7% of adults age 18 and older suffer from major depression
In the United States, nearly 7% of adults age 18 and older suffer from major depression, making it one of the most common mental disorders in the country. While depression can appear at any age, it typically appears with puberty and peaks in your 20’s. Living with depression can be draining and make even the simplest tasks seem impossible. However, while overcoming depression isn’t fast and easy, it is far from impossible. There is no cure-all to dealing with depression, but rather taking small steps to build off of. Coping with depression takes time and effort, but you can get there.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental disorder that is made evident by excessive sadness, loss of interest in daily tasks or enjoyable hobbies, and loss of motivation and energy. Depending on the life event, feeling sadness and despair is completely natural. These events like loss, major life changes, stress, and others tend to resolve themselves as you come to terms with the changes. While these feelings may persist for a few weeks or on anniversaries of the event, they aren’t always excessive or long-lasting.
Depression does not operate like these moments in life. If there are moments during these times where you can still enjoy life and its simple pleasure, this sadness is not an indicator of depression. Here are a few symptoms of depression:
- Psychological Symptoms:
- Loss of interest in activities that used to bring you joy
- Feelings of misery and worthlessness
- Recurrence of unpleasant thoughts
- Poor concentration
- Thoughts of suicide
- Physical Symptoms:
- Weight loss or gain
- Loss of sex drive
- Loss of appetite
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Loss of energy
The true cause of depression is still relatively unknown. It is evident that genetic factors play a large factor in those who do suffer from depression. It appears to run in families with roughly 30% of the cause of depression can be linked back to genetic influences.
Coping with Depression
Every person who suffers from depression responds to various techniques differently. No two person’s struggles are the same, but there are a handful of strategies that have been found to be the most successful at helping those dealing with their depression. It is important to remember that it is best to start off small and to build on each action to see success.
- Creating a Support System: It is a natural feeling when depressed to isolate yourself and want to be alone, but to truly deal with your condition, you need to reach out to others and stay connected. Reaching out for support is not a sign of weakness. It provides you with opportunities to express your feelings and take part in social activities, both crucial to managing your mood and depression.
- Partake in Enjoyable Activities: While you may not have the energy or will to force yourself into doing enjoyable activities, you can push yourself to start to get back into them little by little. Even if you barely get back into a hobby or activity, you may start to see your mood and energy levels increasing.
- Improve Your Health: This can mean a number of things. First, you need to make sure you get the recommended hours of sleep that provides you with the proper rest your mind and body needs. Depression typically involves either not sleeping enough or sleeping too much.
Your nutrition is also crucial to your mental health. Avoid skipping meals. Minimize the amount of sugar and refined carbs in your diet. Replace them with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, tuna, and other cold-water fish, and include more vitamin B in your diet.
- Get Active: Depression can make it extremely hard for you to even find the will to pull yourself out of bed every morning, let alone working out. But exercise is an extremely helpful tool against fighting depression. Research has shown that regularly exercising can be just as effective as antidepressant medications. Start at a minimum of at least 30 minutes a day and build up. Your fatigue will improve, and it presents you with a chance to clear your mind of negative thoughts.
- Seek Professional Help: Sometimes even after taking all the provided steps, you still have not seen any improvements to your mood or your behavior. At this point, it may be best to seek out depression counseling at your nearest counseling center. Seeking professional help is not a sign that you are weak, but that you understand what your needs are. Your counselor can then decide whether or not medication will be needed.
At LifeWorks Counseling Center, we understand how difficult and frustrating living with depression can be. We understand how much of an impact it can have on your personal and professional lives. There are plenty of different ways to fight back against depression with each individual dealing with their condition in their own way. If you have been struggling with depression or suicidal thought of your own, seek out a therapist at the Dallas counseling center at LifeWorks.