Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by: persistent sad mood, feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness, irritability, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, decreased energy, and changes in sleep or appetite. Depression is common as over 14.8 million adults in the United States have this disorder. Depression is treatable through medication, psychotherapy, and/or attending support groups. Up to 80% of people who receive treatment for depression feel some relief from their symptoms within four to six weeks of beginning treatment. The sooner someone starts treatment for depression, the more effective it is. However, nearly two out of three people who have depression do not seek or receive treatment for this disorder. If you are struggling with depression, here are some ways cope with what you’re going through.
Research shows that practicing gratitude decreases feelings of depression. There are many ways to practice gratitude on a daily basis. You may want to try making a list of all of the things you are grateful for at the end of each day. Alternatively, you can make a list of positive affirmations, or things you like about yourself. Another idea is to write a letter to someone you are grateful for by expressing how you feel.
Join a Support Group
There are many support groups available to people with depression. Both the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, offer support groups across the nation. Research shows that participation in a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance patient-to-patient support group improved treatment compliance by almost 86% and reduced in-patient hospitalization. It also found that people who participated in a support group were 86% more willing to take medication and cope with side effects. You can easily find a support group in your area by searching online.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one treatment modality that has been shown to be effective for depression. CBT works by challenging irrational thoughts that lead to feelings of depression. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is another evidence based practice for the treatment of depression. IPT combats feelings of depression by addressing lack of social interactions. To begin working with a therapist who is trained in these treatment modalities, contact The Light Program today.
Medication can be helpful in addressing chemical imbalances in the brain that contribute to depression. There are many different types of medications, so it is important to work closely with a trustworthy psychiatrist who is knowledgeable of depression. Once you are on a medication, it’s important to take it as prescribed. Research shows about 50% of unsuccessful treatment for depression is due to medical non-compliance. The Light Program also offers psychiatry for clients who are currently in therapy.
Depression is a complex disorder that requires a combination of treatments to overcome. If you are struggling with depression and want to begin seeing a therapist or psychiatrist, contact The Light Program today.