Dealing with Depression
Beat the Blues
Many people don't know that depression is a chemical imbalance and that most of us will have symptoms at some point in our lives. But the good news is that it's very treatable.
Depression can range from a minor problem to a major, life-threatening illness. When dealing with depression, success is defined as catching it early and treating it before it negatively impacts you. You can control depression and not allow it to take over your life.
Your first weapon against depression is regular physical activity. It increases endorphins made in your brain, which are the same chemicals that cause "runner's high." Next is understanding depression triggers, symptoms, treatments, asking for help, and taking action.
Many things can provoke the onset of depression:
- Stressful events, either now or in your past
- A genetic or hereditary predisposition
- Alcohol or drug use
- Health problems, especially those causing chronic pain or disability
- A major health event, like surgery
Depression presents itself in a number of ways. If you experience these symptoms for more than two weeks, seek help:
- Feeling sad, blue, hopeless, down, or irritable
- Low self-esteem, negative thoughts, and trouble concentrating
- Less energy and decreased interest in usual activities
- More physical pain like stomach trouble, headaches, and backaches
- A self-care program includes things like planning activities you enjoy with friends, breaking problems into manageable pieces, achieving small goals, and writing everything down.
- Counseling is useful for mild to moderate depression, and cognitive behavioral and problem-solving therapies work best.
- Antidepressant medications work by rebalancing the brain's chemistry
Regardless of the treatment plan you work out with your doctor, stick with the program and ask for help if you need it.