Consider Seeing A Psychiatrist First
There’s a tendency for some new patients to visit a counselor or psychologist for their initial mental health evaluation rather than a psychiatrist. This can be beneficial for many people, especially if your case is not severe, but for others, it’s often not enough.
Only psychiatrists are also medical doctors, which means that they are able to prescribe medications.
If your depression stems from a chemical imbalance, talk therapy will not be sufficient to treat you. It’s best to make your initial visit to a psychiatrist, who can both prescribe medications and offer you psychotherapy if it’s needed. This two-pronged approach of medication and talk therapy is often the most beneficial to patients.
Psychotherapy is a broad term for a variety of different verbal and psychological techniques that are employed to help an individual work through their mental health condition or source of underlying stress. These techniques include but are not limited to psychoanalytic therapy or psychodynamic psychotherapy, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy . Oftentimes, other mental health professionals in the field such as counselors and social workers will draw from psychotherapeutic techniques and use them with their clients.
Tips For Preventing & Minimizing Depression With Autism
When an autistic child is feeling stressed or anxious, this often comes out in temper tantrums or outward signs of aggression or self-harm. The same can be true for depression, but depressive symptoms may be less obvious.
Autistic children often prefer to be left alone and would rather play by themselves than with others. This does not necessarily mean that they are depressed. However, socialization and healthy relationships are important to a childâs mental health. Itâs important to foster connections between autistic children and others, to prevent potential onset of depression.
Therapies for both autism and depression can teach healthy ways to express oneself and better techniques for socializing, communicating, and sustaining relationships. At home, parents and other family members can reinforce what is learned in therapy sessions and provide opportunities to practice new skills in a safe space.
There are additional measures you can take as a parent to minimize the chances of depression in children with autism.
Treatment Options For Comorbid Autism & Depression
Behavioral therapies are considered the optimal way to manage comorbid autism and depression. These therapies are beneficial in treating both depression and autism separately, and they can also be effectively used when these disorders overlap to treat both at the same time.
Each person is different, and there are varying levels of severity in both autism and depression. A full evaluation is needed so medical and mental health professionals can determine the best treatment approach.
Treatment plans may include:
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Lifestyle Changes To Treat Depression
Exercise.Regular exercise can be as effective at treating depression as medication. Not only does exercise boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals, it triggers the growth of new brain cells and connections, just like antidepressants do. Best of all, you dont have to train for a marathon in order to reap the benefits. Even a half-hour daily walk can make a big difference. For maximum results, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity on most days.
Social support. Strong social networks reduce isolation, a key risk factor for depression. Keep in regular contact with friends and family, or consider joining a class or group. Volunteering is a wonderful way to get social support and help others while also helping yourself.
Nutrition. Eating well is important for both your physical and mental health. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings. While you may be drawn to sugary foods for the quick boost they provide, complex carbohydrates are a better choice. Theyll get you going without the all-too-soon sugar crash.
Sleep. Sleep has a strong effect on mood. When you dont get enough sleep, your depression symptoms will be worse. Sleep deprivation exacerbates irritability, moodiness, sadness, and fatigue. Make sure youre getting enough sleep each night. Very few people do well on less than seven hours a night. Aim for somewhere between seven to nine hours each night.
Practice These Coping Skills Every Day
I recommend doing many if not all of the following coping skills and techniques once a day when experiencing depression. Its important to know you probably wont be motivated to do any of them at first because depression frequently saps motivation. In other words, know that its normal to feel unmotivated until youre halfway done.
The patients I work with who frequently practice these coping skills get better.The seven techniques can be memorized with the acronym MY PEERS.
1.;Meaning: Find small ways to be of service to others.;
Find personal meaning by serving something larger than yourself. Remember service doesnt have to be big to count. Consider this, Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue as the unintended side effect of ones personal dedication to a course greater than oneself. Viktor E. Frankl,;Mans Search for Meaning
2. Your goals: Find workable goals that give you a sense of accomplishment.
Most people feel guilty when talking about goals because they set unreasonable or unworkable goals. A goal is workable if its:
If something goes wrong with your goal, adopt a what can I learn from this? attitude . Also, be careful when comparing your progress with others. We usually compare our biggest weakness with another persons biggest strength. This is unfair .
3.;Pleasant Events: Schedule pleasant activities or events.
