Depression can be treated and managed well, although you may not think so when you are in the midst of it. Some methods of managing it effectively are explored below.
- Seek early treatment
If you have feelings of unhappiness that are persistent and interfere with your activities and relationships, you are probably suffering from depression. Early treatment is key to the quickest possible recovery.
- Take all medications as prescribed by your doctor
Work with your doctor to decide which medications to try and then make sure to take them faithfully. Tell your doctor how the medication works and about any side effects. Some people try several different antidepressants before they find one that works for them. If you are feeling better, don't stop taking antidepressants without getting the go-ahead from your doctor.
- Attend all scheduled therapy sessions
Therapy can be an effective tool in managing depression. Working with a psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker in regular therapy can help depressed individuals find better ways to cope, solve problems and set realistic goals, as well as manage suicide risk if there is any. Skipping therapy sessions can extend or negatively affect treatment for depression.
- Avoid illegal drugs and alcohol
Although moderate alcohol consumption may offer some health benefits, people who abuse alcohol have an increased risk of depression. The same is true for individuals who abuse illegal or prescription drugs. If you have depression, it is best to avoid these substances, which can worsen symptoms and inhibit the effects of antidepressant medications.
- Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity has been shown to have antidepressant effects in people with mild to moderate depression, who are encouraged to exercise for 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. If you are new to exercise, begin gradually by exercising for just a few minutes at a time, and work your way up to 30 minutes or more a day. Aerobic activity (also called cardio) is typically most effective at relieving symptoms of depression. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, running, biking, dancing, in-line skating, swimming and playing basketball. (Consult with your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.)