There’s no doubt that depression is a problem in our country: one in ten U.S. adults deals with this illness. As one of the most common types of mental illness, depression can cause you to lose interest in previous hobbies, become less productive at your job, or fail to engage with friends and family. It has also been associated with other ailments such as substance abuse, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder. Knowing the facts about how to manage depression can greatly lessen your load.
Mental Health Testing and Lifestyle Changes
One of the first things to do if you suspect you may be depressed is to get tested by a mental health professional. While there isn’t one hard and fast test for this illness, a doctor can do blood tests, a physical check that looks at hormones and the nervous system, and an assessment of conditions such as thyroid disease. Additionally, your doctor will ask you about your typical routine, moods, and lifestyle, and may recommend making some changes. There are a few changes you can make on your own to help deal with depression:
- Have a schedule, so that you’re not at a loss for something to do
- Do something active every day
- Make an effort to connect with friends and family
- Consider adjusting your diet or talking to a nutritionist
- Keep track of your moods and symptoms
By adjusting these simple lifestyle elements, you can move toward recovery.
Seeing a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist is often recommended for those with depression, and especially people suffering from severe cases of the illness. An initial mental health screening from your doctor can help in determining the type of counseling or therapy services you might need. Therapy can take a range of forms: your counselor might suggest psychotherapy, refer you to a psychiatrist for antidepressants, or move toward more controversial therapies such as electroshock. Therapy will, in some form, include discussing the causes and effects of your depression so as to make you more aware of what triggers your mood swings, how you deal with those changes, and what strategies you can use to overcome moments of despair.
Talking to Your Depression Counselor about Medication
If you suffer from severe depression, or find that therapy and lifestyle changes are not bringing you any relief, you may want to talk to your counselor about getting an antidepressant. There is a wide array of medications available, and through a personal assessment, your doctor can prescribe one that is best suited to your situation. However, antidepressants are not a “cure-all”, and should not be seen as such. Especially for those suffering from associated issues, such as bipolar disorder, it may take some time to find the right medication. However, finding the right treatment is worth the effort: if you feel that you’ve been more than just occasionally sad or “down in the dumps,” look in the McKinney area for a good depression counseling center.