4. Engagement: Stay in the present.
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Preventing Depression From Coming Back
You may be able to prevent a relapse or keep your symptoms from getting worse if you:
- Take your medicine as prescribed. Depression often returns if you stop taking your medicine or don’t take it as your doctor advises.
- Continue to take your medicine after your symptoms improve. Taking your medicine for at least 6 months after you feel better can help keep you from getting depressed again. If this isn’t the first time you have been depressed, your doctor may want you to take medicine even longer. You may benefit from long-term treatment with antidepressants.
- Continue cognitive-behavioural therapy after your symptoms improve. Research shows that people who were treated with this type of therapy had less chance of relapse than those who were treated only with antidepressants.footnote 2
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol.
How Is Depression Diagnosed
If you are concerned about your mental health, or the mental health of someone you care about, its important you speak with a health professional, such as a GP. A mental health assessment usually involves a discussion or answering a questionnaire, as well as a physical examination. This will help your doctor differentiate between mental and physical health problems.
Your doctor will want to understand how you feel and think, and check for any symptoms of depression, such as in your energy levels, appetite, sleep and whether you are feeling restless, hopeless or sad. If you have a family history of mental illness either depression or some other condition tell your GP since this can help with your diagnosis. Your answers will help your GP determine whether a specialist such as a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist might be helpful.
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What To Eat To Treat Depression
The best way to start treating depressive symptoms is to add:
to your diet. It will actually decrease depression, because a well-nourished body is better at handling stress, recovering from illnesses and difficult life events.World-leading expert on diet and mental health, Professor Felice N Jacka at the Department of Psychiatry at Deakin University, has studied the effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet on depression. The antidepressant diet includes whole grains, fish, vegetables, fruit, berries, nuts, seeds and, of course, the unrivaled cold pressed olive oil.Professor Jacka and her colleagues conducted the SMILES trial in 2017. It showed that 30% of depressed participants recovered from depression just by changing their eating habits. It means that you can too.;If you want to know exactly what and how much to eat and what to avoid to reduce depressive symptoms, check out the free therapy app from Flow Neuroscience: . Its a complete treatment programme for depression, including facts, exercises and helpful tools for how to treat depression with the antidepressant diet.Or, read more about how your diet can help you recover from depression in this article: An easily digested guide to diet and depression.Now, lets move on to our next medication-free depression treatment.
What Are The Possible Causes Of Depression
Every person with depression is different, and everyone with depression has a unique set of circumstances. Usually, a combination of factors will contribute. While you often can’t pinpoint the cause of the depression, understanding the circumstances can sometimes help you understand how to best manage it.
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Taking Care Of Yourself
Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
What Can You Do If You Experience Depression
It may sometimes feel as though, out of nowhere, that you are hit with depression, and this is true for many people who have a biologically based depression. However, I would argue that whenever there is something like depression or anxietywhich are defense mechanismsthere is something in your life that is not 100% congruent with who you are and where your life is at or going.
This essentially means that its time to take a step back and reassess a few things in life. It doesnt mean that you will be able to wright the ship entirely. However, you might be able to make some small changes that will help you feel more in control of your life and the direction that you are going in.
1. Consider Therapy
Therapy will help you take stock and think about what is happening in your life and where you might be able to make some changes. Needless to say, you will also have the support you need to embark on making those changes. It could also be a chance to identify what it is in your life that is causing the depression. A therapist can also help you connect to other supports that might help you as you work through this period in your life.
2. Group Support Network
3. Self Assessment
4. Take Some Time Off
5. Are You Bored?
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Group Therapy For Depression
Group therapy takes place with a group of other patients who are struggling with similar issues to you, or who have also been diagnosed with depression. During these sessions, you will be encouraged to share your experiences with others and offer mutual support and guidance. This all takes place within a compassionate and non-judgemental setting.
Group therapy may seem to be a little daunting at first. However, research shows that its an effective therapy technique and can help to treat depression.
Know That Today Isnt Indicative Of Tomorrow
Todays mood, emotions, or thoughts dont belong to tomorrow.
If you were unsuccessful at getting out of bed or accomplishing your goals today, remember that you havent lost tomorrows opportunity to try again.
Give yourself the grace to accept that while some days will be difficult, some days will also be great. Try to look forward to tomorrows fresh start.
