How to Deal with Depression
Depression takes away our self-confidence, interest in activities and ultimately denies us the capacity to lead a meaningful life.
Despite its serious nature, it is possible to deal with depression to lessen the severity of the symptoms and eventually get rid of it altogether. You need to use the right coping strategies to get a handle on your feelings until your mind is in a better state than before.
We will first discuss two general coping strategies, then offer suggestions on dealing with symptoms, address medication, before finally discussing treatment methods with a professional.
General coping strategies to deal with depression
One of the defining symptoms of depression is negative thoughts on our self-worth. We often think of ourselves as worthless, that the world is a cruel place and there is no hope for positive change. We are also negatively biased where, if something positive happens, we give credit to someone else, but if something bad happens, we blame ourselves. We also focus more on negative events and brood over them.
Cognitive strategies help us deal with depression by arresting this negative way of thinking. Strategies involve challenging the negative thoughts, focusing on the positives and reframing the way we think about our lives. With a cognitive strategy, you can reverse the negatively biased thoughts and reframe your focus and thoughts.
One of the symptoms of depression is inactivity. But if you follow this instinct to do nothing, you will only spiral deeper into depression. Behavioural strategies counter this urge to do nothing. Using these strategies, you will be encouraged to act against depression by being as active as possible. Goal planning, structured problem solving, and social skills training are just some of the activities you will be encouraged to take on with behavioural strategies.
The skills you learn using these strategies will last a lifetime, keeping you focused, productive and content even once depression is passed. These strategies also minimise the chances of you relapsing into depression.
Deal with depression symptoms
Insomnia – You need to rest even if you can’t sleep. Start by having a consistent schedule. Wake up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night. Keep your caffeine consumption to a minimum, don’t have any tea or coffee after 4 pm. If you have trouble sleeping, then don’t waste time lying idle, take up relaxation activities like meditation.
Loss of appetite – What’s your favourite food? If you are having trouble with meals, then eat more of what you like in small portions and with plenty of fluids. Don’t rush yourself during meals. Take your time.
Negative thoughts – To avoid self-defeating thoughts you will need a diary and some help from a friend or family member to record pleasant incidents that take place throughout the day. List three positive qualities about yourself with help from a friend. With this base for a positive mindset, you can take on more challenges like writing alternative explanations for adverse events that occurred in the past. Finally, always keep yourself busy, don’t sit around idling.
Worrying – The best way to handle worry is to put it to good use. Identify one or two things you worry about and make a decision to resolve it. Sit down with a friend and discuss solutions that successfully address what concerns you.
Medication to deal with depression
If you are dealing with severe depression, then you need to take antidepressants. For people dealing with mild or moderate forms of depression, medication is not necessary. Please don’t take any medication without first visiting a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Medicine can have different side effects like nausea, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth and weight gain. Therefore it’s important to take medication only when prescribed by a doctor. The nature of these symptoms will change depending on the type of medicine you use. Hence, it’s important to discuss matters with your psychologist before taking the medication.
The side effects will wear off once your body adjusts to it, but it is still best to be on the safe side and be in touch with your doctor. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin-Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) and Reversible Inhibitors of MonoAmine oxidase (RIMAs) are just some examples of medication.
Depression can be crippling on an emotional and psychological level, but it is possible to deal with depression and alleviate the symptoms. Depression can be controlled using a combination of behavioural and cognitive strategies. If you have severe depression, you will need to visit a psychologist who will, in turn, diagnose and prescribe antidepressants.
If you’re looking to get treated for depression, visit OnPsych to identify the best ways to go about this.