5 Ways to deal with depression and anxiety | 2023

Learn about depression, its symptoms, causes, and treatment options. Find out how social support, exercise, therapy, and medication can help manage this widespread condition.

Apr 28, 2023 - 06:59
Apr 28, 2023 - 09:46
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5 Ways to deal with depression and anxiety |  2023
Depression Art Image

Would you like to hear the good news or the bad news?

The good news is that most cases of depression improve over time, even without treatment, and some people are not likely to remain depressed forever.

However, the bad news is that depression is likely to recur and return, even after it has improved. Furthermore, a significant percentage of people with depression may experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors, with 15% ultimately dying by suicide.

Thus, the critical question to ask is not how to immediately cure depression, but rather to understand the underlying causes of the condition and what steps can be taken to address them, right?

  

What is Depression?

There is a clear distinction between feeling sad and experiencing depression. Everyone may feel sad at times, particularly when facing setbacks, pressure, and challenges, but they are usually able to bounce back relatively quickly. Depression, on the other hand, is characterized by persistent low mood, sluggish thinking, and reduced motivation over several weeks or months. Someone with depression are unable to simply "snap out of it" and feel better.

A common symptom of depression is the loss of the ability to experience joy, such as difficulty finding amusement in things that would normally be funny.

In a study, researchers gave both depressed and non-depressed person to wear a device that can detect emotional experiences and asked them to record their emotional experiences. The results indicated that both groups reported similar numbers of negative experiences, but the depressed group reported significantly fewer positive experiences.

Although symptoms can vary, people with depression may experience some of the following:

Symptoms of depression

  • Psychological symptoms

1. Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness

2. Feelings of inferiority or guilt.

 3. Frequent crying.

4. Anxiety or excessive worry.

5. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, and irritability or intolerance towards others.

6. Difficulty making decisions. 

7. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

  • Physical Symptoms

1. Slower movements and speech.

2. Changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but the opposite is true in some people).

3. Constipation.

4. Somatic pain .

5. Decreased libido.

6. Changes in sleep habits, such as insomnia or excessive sleeping.

  • Social Symptoms

1.Negative work attitude or decline in work performance.

2.Avoidance of social interactions with others.

3.Neglecting hobbies.

4. Difficulty getting along with family members".

It is important to note that symptoms of depression often develop gradually, which can make it difficult for someone to recognize the problem early on. Unfortunately, some people may also avoid seeking treatment even after they realize they may be experiencing depression symptoms, which can have a negative impact on their wellbeing.

Depression is a widespread condition that affects more than 300 million people globally, with a prevalence rate exceeding 4%.However, only a small percentage of these person, approximately 4.3%, receive the necessary treatment. Seeking help from a healthcare professional is crucial if you are experiencing any symptoms of depression, as early intervention can greatly improve the chances of recovery.

  

Is depression a combination of genetics + stressful events?

Research on twins and adopted children has shown that depression has a moderate hereditary component. However, depression is not determined simply by genetics, and someone with a family history of depression may also be at higher risk for other mental health conditions such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, as well as substance abuse.

It is important to note that while genes may increase the likelihood of developing depression, they do not directly cause the condition. In most cases, the first episode of depression is triggered by a highly stressful event, such as financial troubles, job loss, family changes, illness, or the death of a loved one. However, it is the combination of genetics and stressful life events that ultimately leads to depression.

For those who do not carry genes linked to depression, experiencing stressful life events is less likely to increase their risk of developing depression. However, those with a genetic susceptibility to depression may experience a "spiral collapse" when faced with challenging life events.

For example, a man experiencing a relationship breakdown may initially turn to alcohol to cope with the pain and loneliness. However, this behavior can further worsen his mood and eventually lead to depression. Seeking professional help and support from loved ones can make a significant difference in managing depression, regardless of the underlying genetic and environmental factors.

  

How to deal with depression and anxiety?

If you are suffering from depression and feel that your life is meaningless and hopeless, then you are wrong, because there are other ways to improve symptoms of depression besides medication.

