Living with depression is challenging. Experts hold theories on the source of the illness, but research offers little certainty about the origin or cause of the condition. A popular theory asserts that life experiences like trauma and grief contribute to the onset of a major depressive disorder. Depression is a complex condition which isn't defined by one aspect of pathology. The treatments for depression are just as complex as the sources of this illness. Medical intervention, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and nutritional psychiatry are all options to combat the disease.


Engaging in psychotherapy is an enriching process which is useful for many people with depression and other mental health conditions. However, choosing a mental health professional can be a tricky task. It's vital to choose a trained and licensed therapist that aids you in helping recognize and unfold the components which contribute to your depression. Therapy is about understanding the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors which exacerbate depression while working to build coping techniques and problem-solving skills.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk psychotherapy that operates from the perspective where emotions, thoughts, and actions are connected. Negative concepts about yourself and maladaptive habits can trap you in a cycle of anxiety and depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a partnership with a mental health professional who will align with you to examine your mental, emotional, and physical habits to identify how specific self-beliefs contribute to depression. Together you'll locate these negative cycles and work to dismantle them.


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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is an offshoot of cognitive behavioral therapy. DBT is primarily used to treat borderline personality disorders, but it's also beneficial for people with depression who intensely experience emotions. The primary goal of DBT is to teach the person how to deal with stress while managing emotions and improving their interpersonal relationships. Dialectical behavioral therapy incorporates mindfulness and helps the person accept who they are while allowing them to recognize and accept themselves.

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Exercise isn't a treatment for depression by itself, but the impact of regular activity does play a significant role in helping fight the condition. It can be difficult if you're depressed to find the energy to get started being active. However, for individuals with mild to moderate depression physical exercise can help lift your mood, provide you with more energy, and help dissuade depressive symptoms. The key is choosing an activity you enjoy. If you pick an exercise that connects you with other people or helps you build skills, then you're more likely to continue doing that activity. Even a slow 20-minute amble every day can help boost your outlook.

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Self-care gets a lot of hype on social media, but it isn't all massages, bubble baths, and shopping excursions. Sometimes self-care is taking a shower, cleaning up your house, or even just getting out of bed. Depression can make it difficult to perform even the most routine of tasks, like brushing your teeth. Self-care means making room for yourself as you are at that precise moment. Sleep, healthy eating, and staying active are all components of utilizing self-care to combat depression.

self-care for depression

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Depression is a complex condition which is tackled best through a holistic viewpoint. Recently, experts have put much more emphasis on what we feed ourselves as a component of mental health and emotional distress. Nutritional psychiatry is a new, blossoming field that discusses the impact that food has on our mood and outlook. It makes sense to say that if you're eating high fat, greasy, sugary convenience foods that your body will have difficulty providing you with the balance it needs to fight illnesses, like depression. A healthy diet, with the occasional treat, is the best bet for optimizing your fuel sources. Of course, food alone isn't going to negate all the symptoms of depression, but it does give your body the best chance for success.

nutrition treatments for depression

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Abstaining from Alcohol and Other Drugs

Many people with depression self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, the relief provided by these substances is temporary and in the long-run will exacerbate symptoms and create emotional, mental, physical, and interpersonal problems that add to depression. Drugs and alcohol may seem helpful in easing depressive symptoms at first, but over time these substances will become corrosive and detrimental to all aspects of health.

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There are many different types of antidepressants on the pharmaceutical market today. Antidepressants do help many depressed people manage their symptoms. However, the science of psychiatry is new. The trial and error prescription of medications leaves many depressed people frustrated and confused. There can be many side-effects to taking these medications while there's no guarantee they'll be helpful. Also, antidepressants aren't a knock-out punch for depression. It doesn't make much sense to take these substances without some form of psychotherapy.

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Creative Outlets

Many people find writing out their thoughts and feelings in a private journal to be therapeutic. If writing isn't your thing, try drawing, painting, or sculpting something. You don't need to be Michelangelo to benefit from a creative outlet, all you need is to enjoy the process. Even listening to music and singing along has both emotional and physical benefits which can alleviate the symptoms of depression. Learning to play a musical instrument can help distract you and constructively express your feelings.

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Reaching Out to Empathetic Family and Friends

Depression can isolate you from your family and friends, and even yourself. Discussing symptoms and emotional reality with a non-judgmental friend can do wonders for one's outlook. It's vital to choose a family member or friend who demonstrates empathetic behaviors and has the self-awareness to be respectful and fully engaged. Pets are also wonderful listeners who have nothing to give but unconditional love.

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