Sometimes when we are going through a 'bad patch' in our life, it's enough to talk through our problems with a friend or relative. However, this may not be enough and we may need to seek professional help.
The important thing to remember about depression is that it's treatable. There are many different types of treatment. These include medication and talking therapies.
Talking therapies include:
Generally it is believed that these therapies are as effective as medication for mild depression. However, for more severe illnesses, medication is likely to be needed but may be supplemented with psychotherapy.
Which type of therapy will depend on what your GP recommends depending on the particular problems, your own views and the local availability of psychotherapists.
When taking medication, it's important to remember:
For people who do not respond to medication It may be necessary for them people to be referred to a psychiatrist for more specialised help. The psychiatrist will want to talk about the problems the person is suffering and find out about background information, such as work and family, previous health or emotional problems and current medication.
Self care for depression
1. Talk to people about how you feel. Don't bottle things up. It is NOT a sign of weakness to get help for your problems, in the same way that it would not be to get medical help for a broken leg or a chest infection.
2. Although you may not be able to do the things you normally would (such as work), try to keep active as much as you can. Lying in bed or sitting thinking about your problems can make them seem worse. Physical exercise can also help depression and keep your mind off your worries. Research suggests that for some people, exercise can be as effective as antidepressants at reducing depressive symptoms, particularly in those with mild and moderate depression. Being physically active lifts your mood, reduces stress and anxiety, boosts the release of endorphins (your body’s feel-good chemicals) and improves self-esteem and helps you to sleep.
3. Do not increase your alcohol intake to try and 'drown your sorrows' or help you sleep better. Alcohol will only make the depression worse and harder to treat.
4. If you are having problems sleeping, try not to lie in bed thinking about your problems and anxieties. Do something to take your mind off your worries, such as reading or listening to the radio.
5. Self-help books may be helpful. Check out the health section of any good bookshop.