Depending on the different type of symptoms, depression can be divided into:

Grading of Depression

Mild depression Has some influence on daily life.
Moderate depression Has a significant impact on daily life.
Major depression Makes it almost impossible to carry out daily life, possibly with psychotic symptoms.

 

1. Enhanced social interaction and support:

Consider speaking to a psychiatrist who can provide professional and experiential advice. This can assist you in gaining a clearer understanding of your past and analyzing the causes of your depression from a rational perspective.

Social support is also beneficial for individuals with depression as it can aid in managing societal pressures and reducing the severity of the condition.

It is advisable to distance oneself from friends who exacerbate anxiety or do not contribute positively to one's mental health, as spending time with such individuals may hinder progress towards recovery.

  

2. Prioritize your health: 

Before beginning a regular exercise routine, it is important to choose an activity that aligns with your personal physical fitness level and interests.

Physical exercise has been proven to improve the body's nervous secretion, regulate sleep patterns, and enhance emotional wellbeing. Engaging in exercise over a prolonged period can effectively alleviate depression and help prevent future occurrences.

Aside from regular exercise, spending time outdoors in the sun is also beneficial. Exposure to sunlight can increase vitamin D production in the body, which can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

  

3. Modify Your Diet:

● Avoid consuming foods that can worsen depression symptoms, such as processed meats, chocolate, desserts, fried foods, processed grains, and high-fat dairy products.

● Increase the consumption of foods that can alleviate depression, such as fruits, vegetables, and fish. By incorporating more of these foods into your diet, you can provide your body with essential nutrients and vitamins, promoting overall health.

● Enhance your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid, both of which have been shown to aid in the treatment of depression when combined with other therapies. It is advisable to consume foods rich in these nutrients two to three times per week, such as tuna, sardines, walnuts, and olive oil.

 

4. Nurture Your Hobbies:

Depression can cause a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities. However, it is important to take the initiative to rediscover your hobbies and interests.

For instance, if you used to enjoy tennis or swimming, it is advisable to resume these activities on a regular basis. Engaging in enjoyable activities can be a helpful tool to alleviate depression symptoms and help you regain a sense of fulfillment.

 

5. Work on Your Mindset:

Depression often causes individuals to ruminate on negative thoughts repetitively. To combat this, start by writing down any negative thoughts you have and then brainstorm corresponding strategies to overcome them.

When negative thoughts arise, consciously interrupt them and redirect your focus towards positive thoughts. Although the effects may not be immediately apparent, persisting with this approach can yield substantial benefits, leading to a more positive outlook over time.

 

Moderate and Severe Depression

Treatment for moderate to severe depression typically involves medication and psychotherapy. Although drug treatment may not be effective for everyone and can sometimes cause side effects, it is generally more effective than a placebo and is an important component of treating depression.

Commonly used antidepressants include serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and norepinephrine and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NaSSA). Tricyclic antidepressants, tetracyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors are usually reserved as second-line drugs due to their potential for more severe side effects.

It is important to note that patients may experience an improvement in their symptoms while taking antidepressant medication. However, it is not recommended to stop taking the medication without authorization, as this can increase the risk of depression recurrence.

  

Note:

If a patient with depression exhibits certain behaviors, they may be at risk of suicide, and immediate action should be taken to prevent a tragedy. These warning signs include:

  • Making final arrangements, such as gifting property, making a will, or saying goodbye to friends
  • Talking about death or suicide, such as saying "I wish I were dead" or "It would be better to sleep and never wake up"
  • Self-harm, such as cutting oneself with a knife or burning oneself with a cigarette
  • A sudden increase in mood, which may indicate that the patient has decided to commit suicide and feels better about it.

Finally,  sIt is important to note that depression can have various physiological and pathological causes, including postpartum depression in women, hypothyroidism, craniocerebral injury, Borna virus infection, and the effects of alcohol and drugs. Therefore, while depression can be diagnosed based on symptoms, tests are often necessary to rule out depression caused by pathological factors.

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Sakib I am Sajedul Islam Sakib from Bangladesh. Currently I am a student at software engineer but also I like reading and learning new things, especially about Blogging and Education.