sleep, thoughts or behavior.
Some people experience a sudden drop in mood that lasts for months or even years. If these feelings persist, they should be referred to a mental health professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Recognizing the symptoms of depression is important because it will help you and a loved one get help quickly. Talk to your doctor, who will be able to refer you to a psychologist.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) can be very helpful for most people with depression. It can help you change unhealthy thinking patterns and develop coping skills to manage your symptoms. The most commonly used type of psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.
Medication can also help with depression. Your doctor can prescribe antidepressants that target the brain’s chemicals and help reduce depression-like symptoms. Some people need to try a few different types before they find the right one for them.
Keeping in touch with friends and family is a good way to boost your mood and keep depression at bay. You can also make a list of activities that can give you a lift and start implementing some of them each day, even if you don’t feel like it.
Getting enough exercise is important for both your physical and mental well-being. Taking part in a regular physical activity will give you the mental and emotional energy to fight off the effects of depression.
Finding a healthy diet can also reduce the effects of depression. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains will give you the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
Avoiding alcohol and drugs can also have a positive effect on your mood. Alcohol can exacerbate symptoms of depression, and it’s also a risk factor for suicide. If you are using alcohol or drugs to manage your depression, make sure you stop drinking or using them immediately.
A balanced diet and exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which in turn can reduce your risk of developing depression. It’s also important to drink plenty of water.
If you can’t get enough sleep, it will only aggravate your depression. Try to set aside a regular sleep schedule and go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. It’s also a good idea to avoid eating late at night, which can cause you to have trouble sleeping the next day.
Complementary therapies can also help you manage your symptoms of depression. They are often used along with conventional treatments and psychotherapy.