October is Depression Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to discuss this critical topic. In the U.S., depression is the leading cause of disability for people between the ages of 15 and 44—and it can be challenging to treat. But many treatment options are available, including holistic therapy and lifestyle changes.
Depression is a treatable medical condition. However, it’s essential to recognize the symptoms of depression because it can help you get the treatment you need. So if you’re looking for information on identifying and treating depression, read on. We have information on everything from signs and symptoms to causes and treatment options—plus tips on how you can help others who are living with depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is a severe mental condition that causes a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest in things people usually enjoy. Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe and last for several weeks or even years if left untreated.
Depression is not the same as being sad or unhappy. A person with depression may feel irritable and restless, have trouble concentrating and remembering details, lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, eat too much or not enough, sleep too little or too much, feel guilty about things that aren’t their fault, and experience aches and pains without an apparent physical cause.
The good news is that effective treatments are available to help you manage your symptoms to get back to living your best life.
The Connection Between Depression and Substance Abuse
Depression and substance abuse are often linked.
Depression is a symptom of many underlying conditions, such as trauma and anxiety. It can also be caused by drug or alcohol use since these substances can affect brain chemistry and make you depressed. This is how drugs or alcohol make some people feel: They want to escape their problems and the world around them for a little while. But for others, depression is a side effect that comes along with other symptoms of substance abuse-related issues. Therefore, it’s essential to understand how depression works to address it better if you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse-related issues.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
- You frequently feel sad and may not know why
- You turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with current conditions or past traumas
- You have lost interest or pleasure in most or all of the things you usually enjoy
- You have signs of low mood, including loss of energy and motivation
- Your ability to cope with day-to-day things
- You may be more irritable or tearful than usual
- You question the purpose and meaning of your life
- You can’t focus on work or school tasks
- You want to disconnect from friends, family, and co-workers frequently
- The future is not an exciting thing to think about
- You have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning and dread the day ahead
- You act out in self-destructing ways as a scream for help
How to Treat Depression
There are many treatments available to help people with depression. Treatment can include holistic therapy and psychotherapy, such as rehab at Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura.
- Talk therapy (psychotherapy): This includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). These types of treatment help you understand your depression and learn ways to change the thoughts that contribute to it. They also teach you better ways to handle stressful situations so they don’t cause as much emotional pain.
- Lifestyle changes: Changing things like diet, exercise, spiritual practices, or holistic remedies may help relieve some symptoms of depression in some people. Talk to your doctor or therapist about lifestyle changes that could benefit you if you have been diagnosed with depression.
- Yoga: Yoga is a powerful way to relieve symptoms of depression. Whether you’re looking for a way to manage your depression or maybe someone you know is suffering from it, yoga can help. The practice of yoga has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress, both of which are common symptoms of depression. Yoga also helps with fatigue and insomnia—two more symptoms of depression. In addition to the physical benefits of yoga, studies have shown that it can also improve cognitive function in people with depression. This means that even if you’re not feeling well physically because of your depression, yoga can help keep your mind sharp and engaged during practice.
- Meditation: A recent study found that people who meditate regularly have lower levels of cortisol—a hormone associated with stress—than those who don’t meditate. But how exactly does it work? Well, we’re glad you asked! Meditation works by helping your brain focus on the present moment. When thinking about the past or future, your brain is focused on other things. But when you’re focused on what’s happening in the present moment, you’re less likely to think about stressful things like bills, inflation, or a disagreement with a loved one. A more relaxed state of mind helps reduce stress and anxiety—and thus may help relieve symptoms of depression.
- A change in environment: Changing your environment is not only a great way to relieve stress and anxiety, but it also allows you to take control of your state of mind. By taking the time to organize and declutter your space, you are creating a clean slate for yourself in which you can imagine anything being possible. You can use this as a chance to start fresh by removing all clutter from your living space and starting from scratch. This will allow you to think about what kind of life would make you happy rather than focusing on everything wrong with it. Add bright or calming colors to your living and workspace. Cleaning is always great therapy and can help increase the vibration level in areas where you spend the most time. People who live or work in cluttered spaces are often depressed and more stressed than those who operate in clean and organized spaces.
- Take inventory of your circle of influences: Who we spend time with, listen to, and engage with on any level, has an enormous impact on our decision-making, how we feel, our thought process, and so much more. When we surround ourselves with people who inspire us to be better and to learn and grow, we can feel motivated to make necessary changes in our lives that improve how we think, act, and feel. If you are surrounded by people who drag you down, speak negatively all the time and influence you to misbehave, you’ll ultimately feel pretty lousy. Invest most of your time and energy with people who are good for your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
When to Seek Professional Help for Depression
- If you are experiencing depression, it is essential to seek professional help. Depression is a medical condition and should be treated as such.
- Depression can be treated with lifestyle changes, holistic healing, and support groups.
There is hope for depression. Several treatment options are available if you or a loved one are struggling.
To learn more about your treatment options, talk with your doctor or mental health professional about whether you’re ready for treatment and which treatments are most likely to be effective. It’s also important to remember that no single approach works for everyone: Treatment must be tailored specifically for each person’s needs and preferences to be effective.
If you or someone close to you is struggling with depression, it is crucial to get help. There are many treatment options available that can help turn your life around.