Depression can be very tricky to treat because when someone is depressed doing anything can become overwhelming. Often people do not understand that they are depressed especially during times that are happy or joyful. Sometimes people blame their depression on a physical problem and begin by seeking out medical help rather than psychological help. It is important to accurately identify the issue so it can be treated appropriately. The good news is that past functioning predicts future functioning meaning if someone was happy and well balanced before the depression, they will be able to get there again. That being said, psychological or mental health intervention will allow people to return to their previous emotional state more quickly. Intervention can be done alone, with loved ones or with professionals depending on the symptoms and severity.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is normal to experience depression, to varying degrees, during normal life transitions. It is crucial that if you or a loved one is depressed, do not isolate. Isolation breads depression. Unfortunately the last thing someone wants to do when he or she is depressed is to socialize but it is also the very thing that helps the most. Humans are gregarious animals and as a result, we need human interactions.
Antidepressants are generally not needed for mild or situational depressions but for longer term or more severe depression, they can be very helpful. Short-term therapy is often a good choice of treatment because it helps people understand their emotional reaction is normal and will also help provide coping skills relevant to the individual and the situation.
There are some strategies that people can use without a professional to help cope with depression. Predicting triggers for depression and developing some strategies to fend off depression before hand is often very helpful. That means identifying what may trigger challenging feelings and developing a plan to cope with them. Asking for help and pulling in a support system before a transition is very helpful. It is hard to ask for help but it is important to remember that most people feel very good when a friend asks for help and they are able to provide it. Exercise has been very helpful for most people who struggle with depression. Lastly, planning, making lists and keeping busy help emotions from going to the discomfort of depression. If the depressions persists or worsens, professional help should always be sought.
If you would like to learn more, call me at 925.323.0515. Thank you.