When you are struggling with depression, it can seem like nothing helps. Of course, if this is the case, you should get into contact with a doctor that can help you. In all likelihood, they will prescribe you an antidepressant as a starting point to help alleviate your symptoms of depression and allow you to experience life to the fullest.
However, alongside following the doctor’s orders, there are some methods and natural approaches that can be used to help manage your depression. In this article, we are going to look at some of your options that you can use to help keep your depression under control.
What Types of Medications Are Used in Treating Depression?
Before we get into the natural approaches for depression, let’s take a look at some of the pharmaceutical options that are out there. There are a couple types of medications that can be used to treat depression. The most common, though, is a type of medication known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These include medications such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Lexapro. When someone uses these, it usually takes a few weeks to kick in and there are a few side effects users might experience such as nausea or trouble sleeping.
However, new medications are being developed constantly to try and help those suffering from depression more. A fantastic example of this is NSI-189. Right now, this is an antidepressant that is entirely experimental being investigated by Neuralstem, Inc. While human trials are currently very limited, those who have tried the drug have noted a better ability to control emotions and a sharp reduction of negative and suicidal thoughts. In addition, they noted that they didn’t have some of the issues that standard antidepressants can bring, such as sexual impairment.
That isn’t to say that NSI-189 is ready for sale yet. Users also complained of side effects such as drowsiness and memory issues. On the more severe side, some participants in these studies also noted a worse mood including irrational anger, anxiety characterized with panic attacks, and apathy. So, while NSI-189 holds some potential, it also has some kinks that need to be ironed out before it is considered for widespread clinical use.
One of the best things that you can do if you are depressed is to exercise regularly. Of course, given that depression tends to make those who suffer from it more lethargic and less motivated, you will likely have to push yourself to work out but it has been proven worth it.
At the most basic level, exercise can be a healthy way to cope with negative emotions. On top of that, though, it also makes your body release endorphins in your brain that make you naturally feel good. In addition, if you wanted to increase your social contact with others – as depression can make someone feel rather isolated and lonely – an exercise class is a great way to meet new people.
Another way to help combat depression is light therapy. This is especially helpful if your depression comes from seasonal affective disorder – a disorder in which someone is more prone to depression during the darker times of winter.
This type of therapy includes you sitting in a brightly lit room designed to mimic a sunny day. The sessions usually start rather short and then work up to longer, sometimes multiple hour sessions. With the help of a therapist, you can easily find if and how much of this therapy will help you.
Unfortunately, changing your diet isn’t going to cure your depression. However, just as eating poorly can affect how you feel regularly, it can also affect how feel when you are depressed. So, if you want to do everything you can that will make you feel a little better, you might want to try a more balanced diet.
Sleep the Right Amount
Depression can also run havoc on your sleep schedule. If you don’t get enough sleep, though, you might find it even harder to make your way through the day. After all, being depressed is hard enough without adding exhaustion on top of it. There are plenty of natural ways to battle insomnia such as herbal teas or melatonin. If your insomnia is too bad, though, you can always bring it up with your doctor – they might suggest medication to help you get to bed at night.
On the other hand, though, it can be just as bad to get too much sleep. If you spend your whole day in bed, you might find that you feel just as bad as if you didn’t sleep at all. For the average adult, you will want to sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night. For teenagers, this statistic raises slightly to 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
Have a Support System
As we mentioned earlier, if you have depression, it’s easy to feel like you’re alone. As such, it can help to have people around you – friends and family that can help encourage you to stick to your treatment plan and remind you that you aren’t actually alone in the world.
If you find that talking to other people who are going through the same thing as you helps, you might want to check into group therapy or support groups. This will give you a chance to talk to other people who are going through the same thing you are and who understand exactly what you are feeling.
Mindfulness and Positivity
While it doesn’t work for everyone with depression, some people find solace in challenging the negative thoughts that depression brings. There are a couple ways to do this. One way that some people find works is to keep a mood journal – recording what puts them in more negative moods and what helps to get them out of it.
For individuals who really want to try this but find it hard on their own, you could try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This allows you to employ techniques to find mindfulness and positivity under the guidance of a professional.