If you’re suffering from the symptoms of depression, you’re not alone. In the U.S. major depressive disorder affects over 17 million adults each year. The good news is that people who seek treatment for depression often have success in alleviating their symptoms. Both natural and prescription remedies are available to treat depression.
Here are some to consider and consult with your medical professional about.
1. Ketamine Infusion Therapy
While you may not have heard ketamine infusion therapy, it’s a valid treatment for depression — among other things. This type of therapy can relieve depression by accessing the receptors in the brain. During the infusion, people report experiencing a deep state of relaxation and an increased sense of wellbeing. Studies show a 78% response rate to depression in as little as a few hours or days. Ketamine infusion therapy can only be approved by a licensed physician, so consult with your doctor if you are interested.
2. Try Something New
When you push yourself to try something new and different, your brain reacts by changing the levels of dopamine that are present. Dopamine is a “feel-good” chemical in the brain that is associated with pleasure and also learning. If you’ve always wanted to take a cooking class or go parasailing, go for it. You’ll probably experience a lifting of your depression if only for a little while.
3. Exercise Regularly
Although the prospect of getting your body moving may seem like way more effort than it’s worth, it could make a difference to your melancholy mood. Not only will exercise kick your brain’s endorphins into gear, it also could cause your brain to rewire itself for the better. Also, you don’t have to go to extremes to get the benefit of exercise. Committing to a simple walking routine for 30 minutes a day a few times a week can work wonders.
Medications for depression are readily available from a licensed physician. However, it may take some trial and error to find the specific medication and dosage that works best for you. If you decide to go this route, it’s important to take medication safely. For example, make sure you take the medication as prescribed and don’t stop taking it without consulting with your physician first.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can be an important component to treating depression. Although it may not be enough on its own to tackle a mood disorder, it can be used in tandem with other depression treatment methods, such as medication. Psychotherapy can help ease stressful thoughts and help provide you with a different way of thinking about your problems and issues.
There are different types of psychotherapy available, such as cognitive, interpersonal, behavioral and psychodynamic. The type you choose to participate in will depend on your specific situation.
6. Set Small Goals for Yourself
When you are suffering from depression, the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning can seem like an arduous task. However, the more you avoid the necessities of daily living and functioning, the worse you will likely feel. One way to combat falling into a deep slump is to set small daily goals for yourself that you can achieve without too much effort but still end up feeling like you’ve accomplished something. For example, if you have piles and piles of unwashed laundry, make a goal to wash some towels one day, some sheets the next and some items of your clothing on the next day. Then, repeat. Always break up tasks that seem daunting and insurmountable.
7. Take Care of Yourself
Even when you don’t feel like it, push yourself to take care of your needs, including getting enough sleep, attending to your personal hygiene and eating healthy foods. Focusing on foods that are high in Omega-3s and folic acid may have a positive effect on your moods. Think foods like salmon and avocado.
8. Other Options
Sometimes, natural or otherwise traditional treatments for depression do not work. In such cases, different methods may be considered. For example, electroconvulsive shock therapy is considered a safe and appropriate treatment for depression in situations where psychosis is present or medication doesn’t work. During ECT, the patient is given a muscle relaxer and placed under general anesthesia before receiving the electrical shock currents that cause a seizure in the brain.
Don’t Hesitate — Take Action
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, don’t wait to take action. Instead, make an appointment with your doctor to evaluate your symptoms. If your depression is causing you to feel helpless or hopeless, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, which is free and available to anyone who is experiencing emotional distress.