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Treatments for Depression

Major depression is cited as the leading cause of disability cases in the United States for people aged 15 to 44.  Many people are hesitant to seek treatment, afraid of what others may think, but when left untreated and it doesn’t resolve on its own, it can last for years, getting worse over time.  If you are unsure about what depression is, please read this article to find out more.

One of the most important things about treating depression is to try to catch it before it gets to the point that you no longer care enough about anything to even take care of your most basic needs.  People in that state can be helped too, but recognizing the signs of depression and getting help early can make the process much easier and show faster results.

Treatments for depression will vary depending on the cause – it can be genetic, based on your personality type, brain chemistry or, as in your case, can manifest due to the things you see every day on the job.  Or it can be any combination of those things.  It will also depend on the length and intensity of the feelings you’ve been dealing with.

On Your Own

Even if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of acknowledging your depression, or talking to anyone else about it, there are things you can do to help yourself get back on track again.  Here are some proven techniques for helping those with depression:

  • Get into a routine – when you’re depressed it is tempting and easy to stop doing things because you feel lethargic or you just don’t care anymore. Keeping yourself on a basic routine will help you avoid that pitfall
  • Set small goals for yourself – achieving something can make you feel good and less hopeless. Set small attainable goals so that, as you complete each one, you can have a progression of accomplishments making you feel stronger and more capable.
  • Exercise – keeps you active and often improves your mood
  • Get enough sleep – this can be difficult if one of your symptoms is inability to get to sleep, or stay asleep. If that is the case, try getting to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning until your body adjusts to the new schedule, and you’re able to get more sleep each night.
  • Challenge your negative thoughts – when you find yourself obsessing over some negative thought, step back and try to think about it from a different perspective. Imagine it is a friend or loved one telling you the same thing – how would you respond to them?  What would you tell them about their negative thoughts?
  • Try something new – again, depression can get you in a bit of a rut, so learning something new or changing things up a little can keep you from becoming completely reclusive
  • Do things you normally enjoy – even if you don’t feel as good as you normally would, doing things you enjoy keeps you on a positive pathFreedom From Depression
  • Keep a journal – writing down your thoughts and emotions is an excellent way to step back and get perspective. Do your thoughts sound as logical when they are written down as they do when they are swirling around in your head?
  • Avoid alcohol – alcohol is a depressant, which isn’t going to help your mood, and it can become a bad habit used to run away from your emotions, becoming a secondary issue to resolve.
  • Don’t allow yourself to become isolated – continue to see friends and loved ones. You want to avoid becoming a recluse, with only your own thoughts to listen to.  Even if they don’t cheer you up, at least you’re hearing something besides your own negative thoughts for a while.
  • Try out some apps on your smartphone or computer – there are a lot of applications that can help you keep a more positive frame of mind, from sending you daily positive thoughts to walking you through visualization exercises.

Professional Help

If none of those techniques are working, or aren’t working well enough, it may be time to seek a professional to help you treat your symptoms and return to your normal state of being.  Professionals will usually recommend a two-part approach, especially if this appears to be based on genetics, or if it has gotten severe and you’re too deeply depressed to pull out of it without the help of some medication.

  • Psychodynamic therapy – people who have experienced traumas often try to suppress their memories and feelings about the event.  This therapy encourages bringing those unconscious thoughts to the surface to see how they are actually affecting the individual, without them even being aware of it.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – is designed to help depressed patients recognize how their thinking processes are affecting their behavior and emotions.  Once they recognize their faulty thinking patterns, they can start challenging those thoughts and learn to respond to life in a more effective way.
  • Non-directive supportive therapy – the client completely determines the direction this therapy takes. The therapist goes with them on this journey and may ask questions, but does not offer any advice.  People know themselves best, and taking responsibility for their own care makes them feel empowered.
  • Behavioral activation – attempts to change some of the behaviors that are only making the patient’s depression worse, such as isolating themselves, doing drugs, or sleeping too much to cope with their sadness. The patient is encouraged to do things that may not seem pleasant to them at the time, but that will ultimately pull them out of their depression.  They may want to sleep all day, but will be encouraged to get up, to go out and see people instead, as opposed to isolating themselves.
  • Mindfulness cognitive therapy – is often used to prevent relapses of depression by helping the patient recognize their patterns of thinking and how that affects the way they feel.  It teaches patients about meditation and breathing as coping mechanisms to help themselves before depression hits.

Medications

Anti-depressant medications can be prescribed when the patient is too depressed to get any benefit of therapy without some improvement in mood, or when the patient’s depression is due to a chemical imbalance in their brain that is genetic, making depression something they have to fight their entire lives.

Generally, it is recommended the patient see a therapist while taking the medication to help get them jumpstarted out of their sadness, but it can be prescribed on its own in some cases.

Depression is a serious condition that can suck the life out of you, and can really ruin your life if you let it go untreated for too long.  In your line of work, you see some horrible things, so it is understandable that at some point you will need help working through your emotions.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from depression, please find help.  Everyone deserves a happy and fulfilling life, especially you…Remember, you are awesome!!!

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