Want To Treat Depression?
Feeling sad, blue or bored is a common emotion that we can all experience at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, for some people life events can result in feelings of depression. Fortunately, effective depression treatment strategies have been developed.
Depression is an intense feeling of sadness accompanied by serious emotional, behavioural, cognitive and physiological changes that can impact our ability to function and be happy.
Common emotional changes can include a depressed mood that lasts throughout the day, as well as a lack of motivation or pleasure. Behaviourally, some people can isolate themselves and sleep the whole day away. From a cognitive point of view, depressed people have negative thinking and can see themselves as being worthless, incompetent or unlovable. Physiological changes include a decreased appetite and insomnia.
If these changes last the whole day for weeks, you should consider seeking treatment for depression. Treating depression can include a Montreal Psychologist who would help treat depression using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, as well as a family doctor or psychiatrist who could prescribe antidepressants if you would like to take medication.
10 Steps To Start Your Treatment Of Depression
Here are some important ways to treat the emotional, behavioural and physiological symptoms of depression. You can check back in the coming weeks for cognitive interventions that will help treat depression.
1. Keep active.
- When feeling depressed, it is common for people to stay at home most of the time or to sleep long hours. This is counterproductive. Remaining inactive will further decrease your mood, motivation and energy levels. Studies have shown that increasing your activity levels can help to treat depression in as few as 2-3 weeks. Even a 5-minute walk around the block is a good start. To really see the impact that activity has on your mood, measure how you think you will feel before the activity and afterwards. Is there a difference? Did it make you feel better?
2. Balance your activities.
- Balance what you do with tasks that make you feel you’ve accomplished something or been productive with pleasurable activities. Do not spend the whole day cleaning your home or doing laundry. Take breaks and do something fun. For example, watch some TV, read or go out shopping with a friend.
3. Make sure to take breaks.
- Get good rest if you feel you need it. Over-exhausting yourself will not help you treat depression.
4. Get a good night sleep.
- Sleep is an important event that helps us rest and feel recharged for the next day. Lack of sleep will exacerbate some of the symptoms of depression like fatigue and irritability. Treating insomnia is important if this is a problem for you.
5. Sleep regular hours.
- Make sure that your sleep cycle is regular, 11pm to 8am for example, and not erratic like 4am to 4pm. A regular sleep cycle ensures that your circadian rhythm, the regular sleep-awake cycle for humans, is good and that you are exposed to a sufficient degree of light. An irregular sleep cycle will impact other important aspects of depression treatment. For example, it would probably be hard to meet friends or family for social support if you only get up at 7pm every day.
6. Eat well-balanced meals.
- Some people lose their appetite when depressed and stop eating. Even if you do not feel hungry, make sure to eat nonetheless. In order to treat depression, you’re body needs important nutrients, as well as carbohydrates for energy. Make sure to eat healthy meals and not just junk or comfort food.
7. Take good care of yourself.
- Keep up your self-care even when you feel depressed. Make sure to shower daily, put on makeup if you are a woman and dress to feel proud of yourself. Wearing sweat pants and a sweater all day and keeping a sloppy appearance will only make you feel down.
8. Do not isolate yourself.
- Reach out to friends and family. Speak to them and plan to do activities with them. Social support is probably one of the most important factors that make us feel good as humans. Studies have shown that those people with little or no social support have more psychological and physical/health problems than people with a good social network.
9. Laugh a little.
- Laughter is a good antidote to feeling depressed. Watch a funny movie or go to a comedy show.
10. Avoid negative coping behaviours.
- These include alcohol or drug use, overeating or binging, overspending and sleeping all day. These are temporary measures to feel good. None of them are effective in the treatment of depression. In fact, in the long-term these coping strategies will only make how you feel worse. For example, alcohol use may help you ‘pass out’ at night. However, it will interfere with your ability to reach the deep levels of sleep. In the long-term it will make you feel more tired and irritated. If you notice you are using any of these behaviours excessively, ask yourself whether you may be feeling depressed.
In summary, there are some effective ways to treat depression. If you find that you may need more help, consider contacting a psychologist in Montreal.