Depression Prevention & Treatment

Published: February 5, 2012

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How to Prevent Against This

Even though depression is not a preventable condition, there are still measures that you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones happy, balanced, and stable. With effective preventative measures, you can take steps to address your depression before it becomes a problem.

  • Education: If you are a parent, teach your child about depression and warning signs. Children and adolescents do not always understand what they are feeling, and young people might feel ashamed to discuss their feelings openly. Do not pry for information or pressure your loved ones to discuss their feelings. Instead, make them feel comfortable by providing information and by opening yourself up as a source of support.
  • Exercise: Break the cycle of a sedentary lifestyle by exercising regularly. Even light exercise can help you clear your mind and relieve stress to create balance in your life. Many people report that they feel an improvement in their quality of life when working out. Exercise as a way to stop depression before it starts.
  • Get your Annual Physical Exam: When you get your physical, your doctor will ask you a series of questions to determine whether you at risk for depression. These questions can also help a doctor see whether you have depression already.
  • Establish a Social Network: Find a group of friends or a community to share common interests. Keep yourself balanced, and make an effort to participate in activities that keep you motivated to enjoy life. Try volunteering or joining a club.
  • Get Enough Sleep: Healthy sleep habits can prevent you from becoming depressed. Make sure that you get a full night's rest every night. Talk to a doctor if you have trouble falling asleep or if you wake up throughout the night.

Diet Tips

Maintain a balanced diet, and avoid alcohol and drug use. Foods that are high in fat, sugars, and salt are bad for your overall health. By getting the right nutrition, you can improve symptoms such as fatigue and irritability. Improvements to your diet can help determine whether you are experiencing any other conditions that are causing your depression.

Treatment & Relief Methods

Most treatment methods require a combination of medications and counseling. Some patients thrive with counseling and no medication, while other patients need both medication and counseling to improve. It is common for people who take antidepressants to also take lithium or a thyroid supplement to improve the medication's effectiveness. People who experience delusions may need to take antipsychotic medications. If no other treatments work, a patient might undergo electroconvulsive therapy, which uses an electrical current to cause seizures.

Treatment for depression is continuously evolving and improving through research. If you have been on medication for depression, you should check with your doctor to see if additional treatments are available.

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