For some people, depression is a daily battle and it does not go away on its own without treatment. For others, such as those with SAD (seasonal affective disorder), the depression tends to lift with time. Mostly though, your depression will need some form of treatment for it to lift.
The good news is, there are treatment options available. Many treatment options in fact. So this means that there is a high chance of finding a treatment for you. I went for over 10 years with debilitating depression and anxiety, trying different treatment options and medications until I eventually found what worked for me.
In this post we will explore all of the different treatments available for depression, including the system that worked wonders for me.
Talk Therapy For Depression
When you first start feeling the symptoms of depression you should begin by talking to your doctor. If you are anything like I was, you won’t completely understand what is going on and sometimes your brain can play tricks on you. Your doctor will be able to explain what depression is and discuss your symptoms with you. They can also do certain tests, because sometimes you may have another health issue that is contributing to your depression symptoms.
Being able to discuss your problems and feelings is a huge part of your recovery from depression, and your doctor is best equipped to be able to guide you through it. Sometimes just being able to talk about everything and have someone empathetic who can listen and understand and not judge you is enough to help you get on top of your depression.
Medications For Depression
Once you have discussed with your doctor what symptoms you are feeling and where you are at with your depression, they may prescribe you antidepressant medication. These include Zoloft, Prozac, Cymbalta and Effexor. There are many more available options. For some people, just being on antidepressants is enough to lift their mood and allow them to get on top of their depression. For others, like me, the antidepressants are not effective so other types of treatment are required.
A word of advice when it comes to going on antidepressants. Usually, you will not feel any change for at least a couple of weeks. A lot of antidepressants also come with side effects, especially when you first start taking them. Some also have withdrawal side effects. For this reason, it is very important that you ask your doctor about the side effects and make an educated decision on which antidepressant you are willing to go on. Not everyone will experience the side effects, and often they go away on their own after several weeks of taking the medication. My experience with medication has not been a successful one. This does not mean they don’t work, it just means they didn’t work for me personally. Some antidepressants, like Effexor, gave me a terrible experience. This is why it is so important to speak to your doctor first before taking any medication so that you can fully understand the potential side effects and other issues with the drug.
CBT For Depression
Cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT is a proven way of fighting depression and anxiety. I have had great success myself by using this method. It involves challenging our negative way of thinking and processing thoughts and situations. It then replaces these negative thoughts with a more helpful way of looking at things.
Changing the way we think is not easy at first, as a lot of our thought patterns are almost hard wired into our brains through years of doing it that way. The more you use CBT to change this way of thinking, the easier it gets. Eventually you will start using CBT naturally every day, as it becomes your hard wired thought process.
My number one resource that I used to finally get on top of my depression is a product called Destroy Depression. Part of the course is focused on CBT, and I found learning and using CBT with the assistance of this system to be very effective. It is all laid out in an easy to follow format and the product is delivered online, so you get access to it straight away. I have also written a review on the product.
ACT For Depression
Along with CBT, ACT (acceptance commitment therapy) is my preferred treatment option for depression and anxiety. I found using the two therapies side by side to be extra effective. ACT involves using mindfulness and helps you to make decisions based on what your values are, rather than being emotionally reactive to certain situations. It also teaches us to accept the things that we cannot control and focus our time and energy and thoughts just on the things that we do have control over. Just like with CBT, ACT is a type of therapy that uses proven techniques to treat depression without the use of medications (although medication can be used as well as CBT and ACT).
My preferred resource for learning about ACT are the books by Dr. Russ Harris. He is one of the leading experts on all things ACT and has written several books on the topic. I would start with a book called The Happiness Trap (order here through Amazon) as it was one of the first books he wrote on ACT. He has written other books as well, so if you enjoy reading the happiness trap then there are more books of his that you can read. The reason I use Dr. Harris as my main resource for ACT is not just because of the knowledge he has on the subject. It is also because the way he writes the books makes it easy to follow and easy to implement the strategies he teaches. Often with self help type of books the information is presented in such a boring way that it is hard to take any of it in and use it. That is not the case with The Happiness Trap and the other books by Dr. Harris.
Diet For Depression
I know everyone always talks about the cure to many things is to change your diet. When it comes to depression, that is no different. In fact, studies have shown that simply changing your diet can achieve total remission from depression symptoms in some cases. For most people it will not be the cure, but cutting out the bad foods and eating more of the foods that are good for your brain can definitely help. At the very least, you may achieve partial relief from your depression symptoms as well as improve your health due to your new diet.
I’ve written a post previously outlining which foods you should include in your diet and which ones to avoid. As well as changing your diet to help your mood and mental health, you can also take supplements to assist you. I have written a post here on some of the best supplements to take for depression.
Exercise For Depression
Before you go and sign up for a membership to your local gym, understand that you do not have to go to any such lengths to use exercise to help fight depression. My strategy is simply to go for a walk every day. I use this walk as thinking time, as I find the positive thoughts come far more easily in a setting where I am already doing something positive for myself.
It can be hard to start exercising, especially if it has been a while and especially if you are also battling depression. My best advice here is to try not to overthink it before you do it. Just clear your mind and step out the door and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Once you are out the door and moving it gets much easier to just keep walking. Don’t let your negative thoughts get in your way before you start. Research has proven a definite link between exercise and relief from mental health symptoms.
Meditation For Depression
I have written a post on a beginners guide to mindfulness here. Using mindful meditation is a great strategy for dealing with depression and anxiety, and has been proven over time to be very effective. Studies have shown it is also a great way to reduce stress.
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