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How Is Depression Syndrome Diagnosed
Everyone may feel sad or down from time to time. However, clinical depression has more intense symptoms that last two weeks or longer.
To determine whether you have clinical depression, your healthcare provider will ask questions. You may complete a questionnaire and provide a family history. Your healthcare provider may also perform an exam or order lab tests to see if you have another medical condition.
What Causes Depression In Men
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of risk factors including:
- Genetic factorsmen with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop it than those whose family members do not have the illness.
- Environmental Stressfinancial problems, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, major life changes, work problems, or any stressful situation may trigger depression in some men.
- Illnessdepression can occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or Parkinsons disease. Depression can make these conditions worse and vice versa. Sometimes, medications taken for these illnesses may cause side effects that trigger or worsen depression.
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How Is Depression Syndrome Treated
Depression can be serious, but its also treatable. Treatment for depression includes:
- Self-help: Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and spending time with people you care about can improve depression symptoms.
- Counseling: Counseling or psychotherapy is talking with a mental health professional. Your counselor helps you address your problems and develop coping skills. Sometimes brief therapy is all you need. Other people continue therapy longer.
- Alternative medicine: People with mild depression or ongoing symptoms can improve their well-being with complementary therapy. Therapy may include massage, acupuncture, hypnosis and biofeedback.
- Medication: Prescription medicine called antidepressants can help change brain chemistry that causes depression. Antidepressants can take a few weeks to have an effect. Some antidepressants have side effects, which often improve with time. If they dont, talk to your provider. A different medications may work better for you.
- Brain stimulation therapy: Brain stimulation therapy can help people who have severe depression or depression with psychosis. Types of brain stimulation therapy include electroconvulsive therapy , transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation .
Why When And How To Seek Treatment For Depression
If not properly treated, chronic depression can cause a significant number of problems in all areas of your life. Depression can last for weeks, months, or in some cases even years. This leaves an individual in a state on constant sadness, fatigue, and just overall run down. In addition to the underlying symptoms, depression can increase the risk for a number of other problems to develop. Before you know it, not only are you trying to cope with the sadness but you are facing financial problems, social problems, and physical problems as well.
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Treatment For Severe And Complex Depression
If your depression is severe and complex, your doctor should refer you to specialist mental health services. They can discuss with you the following options:
- Trying talking therapies and medication again. Your healthcare team may suggest a different medication, or a combination of drugs with other treatments.
- Medication for psychotic symptoms. If you are experiencing depression with psychotic symptoms, your healthcare team may prescribe antipsychotic medication alongside your current treatment plan. See our pages on psychosis and antipsychotics;for more information.
- Crisis resolution services. A crisis resolution and home treatment team is a team of mental health professionals who can support you at your home during a mental health crisis, rather than going into hospital. See our page on crisis services;for more information.
- Hospital admission. If you are severely depressed and at risk of suicide, self-harm or self-neglect, you may need to be cared for in hospital as an in-patient. A hospital can provide a safe and supportive environment if you are in a state of distress. See our page on hospital admission;for more information.
“A majority of the treatments I tried were ineffective but at crisis point, about to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital, I started Interpersonal Psychotherapy and Sertraline. I can honestly say that they saved my life.”
Types Of Depressive Disorder
There are several types of depression, and while they are all characterised by intense low mood, there are also important differences.
Major depression is also known as major depressive disorder. The most recognised symptom is low mood and loss of interest in activities that were once considered pleasurable. These symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe, but will probably interfere with daily life and relationships. The low mood will persist for at least 2 weeks, and will be experienced on most days. Sub-types of major depression include:
- melancholic depression, a severe form of depression that includes physical as well as emotional symptoms
- psychotic depression, which includes hallucinations ; delusions ; or paranoia .
Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood changes that disrupt daily life. Symptoms of manic episodes include showing extremely high energy in speech and activity, agitation and a reduced need for sleep.
Symptoms of depressive episodes are similar to those of major depression. People who have bipolar disorder can also experience episodes of psychosis .
Cyclothymic disorder is sometimes described as a milder form of bipolar disorder. The person experiences changing moods for at least 2 years. They have periods of hypomania and episodes of depressive symptoms. They may also have very short periods of even moods, with fewer than 2 months in between. Symptoms tend to be less severe and are shorter lasting than in bipolar disorder or major depression.
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