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Overcoming Depression: Strategies for Coping and Seeking Support

Written byDesiree Smith

Depression is often described as a silent battle. It’s a complex mental health condition that can cast a shadow over every aspect of your life. Thankfully, as daunting as it can be, depression is not the end. With appropriate strategies and support, thriving beyond depression is attainable.

If you’re suffering from depression, you might feel pretty isolated. That’s understandable. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. At iTrust, we want to empower you with knowledge and resources that remind you there is a brighter future beyond depression.

Understanding Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that affects 1 in 15 adults in any given year, with 1 in 6 people experiencing depression at some point in their life. In most cases, depression first appears during an individual’s late teens to mid-20s. Its symptoms manifest differently in everyone, with some people experiencing physical symptoms alongside mental ones. The physical symptoms of depression include muscle pains, headaches, fatigue, and decreased libido — all of which can decrease your ability to function normally at work and home.

While depression can affect anyone, women are more likely to experience it more than men. Unfortunately, this may be because men are often less likely to recognize, talk about, and seek help for their depression, putting them at a greater risk of being undiagnosed or undertreated.

There are a variety of factors, both genetic and environmental, that contribute to depression. Your brain chemistry could be altered due to an imbalance of neurotransmitters that increase the risk. If you have a first-degree relative who suffers from depression, you’re about three times more likely to develop the condition. However, those without a family history of depression can still experience it. Certain medical conditions and medications can also lead to depression, and difficult life experiences such as physical trauma or losing a loved one can also trigger it.

Depression is a complex condition that can manifest in various forms with different characteristics and challenges. It affects how a person thinks, feels, and functions. Understanding the different types is essential for effective diagnosis and treatment, as each has distinctive symptoms and varies in severity and duration.

Major depression has symptoms that include depressed mood or a loss of interest — to the point that it interferes with daily activities.

Persistent depressive
disorder involves less severe symptoms but lasts much longer, at least two years in most cases.

Perinatal depression occurs during pregnancy (prenatal depression) or after the child's birth (postpartum depression).

Seasonal affective disorder comes and goes with the seasons, with symptoms typically beginning in late fall and early winter and subsiding in spring and summer.

Depression with symptoms of psychosis is a severe form of depression during which a person experiences delusions or hallucinations.

Symptoms of depression must be present for at least two weeks and cause a change in daily function in order to receive a diagnosis. Depression often presents itself as persistent feelings of sadness.

If you have depression, you may start to be tired all the time, feel run down, have frequent headaches or stomach pain, experience sleep problems, have a change in appetite, or notice significant weight loss or gain. You may start to withdraw from close family and friends, stop going out, stop enjoying your usual activities, experience a loss in productivity, or start to rely on alcohol and sedatives. You may doubt your self-worth, leading to thoughts of suicide or self-harm. If you notice the presence of these symptoms, reach out to a health professional for help immediately.

Depression Treatment

Fortunately, depression is one of the most treatable mental health conditions, with approximately 80% to 90% of people who seek help eventually responding well to treatment. That said, many individuals who suffer from depression avoid seeking help due to stigma, cost constraints, and limited services in their vicinity. In fact, over half of adults with mental illness are left untreated.

If left untreated, depression can worsen, increase your chance of developing other health conditions, aggravate your existing health conditions, or lead to self-harm or death. The good news is that even the most severe cases can be treated, so hope is never lost.

Depression is most commonly treated using medication and Integrated Psychotherapy. Because depression looks different for everyone, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You may go through several types of medication before finding one that works for you. However, give your prescription a chance to work before deciding if it’s for you.

Some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft, and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Cymbalta, Effexor, and Pristiq.

The full benefits of medication are typically seen after two to three months. If you find an antidepressant that works and you start to experience symptom relief, don’t stop taking your medication. You should continue your prescribed antidepressant regimen for six or more months after your symptoms improve. If you stop taking them immediately, you’ll risk experiencing withdrawals.

In addition to medication, we often use Integrated Psychotherapy to help our patients regain the mental health and emotional stability they’re looking for. Integrated Psychotherapy teaches you new ways of thinking and behaving and how to change habits that contribute to depression. It can be used alone for mild cases but is recommended alongside medication for moderate to severe cases. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the approaches that has shown the most promise for treating depression, as it focuses on problem-solving and responding to challenges more positively.

While treatment for depression is highly encouraged and can be extremely effective, it is important to recognize that symptoms can resurface. If you start to experience depression again after treatment, seek medical help immediately.

Working with a mental health professional will often help you understand the root causes of your depression, and the medications they prescribe can help you experience the freedom of lasting symptom relief. If you’re ready to start feeling like yourself again, our team of mental health specialists is here to help. You’re not alone in your depression. With the right treatment and support, you can start managing your symptoms and find the healing you’ve been looking for.

Looking for help? Check out these resources.

Please consult the following resources if you or a loved one need immediate attention.

s-prevent

Suicide Prevention

If you or someone you know is at risk, reach out for help.

Call 988

emergency

Medical Emergency

Get the medical attention 
you need ASAP.

Call 911

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