By trafficon
3 years ago

How to beat depression

Depression is a genuine illness. It is far better to seek appropriate help than just to be miserable. There are many different types of treatment available, which can be tailored to the type and severity of the illness. Here is a guide to the main types of treatments available for depression. If you want to know more about anti-depressants or any of the latest breakthroughs in this field of medicine click on the link at the bottom of the page for our complete guide.
Can I help myself? Recognising that you are depressed and wanting to do something about it is an essential first step in fighting depression. Simply changing your lifestyle can often help. Take time to relax. Even though you may feel exhausted, take regular exercise, every day if possible. Avoid snacking on sweet foods and cut down on coffee and alcohol. Eat a well-balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and a reasonable amount of protein. Eat regular meals, and have a milky, noncaffeinated drink at bedtime - it can help you get a good night's sleep. Aromatherapy massage with essential oils of bergamot, lavender, rose, clary sage or ylang ylang can aid relaxation and lift mood. Homeopathic remedies that may help to lift mood include Ignatia, Pulsatilla, Natrum mur and Sulphur.

Is there an alternative to taking drugs? There is good evidence that St John's Wort can be a very effective remedy for mild to moderate depression. It takes about two weeks to work. Many doctors recommend it, but they cannot prescribe it, so you will have to buy it from either a chemist or a health food shop. If you are on other medication, ask the pharmacist or your doctor for advice. Unless advised by a doctor, pregnant women should not take St John's Wort. St John's Wort is a good first choice remedy for mild depression, but if it does not appear to be working after a couple of weeks see your doctor.

Will talking about depression help? Medication can help with the symptoms of depression but it does not tackle all the underlying problems. In general, the most effective types of therapy for depression are ones that focus on the 'here and now' (rather than the past) and on specific problems. Cognitive behaviour therapy aims to change the way you think. CBT teaches you to recognise negative thoughts, and change them into more positive, realistic ones.

It can be very successful in treating depression and can help to prevent it recurring. It can be used either on its own or together with antidepressants.

CBT is usually provided on a one-to-one basis by a trained psychotherapist. It is also newly available via a special computer programme. CBT is widely available on the NHS, but waiting lists tend to be long.

Could drugs help? Depression is associated with chemical changes in the brain. In particular, the brain responds less to the natural mood-enhancing chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline. Antidepressant drugs increase the activity of these chemicals.

Unlike tranquillisers, such as Valium, antidepressants are not addictive. In general, only one type of antidepressant should be taken at a time, but they can be used in conjunction with natural remedies or talking therapies. Your doctor will probably prescribe a course of drugs from one of the following three groups.

SSRIs: This group of drugs, the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, includes fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Seroxat) and sertraline (Lustral). They are very effective at treating depression, and can also help relieve anxiety and panic attacks. Side-effects can include an increase in anxiety during the first week of treatment, nausea, and, less commonly, feeling sleepy for a few hours after taking the tablet. They can also affect sexual function, making it hard to reach orgasm. However, in general, side-effects are rare, and they are safer than other tri-cyclics if an overdose is taken. Some people feel dizzy if they stop SSRIs suddenly, so cut down slowly.

Tri-Cyclics: These include amitriptyline (Tryptizol), dothiepin (Prothiaden) and lofepramine (Gamanil). They are effective, and cheap, but usually take about three weeks to work. Side-effects, such as a dry mouth, drowsiness and constipation are common. They can be dangerous if taken in overdose, and must be used carefully by people with certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy or some heart complaints. However, they can be a good choice for people who have sleep problems or who are depressed because of chronic pain.
3 years
Bilston In many cases, depression is the result of considerable and continuous stress.
3 years
3 years
trafficon Agreed
3 years