We can all feel sad or depressed at times and it is a normal reaction to loss, past woundings or life’s challenges and struggles.
When intense sadness and low mood, including feeling helpless, hopeless and/or worthless, lasts longer than two weeks, and if it is affecting your daily life, it could be that you are experiencing depression.
What is depression?
Depression is a serious condition and unfortunately a common one. According to the World Health Organization, depression roughly affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men at some point during their lifetime.
It is an illness that impacts the brain. It is more than feeling down, it’s a serious illness and it causes changes in your brain chemistry.
What are the causes of depression?
Many factors may contribute to the onset of depression, including genetic characteristics, health challenges such as changes in hormone levels, medical illnesses, excessive stress, long term relationship problems, family issues, money worries, a traumatic event, loss of a loved one, past repressed pain and substance abuse.
Any of these factors alone or in combination can bring about the specific changes in brain chemistry that lead to the many symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder and related conditions.
If you can tick at least 3 or more symptoms from each of the 4 areas above, you should immediately seek support from a counsellor.
Depression is a treatable condition. However, when you are depressed it can feel as though it’s impossible to recover from it.
The truth is that even the most severe depression is treatable.
There are many effective treatments that can help you overcome depression and reclaim your life.
Patience is key because it’s important to understand that treatment may take some time and it requires your commitment.
- Counselling is a very effective treatment for depression. What you learn in therapy gives you skills, insight and tools to help overcome the depression.
- Therapy can also help you find the root cause of your depression and help you understand why you feel a certain way, what could be the triggers of your depression and what you can do to recover and remain healthy.
- in touch with close family and friends.
- Lifestyle Changes:
- Eating a healthy a well balanced diet will help keep your energy levels up and minimize mood swings.
- Regular exercise can be as effective at treating depression as medication.
- You might have to force yourself to exercise, but even a short walk will boost serotonin, endorphins and other feel-good brain chemicals, and trigger the growth of new brain cells and connections. A minimum of 30 minutes activity on most days will be tremendous help.
- Sleep has a strong effect on mood. Lack of sleep aggravates depression symptoms, like irritability, moodiness, sadness and fatigue. Ensure that you get enough sleep each night.
- Social support is important; it reduces withdrawal and is a key factor for getting past depression. Support from your family and friends is vital.
- Medical Treatments:
- Medication may be necessary and may help relieve some of the symptoms of depression in the short term, but does not address the underlying problem and is not recommended as a long-term solution.
- There is hope and treatment for depression you don’t have to live in sadness.
- As hard as it may be in the beginning, reach out and seek help.
- It’s time to reclaim your life!
- Are you struggling with some life challenges such as relationship problems, health issues, excessive stress or money worries?
- Click below if you are ready to heal and transform your life.
Complied by Nonkululeko Ngema (Registered Counsellor)