5 Tips on How to Deal with Depression | Depression Symptoms
What is Depression? Depression Definition
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a medical illness that can affect all aspects of your life. Depression causes feelings of sadness often accompanied by a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can impact how you feel, the way you think and how you act, but thankfully, it is treatable.
Depression Symptoms and Signs
The signs and symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe and may be different from person to person. In order for depression to be considered as a diagnosis, these symptoms must last at least two weeks.
Symptoms and signs of depression include:
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Losing interest in activities once enjoyed
- Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Experiencing changes in appetite
- Losing energy or increased fatigue
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Having difficulty concentrating, thinking, making decisions
- Having thoughts of death or suicide
It’s important to note that medical conditions, such as thyroid problems or vitamin deficiencies, can mimic symptoms of depression.
5 Tips on How to Deal With Depression
1. Pay Attention to your Sleep
It’s recommended by doctors that we all get approximately eight hours of sleep. Since depression often involves sleep problems – either too little or too much – getting yourself on a better sleep schedule can improve your symptoms.
2. Practice Relaxation
Activities like yoga, deep breathing, and meditation bring you out of your head and into the present moment, grounding you. Getting into a daily relaxation practice may have a positive effect on symptoms of depression. Relaxation techniques also help reduce stress and boost feelings of well-being and happiness.
3. Eat Right
Depression may impact your eating habits, either causing you to over-eat, under-eat, and/or crave unhealthy “comfort” foods. However, going too long between meals can impact your mood, making you feel tired and irritable. You should aim to eat something every three to four hours, at least, and fill your meals with healthy whole foods. “Feel-good” foods are likely to lead to a quick crash in energy and mood.
4. Sweat it Out
Exercising when you have depression may seem like a daunting task, leaving you feeling exhausted. However, research shows that your energy levels will improve if you stick with it and get into a routine. Exercise will then start to make you feel energized and happy, as physical activity triggers the release of endorphins.
5. Boost up your B’s
Studies show that depression can be triggered by deficiencies in B vitamins,including folic acid and B-12. To ensure you’re getting enough, try taking a B-complex vitamin or adding more citrus, leafy greens, and beans to your diet.
6. BONUS Tip: Try a weighted blanket.
Blankets bring an element of calming comfort to a lot of people — even if they don’t realize it. Weighted blankets combine the cozy comforts of regular blankets with a science-based therapy tool initially developed by an autism researcher. Like a hug, the pressure from a weighted blanket stimulates the release of oxytocin and serotonin, also known as the “love chemical” and the “happy chemical”. This phenomenon is known as Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT), which is firm but gentle contact that relaxes the nervous system. Click here to check out a weighted blanket on Amazon
What Causes Depression?
Depression is a common, yet complex disease. You may have heard that depression is the result of a chemical imbalance, however this explanation is not all encompassing. There are many causes of depression, and often several of these factors interact to bring on depression. Depression may be caused by any of the following (this list is in no way exhaustive):
- Physical, emotional, and/or verbal abuse.
- Certain medications.
- Conflict with friends or family.
- Death or a loss.
- Major life events such as moving, graduating, starting a new job, etc.
- Social isolation.
- Serious illness.
- Substance abuse.
Asking for help can be difficult, but it’s important to know that you don’t have to face depression alone. If you are experiencing depression, please consult a health care professional. There are also a number of resources offering help including the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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