Understanding the Cycle of Depression
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When depression keeps you from living your best life, it is time to get the help you deserve. Keep reading to learn more about the cycle of depression.
Depression is a serious mental health disorder that may cause you to have recurring depressive episodes. There may be a span of time between one episode and the next, but then the cycle repeats. This is referred to as the cycle of depression.
Learn About Depression
The symptoms of depression can take a heavy toll on someone’s life. Depression causes the person to have no energy or motivation to participate in daily life. As a result, the disorder impacts their job, their relationships, marriage, and health.
Sometimes depression is a chronic condition. This means that the person has repeated episodes of the mood disorder, not just a one-off mental health event. This only adds to the adverse effects of depression, as it can cause someone to become hopeless.
To have the best treatment outcome, it is important to seek treatment as early as possible. Being aware of the symptoms of depression is one way to be able to recognize it.
When two or more symptoms are present for at least two weeks, it is diagnosed as major depressive disorder. The symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sad and hopeless.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
- Change in eating habits resulting in weight loss or gain.
- Sleep problems.
- Agitated or sluggish movements.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Irrational feelings of guilt, or shame.
- Trouble paying attention or making decisions.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
Depression is a complex mental health disorder that is still not fully understood. Science continues to look for answers as to what might trigger depression. Here are some risk factors that may contribute to the disorder:
- Genetics. Having family members who also struggle with depression.
- Brain chemistry. An imbalance in the neurotransmitters.
- Abuse. A past history of physical or sexual abuse.
- Trauma. Witnessing or experiencing a highly traumatic event.
- Loss. The sudden unexpected death of a loved one.
- Health conditions. Certain health issues like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid conditions, M.S., HIV, and stroke.
- Medications. Certain drugs list depression symptoms as a side effect.
- Personality. Undeveloped coping skills, certain personality traits; tendency toward negativity.
- Substance abuse. Depression can co-occur with substance use disorder.
The Cycle of Depression
Some may struggle with multiple episodes of depression. They may have an episode, find some relief for a period of time, and then have a depression relapse. When this pattern repeats over and over it causes the person to begin feeling hopeless. Breaking this cycle is crucial in restoring your quality of life.
Also, the cycle of depression can also refer to the actual episode itself. This means that a few of the symptoms may surface, such as insomnia, fatigue, and weight gain. This causes the person to feel tired and unable to fulfill their daily tasks. They might begin to isolate themselves and become sedentary, which only makes it worse. This leads to feelings of sadness, shame, and despair as they become unable to function. The impaired function then can lead to sadness, and so on.
5 Tips to Improve Mental Health
- Exercise. Making regular exercise part of a daily routine can do wonders for improving brain chemistry. The “Exercise Effect” refers to a landmark study that showed how physical activity enhanced mood in the study subjects. This effect is caused by the production of brain chemicals, such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine.
- Nutrition. While it’s easy to reach for fast foods and handy prepackaged meals, improving our diet is key in treating depression symptoms. Processed foods, sugary drinks and treats, and alcohol should be limited. For optimum mental health, try a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, fresh veggies, fruits, and nuts.
- Holistic activities. You can learn how to reduce feelings of distress through holistic methods. These might include yoga, tai chi, or meditation. Hatha yoga combines movements and breath control to increase energy and boost mood. Tai chi is a form of martial arts that features balance and mobility work. Meditation helps you achieve a calm mood state.
- Supplements. Natural supplements can be helpful to try when you first start feeling depressed. St. John’s wort, SAM-e, vitamin D, and B vitamins can have antidepressant effects. A naturopath can safely prescribe the products that are appropriate for depression symptoms. If after a few weeks the symptoms persist, the person may benefit from antidepressant drug therapy.
- Find meaning and purpose. Sometimes just getting involved in a cause or charity can help reduce depression. When you focus attention outside of yourself and use your time to help others, it gives a sense of purpose. Even setting some new personal goals, such as exploring a new career or making new friends, can really help.
Getting Help for Depression
Sometimes, no matter what you try on your own to help manage your depression symptoms, you cannot find relief. If this is the case, it is very important to reach out to a mental health provider who can provide treatment.
Standard treatment protocol involves both antidepressants and psychotherapy:
- Antidepressants. A doctor will select one of the drugs as a starting point for the patient to trial. These drugs take about 4-6 weeks to become effective. If the first drug doesn’t improve symptoms or causes too many side effects, another one will be trialed.
- Psychotherapy. Individual and group therapy is helpful for the treatment of depression. These talk sessions provide a safe space to explore underlying emotional issues that might play a role in depression. CBT is also helpful for learning to change distorted thought and behavior patterns that may cause negative thinking.
Do you feel like you’re caught in the cycle of depression? Reach out for help today.
The Treatment Specialist Provides Guidance for Mental Health Issues
The Treatment Specialist is an online resource for informative articles on mental health conditions and treatment options. We provide timely support for adults, teens, and families. If you or someone you care about is struggling with depression, reach out to us today at (866) 644-7911.
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