Depression Health (cont.)

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Self-Care at Home

Once you are being treated for depression, you can make lifestyle changes and choices that are forms of self-help through the rough times and may prevent depression from returning.

  • Try to identify and focus on activities that make you feel better. It is important to do things for yourself. Don't isolate yourself. Take part in activities even when you may not want to. Such activity may actually make you feel better.
  • Talk with your friends and family and consider joining a support group. Communicating and discussing your feelings is an integral part of your treatment and will help with your recovery.
  • Try to maintain a positive outlook. Having a good attitude can be beneficial.
  • Regular exercise and proper diet are essential to good health. Exercise has been found to increase the levels of the body's own natural antidepressants called endorphins.
  • Try to get enough rest and maintain a regular sleeping pattern.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or using any illicit substances.

Medical Treatment

Therapy frequently includes antidepressant medication and supportive care such as psychotherapy. Other less widely used therapies, such as electroconvulsive therapy, are used in severe cases.

Therapy may be provided by your health-care provider or by a specially trained mental-health professional.

  • Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed specialized training in mental disorders.
  • Psychologists are nonphysicians who have graduate (after college) and doctorate-level (PhD) training that includes experience in mental-health-care facilities.
  • Psychotherapists may have a degree in medicine (psychiatry), psychology, social work, nursing, mental-health counseling, or couples and family therapy, as well as additional more specialized education or training.

Regardless of which treatment is used, psychotherapy, medication, or a combination, most people with depression can safely be treated in a series of office (outpatient) visits. Inpatient care (in the hospital) may be necessary for people with more serious symptoms and is required for those who are contemplating suicide or cannot care for themselves.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/8/2014

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