Breaking the Depression Cycle
Breaking the Depression Cycle
It sounds like good advice and it probably would help you feel better, but how are you expected to start exercising when you can barely get out of bed each morning?
When you are in a spiral of depression, it is hard to summon the energy to do just about anything, but the only way to reclaim your life is to take charge – control your depression rather than let it control you. Here’s what you can do to take charge of depression
Depression is very common. On average, one in six people will experience an episode of depression in their lifetime - one in five females and one in eight males.
Is It Depression?
Recognizing that you are depressed is the first step toward feeling better.
Signs and symptoms of depression may include:
- Persistently feeling sad or "empty"
- Feeling hopeless or negative/pessimistic
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
- Being irritable, restless or anxious
- Social withdrawal (from friends and family
- Loss of pleasure from things you used to enjoy
- Loss of libido
- Lethargy (decreased energy or enthusiasm)
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering de-tails, and making decisions
- Sleeping too much OR not enough
- Overeating, OR appetite loss
- Weight gain, OR weight loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Miscellaneous aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems.
Although everyone feels blue or sad sometimes, these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within days. When you have depression, it interferes with your ability to function in day-to-day life. It is a serious illness, and you can’t just ‘get over it’. Seeking help is the only solution. If this
sounds like you, visit your GP to take a positive step towards your recovery.
How can I help myself if I am depressed?
- Do not wait to get evaluated or treated. Research shows that the longer you wait, the greater the impairment can be down the road. Seek help today!
- Set realistic goals and priorities – do what you can when you can.
- Re-connect with family and friends - don’t isolate yourself.
- Postpone important decisions, such as getting divorced or changing jobs. When you are depressed, your judgment may be clouded by your illness. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
- Learn about depression. For more informa-tion, go to www.beyondblue.org.au
Managing Depression with Lifestyle Changes
Making good lifestyle choices can have a profound improvement on depression, including:
- Exercise boosts “feel-good” hormones in the brain – done regularly this can help pre-vent and improve depression symptoms
If, however, depression has taken control, you may find that the lifestyle measures above are simply too difficult to initiate.
There are a range of treatments that are proven to work, ranging from medication to psychological intervention (e.g. counselling), but it’s different for everybody. It is important to seek help for your illness so that you can find a treatment that works for you.
Some people still hold on to the old stigma regarding depression, that you should just “get over it”, but research clearly shows that depression is an illness (not a weakness) and major depressive episodes are a result of brain chemistry changes.
Antidepressants boost the activity of hormones in the brain that are responsible for positive thoughts. They typically take a number of weeks to show benefits, so you need to be patient and persevere with your treatment, remembering there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maintaining close contact with your doctor will allow
them to guide you in your recovery.
DISCLAIMER: This material contains general information about medical conditions and treatments and is intended for educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical or professional advice, nor should it be used for the purposes of diagnosing or treating any illness. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your local pharmacist or health care provider to obtain professional advice relevant to your specific circumstances.