One in six people will experience depression at least one time in their lives. An event might trigger your feeling depressed, such as losing a loved one, divorce, or a life-changing illness. For many people, the feelings improve after a few days. But others have persistent sadness or low mood that can last for two or more weeks. When that occurs, a person is likely to suffer from clinical depression, and a health professional is likely to prescribe antidepressant medication or mental health counseling to combat your depression. But there may also be other ways to help lift your mood and fight depression. We’ll find out what those are, but first, let’s learn more about depression.
What is depression, and how can it impact your life?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, one in 15 adults is affected by depression each year. It is a serious common medical condition that impacts how you feel, think, and function.
Depression can feel like a deep dark hole. You may feel temporary sadness over a life circumstance or have ongoing depression.
The signs and symptoms of depression can vary. Some people only have mild depression, while others have severe depression that can interfere with their life.
The symptoms of depression can include:
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or hopelessness
- Problems getting to sleep or oversleeping
- Difficulty with thinking or making decisions
- Weight loss or gain due to a change in eating habits
- No longer enjoying your favorite activities
- Thinking about death or suicide
Depression can be serious and impact your physical and emotional health as well as your relationships and life in general.
If you experience symptoms of depression for longer than two weeks or are currently thinking about suicide, please seek help from your physician or a mental health professional immediately.
Causes of Depression
In some cases, the cause of your depression can be as simple as a vitamin deficiency, thyroid problem, or other medical condition. Some women also have increased depression before or during their periods.
Others get depressed during certain times of the year and suffer from seasonal depression. Depressive illnesses also seem to run in families. If you have a parent or close relative who has fought depression, you are more likely to have episodes of depression.
Many researchers believe that impaired serotonin levels cause clinical depression. That premise is behind the reasoning why many health practitioners prescribe SSRI antidepressant medications, which increase serotonin at the cellular level.
It’s important to get an evaluation so that your depression can be treated properly.
Other Ways to Lift Your Mood and Fight Depression
Depression impacts people in different ways, and no two people find relief in the same way. Some people get the lifesaving help they need in antidepressants, while others seek alternate routes to combat their depressed moods, either in addition to or instead of prescription medication.
Many depressed people find significant relief in talking about their depression with a mental health professional or getting social support through a supportive friend or family member.
Others also find relief with lifestyle changes such as:
- stress reduction
- supplementation with Vitamin D or St. John’s Wort
- getting quality sleep
- spending more time in the sun
- meditation or cognitive therapy
- joining a support group
- spending time in nature or bringing plants inside
- yoga or exercise, along with improving their diet
- avoidance of alcohol
- listening to upbeat music
- taking CBD
It’s vital to experiment and take the time to find suitable therapies for your depression. Living with depression means you are likely to experience ups and downs. Remain patient and gentle with yourself. You are worth it.
It’s also important to avoid making adjustments in your treatment regimen without first consulting your doctor or mental health professional. Mixing certain supplements such as St. John’s Wort and antidepressants, for example, can have disastrous effects.
Find the changes that can benefit you with the help of a professional.
If you are thinking about suicide or have a loved one who is talking about suicide, please call 800-273-8255.