It’s been more than six months since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the United States and yet the Coronavirus pandemic continues to be an integral part of our daily lives. Half-empty restaurants, home-schooling, and face masks have become the new norm. Many are dealing with the sickness or death of a loved one. There’s ongoing uncertainty about our jobs, health, and the economy. All of this is paired with ongoing social unrest, rioting, and being that it’s an election year — politics.
What makes the current state of affairs even more challenging to manage is the fact that many people don’t have the social support and connection with others that they once had. Communicating through social media and even video calls are helpful, but they’re no substitute for in-person interaction and physical touch. This perfect storm of circumstances and chronic exposure to severe stress is causing an unprecedented number of people to suffer from depression.
At Blair Wellness Group in Beverly Hills, we would like to help those suffering from this common mental disorder by discussing the signs and symptoms of depression as well as several possible treatment options. Depression is complicated. There’s much more to it than just feeling down. It can manifest in several different ways, and without proper treatment, symptoms can become increasingly severe. Keep reading to learn more about how you can overcome this debilitating condition.
Recognizing the Signs of Depression
Everyone feels melancholy from time to time, but clinical depression can interfere with your daily life, affect your ability to work, and have a negative impact on your relationships. In the most severe cases, depression can even lead to thoughts of suicide.
Recognizing the signs of depression is the first step toward seeking treatment. Symptoms may vary from person to person depending on their individual circumstances and brain chemistry. They can also manifest as physical problems, complicating diagnosis even more. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of depression:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Inability to concentrate
- Decreased energy
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Lack of interest in things that were once enjoyed
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stomach upset
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Persistent feelings of sadness
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
Although people suffering from depression may feel as though they have no control over what is going on in the world around them, they do have control over their symptoms and should, therefore, seek to take action. There are several things you can do to overcome this disorder without having to rely on prescription medication.
Behavior Changes Can Help
Many people have found that simple changes in their daily habits have provided tremendous benefits for relieving their depression symptoms. The following suggestions are a good place to start as they are relatively easy to implement and have been found to be the most effective.
Maintain a Routine
Depression tends to flourish in chaotic and uncertain environments. That’s why it’s important to create structure in your daily life and set goals, no matter how small, that will allow you to feel a sense of purpose. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Aim to tackle a household chore, complete something on your to-do list, or make an effort to reach out to a friend. Managing your time with meaningful activities will boost your mood and help stabilize depression.
Get Adequate Sleep
Adults need 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night to maintain good health. Unfortunately, sufficient, restful sleep is often elusive for those suffering from symptoms of depression. Some have difficulty falling asleep while others have trouble getting out of bed because they always feel tired. To feel your best and get the rest your body craves, try changing some of your habits. First, establish what time you will aim to go to sleep each night and then turn off all electronics at least an hour before. Next, try some of these other proven methods such as avoiding taking naps, engaging in regular exercise, and avoiding caffeine late in the day.
Feed Your Body
Most of us have heard the term “stress eating.” It refers to poor eating habits that often involve indulging in high-fat or high-sugar junk foods to alleviate stress. Unfortunately, this only makes problems worse as this unhealthy way of eating affects mood, causes weight gain, and influences a number of other health problems. The best thing you can do to help manage stress and depression is to eat nutritious foods that feed your body.
Keeping in touch with friends and family can be especially difficult during times when social distancing is encouraged. Although phone calls or virtual meet-ups aren’t ideal, they’re important for mental health. Extended periods of social isolation only fuels the fires of depression, so it’s crucial that you make an effort to reach out to others every single day.
Engage in Regular Exercise
Maintaining a regular exercise routine is another way to prevent many of the symptoms of depression. Most people know that exercise is good for physical health, but it’s also a key component of positive mental health. You don’t have to run a marathon, (although it would be a constructive goal) simply aiming to take a brisk walk for 30 minutes each day is enough to boost your mood and reduce stress.
Clinical Treatment for Depression
In addition to what has already been mentioned, clinical treatment and treatments for depression have also been found to be very effective. At Blair Wellness Group in Beverly Hills, we welcome our patients into a safe space where they can discuss their feelings and get the expert guidance and support they need to break free from depression and resume a more fulfilling and productive life.
If you’re ready to take a positive step toward a better future and are interested in learning more about how Blair Wellness Group can help, we invite you to contact us to schedule an appointment at our office or for a teletherapy session.