How to Fight Depression

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Around 20 million Americans suffer from depression. If you are one of them, you are far from alone. Depression can manifest itself in a number of ways, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. You may experience feelings of hopelessness, sadness and emptiness, accompanied by irritability and a loss of interest in things you once enjoyed. Physical symptoms include fatigue, low energy and insomnia.

Professional Help

  • Ask a healthcare professional for help. Do not postpone asking for help; the longer you experience depression, the longer it will likely take to combat the problem. Your doctor will first check to make sure your symptoms are not caused by an underlying medical condition. Once other possibilities have been ruled out, your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional who will discuss your symptoms with you. He will then use this information to form a diagnosis and prescribe further treatment options.

Medication

  • Ask your doctor whether he or she thinks medication might help fight your depression. Most antidepressants affect neurotransmitters, chemicals in your brain thought to be part of mood regulation. Regardless of the medication taken, it will likely take four to six weeks before you feel any effects, if any, and you may have to try more than one antidepressant to find the one that works best for you. Never take antidepressants without the recommendation and supervision of a doctor.

Therapy

  • Consider psychotherapy, perhaps in combination with medication, to help improve your condition. Psychotherapy aims to help people understand their illness and develop coping strategies to better deal better with day-to-day situations that may arise. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one popular approach. It aims to change the way a patient thinks about a given situation or experience and has a track record of success in patients experiencing depression.

Approach to Day-to-Day Life

  • Help yourself fight depression by making small changes in your day-to-day life. Making the effort to exercise and stay active can make a difference, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, while setting realistic goals and breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks can also help. Avoid becoming isolated from the people around you and don’t make any major life decisions until your depression improves.

References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

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