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Depression Self Help

Depression Self Help is possible. Research shows there are a number of things people can do for relief of depression. If you come to Bill Jacobs LPCC for help with depression, we will more than likely suggest a number of these items as a part of effective therapy.

 

If depression is not severe, acts of self care help us cope with depression more effectively.

Eliminate Use of Depressants

Alcohol and other depressants such as opiates often elevate the mood, temporarily relieving depression. However, they are called depressants because after the initial elevation, the mood becomes depressed. For this reason depressed people need to avoid depressants.

Exercise

Regular exercise has proven to elevate the mood. When depressed it is more difficult to exercise, which in turn further depresses the mood. Turning the cycle around is helpful.

 

Many people disregard exercise as a cure for mental health issues, yet research demonstrates exercise is one of the most effective forms of depression relief.

 

When beginning an exercise program, it is wise to consult with a doctor first.

Time Out of Doors

Research has shown that time outdoors is beneficial for some types of depression. Seasonal affective disorder may be caused in part by a lack of sunlight. Most people feel a lift of mood when out of doors, consequently it helps lessen depression, and so becomes an important part of depression self help.

Sleep

Depressed people often have trouble sleeping. Yet sleep deprivation contributes to depression. It's another negative cycle.

Vitamins, Herbs, and Homeopathic

Vitamins and herbs taken for health indirectly help with depression because it is often depressing to be ill.

 

There are some herbs that seem to help directly with depression as well. St. John's Wort has some solid research behind it . There are both pros and cons.

 

Since brain cells are made up of fat, taking Omega-3 supplements has been demonstrated to help with depression and other mental health issues.

Attending to Chronic Health Issues

Depression often accompanies medical conditions for two reasons:

  1. It is "depressing" to be sick, and
  2. When the body is not working properly, it is more difficult for the brain to function effectively.

Anything a depressed person can do to improve health may also reduce depression.

Helping Others

Recent brain mapping studies have proven what we knew all along: helping others lifts our mood. Anything we can do along this line, from greeting people with a smile to helping at the food bank, causes the brain to produce a bit of growth hormone and other "feel good" brain chemicals.

 

One therapist we know takes depressed clients out to gather trash from the street as part of the regimen he uses to treat depression.

Moving Toward Productivity and Fulfillment

Negative thinking or stressors tend to contribute to depression. Getting a better job, resolving relational conflicts -- making life better tends to make it easier to live free of depression.

Changing Outlook

Sometimes we cannot change life's stressors, but we can often think differently about them.

 

A woman who lost her brother, father, and husband all within six months, became depressed. Her friends suggested she accompany them to Europe to get away. While in Poland she visited Auschwitz. After her visit she said she realized that she had a good life in spite of her losses and her depression lifted.

 

Additionally, research indicates that some depressed people tend toward learned helplessness. They believe many controllable things are out of their control.

 

Working to accomplish any of the self help points listed above, can help, not only because each one of them is can be helpful by itself, but also because working toward any type of positive accomplishment counters a sense of helplessness.

 

All these self help items require effort - something that is more difficult for a depressed person. If a person is so depressed they find themselves unable to make beneficial choices, professional help may be necessary to relieve symptoms.

 

Some depression is mild. But depression can also be so severe as to bring up thoughts of suicide. When depression is severe, seeking the help of a trained professional is the best practice. Call Bill Jacobs LPCC for help with depression. (See also Depression and Suicide.)

Additional Resources

The Depression Alliance site has more on self-help for depression...

 

Continue on through this topic to Depression and Suicide.

 

Return from Depression Self Help to our Albuquerque counseling web site Home Page.