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Oct.28.2020View related content
 Managing Depression, Adult

Managing Depression, Adult

Depression is a mental health condition that affects your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Being diagnosed with depression can bring you relief if you did not know why you have felt or behaved a certain way. It could also leave you feeling overwhelmed with uncertainty about your future. Preparing yourself to manage your symptoms can help you feel more positive about your future.

How to manage lifestyle changes

Managing stress

Stress is your body's reaction to life changes and events, both good and bad. Stress can add to your feelings of depression. Learning to manage your stress can help lessen your feelings of depression.
Try some of the following approaches to reducing your stress (stress reduction techniques):
  • Listen to music that you enjoy and that inspires you.
  • Try using a meditation app or take a meditation class.
  • Develop a practice that helps you connect with your spiritual self. Walk in nature, pray, or go to a place of worship.
  • Do some deep breathing. To do this, inhale slowly through your nose. Pause at the top of your inhale for a few seconds and then exhale slowly, letting your muscles relax.
  • Practice yoga to help relax and work your muscles.
Choose a stress reduction technique that suits your lifestyle and personality. These techniques take time and practice to develop. Set aside 5–15 minutes a day to do them. Therapists can offer training in these techniques. Other things you can do to manage stress include:
  • Keeping a stress diary.
  • Knowing your limits and saying no when you think something is too much.
  • Paying attention to how you react to certain situations. You may not be able to control everything, but you can change your reaction.
  • Adding humor to your life by watching funny films or TV shows.
  • Making time for activities that you enjoy and that relax you.

Medicines

Medicines, such as antidepressants, are often a part of treatment for depression.
  • Talk with your pharmacist or health care provider about all the medicines, supplements, and herbal products that you take, their possible side effects, and what medicines and other products are safe to take together.
  • Make sure to report any side effects you may have to your health care provider.

Relationships

Your health care provider may suggest family therapy, couples therapy, or individual therapy as part of your treatment.

How to recognize changes

Everyone responds differently to treatment for depression. As you recover from depression, you may start to:
  • Have more interest in doing activities.
  • Feel less hopeless.
  • Have more energy.
  • Overeat less often, or have a better appetite.
  • Have better mental focus.
It is important to recognize if your depression is not getting better or is getting worse. The symptoms you had in the beginning may return, such as:
  • Tiredness (fatigue) or low energy.
  • Eating too much or too little.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Feeling restless, agitated, or hopeless.
  • Trouble focusing or making decisions.
  • Unexplained physical complaints.
  • Feeling irritable, angry, or aggressive.
If you or your family members notice these symptoms coming back, let your health care provider know right away.

Follow these instructions at home:

Activity

  • Try to get some form of exercise each day, such as walking, biking, swimming, or lifting weights.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques.
  • Engage your mind by taking a class or doing some volunteer work.

Lifestyle

  • Get the right amount and quality of sleep.
  • Cut down on using caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and other potentially harmful substances.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein. Do not eat a lot of foods that are high in solid fats, added sugars, or salt (sodium).

General instructions

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Where to find support

Talking to others

Friends and family members can be sources of support and guidance. Talk to trusted friends or family members about your condition. Explain your symptoms to them, and let them know that you are working with a health care provider to treat your depression. Tell friends and family members how they also can be helpful.

Finances

  • Find appropriate mental health providers that fit with your financial situation.
  • Talk with your health care provider about options to get reduced prices on your medicines.

Where to find more information

You can find support in your area from:

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You stop taking your antidepressant medicines, and you have any of these symptoms:
    • Nausea.
    • Headache.
    • Light-headedness.
    • Chills and body aches.
    • Not being able to sleep (insomnia).
  • You or your friends and family think your depression is getting worse.

Get help right away if:

  • You have thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
If you ever feel like you may hurt yourself or others, or have thoughts about taking your own life, get help right away. Go to your nearest emergency department or:
  • Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.).
  • Call a suicide crisis helpline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. This is open 24 hours a day in the U.S.
  • Text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 (in the U.S.).

Summary

  • If you are diagnosed with depression, preparing yourself to manage your symptoms is a good way to feel positive about your future.
  • Work with your health care provider on a management plan that includes stress reduction techniques, medicines (if applicable), therapy, and healthy lifestyle habits.
  • Keep talking with your health care provider about how your treatment is working.
  • If you have thoughts about taking your own life, call a suicide crisis helpline or text a crisis text line.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.