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Medication tends to be the first thing depressed people reach for, but drugs may not be the most effective ways of treating depression in some cases. Though they can provide you with a temporary relief, they are not guaranteed to cure the underlying problem since anti-depressants are meant to accelerate the production of serotonin in the brain. But there are many other causes of depression including inflammation, disturbance of stress hormones in the body, nutritional deficiencies, and immune system malfunctioning. So, if these are the factors contributing towards your depression, medicine won't be able to relieve it. Furthermore, anti-depressants have many side-effects, the most common being addiction to these drugs.
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Psychotherapy is one of the best methods that can be employed to help you pull out of a major depression. It is also effective for nearly all types of depression and anxiety disorders. The treatment involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), where a therapist monitors the various mood swings and behavior of a patient, and then works on them by talking to the patient. CBT involves one-on-one sessions with a therapist once or twice a week.
The idea behind IPT is to examine the relationship between the interactions between people and the development of an individual's psychiatric symptoms. It involves one-on-one discussions with a therapist to find out ways to improve those relationships for improving mood.
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Grab a Self-Help Book
Self-help books are meant to help you cope with situations that you can't cope with. These books let you analyze your inner-self to discover what is going wrong, and where things are not working. Reading a great self-help book can raise your spirits and help you out with your life and can be of benefit when you can't or don't want to access a psychotherapist.
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Relax, relax, relax
If you really want to know how to pull yourself out of a major depression, remember this important step: relax yourself as much as possible. Relaxation is just as important in treating depression as those anti-depressants you’re taking. Take a nap, listen to soothing music, visit a spa or just go for a massage. Look around for things that can be relaxing, grab a hot cup of a relaxing tea like St. John’s wort, valerian or chamomile. These teas contain L-theanine, an amino acid which helps with the release of the serotonin, a chemical compound responsible for your relaxed state of mind.
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Eat Healthy, Relaxing Foods
Here is a list of foods that help you relax:
- Amino acids in protein-rich foods help with the production of serotonin which can relax the body
- Omega-3, chromium, selenium are three minerals and compounds that are believed to help to build new brain cells and keep your nervous system in good condition. So, try to include seafood (rich in omega-3) especially salmon, tuna, mackerel in your diet. Shrimps are also a powerhouse of selenium and chromium.
- For snacking, go for nuts and seeds that are full of zinc –a crucial mineral that helps regulate nervous system functions.
- Include Vitamin B-complex in your diet since this important group of vitamins is quite effective in treating depressive and anxiety disorders.
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Regular workout and exercise can help to pull you out of a major depression. When you indulge in any sort of physical activity, your body releases mood-enhancing neuro-transmitters in the brain that raise the level of endorphins. So, aim for a practical exercise routine, and follow it religiously. Take a walk to some nearby locality, walk your dog, or join an aerobic exercise class. You can also go for swimming, dancing, or biking for an energy level boost.
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Cultivate Healthy, Supportive Relationships
Sometimes being closer to someone makes a huge difference in your life. If your depression is related to some relationship problem, seek new supportive friends and relationships around you. It becomes quite difficult to reach out for help while being in depression, but isolation worsens it even further. Try to get support from someone you can trust on. Participate in social activities as much as you can. If you’ve no one to talk to, visit your local community centers or clubs to find people to pass time with. You can also visit someone in your neighborhood, at the local flower shop or just at a coffee bar that arranges weekly get-together programs.
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Indulge Yourself in a Hobby
Life can be boring without hobbies which are not only fun pastimes, but they also nourish your mind and soul. So how do you pull yourself out of a major depression with hobbies?
Hobbies make you focus on something that is not your anxiety; they occupy your mind and are terrific relaxants. Do you love knitting? Are you artistic enough to paint/sketch nature? Are you into gardening or always had plans to set up your own herbal garden? Pursuits like these can busy your mind with enjoyable activities that give you something to look forward to.
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Avoid Bad Habits and Adopt Healthy Ones
Bad habits are linked to depression and may even be responsible for it. Bad habits such as inadequate sleep hours, picky eating, and being isolated are your enemies. The first thing you can do to help yourself is to take eight hours of sleep every night. Notice that it’s night sleep, not a day nap! Fix your sleep timings to ensure that you don’t feel down due to lack of sleep, or irregular sleep spells. Your bio-clock gets disturbed each time you change your sleep pattern.
Another change you can make is to avoid the dark as much as possible. During the day, force yourself out of your house and enjoy the beautiful sunlight outside. Whilst inside, try to keep your home well illuminated.
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Studies have shown that meditation helps to reduce depression and lift mood in many cases. Yoga is an effective form of meditation and if you are unable to focus yourself effectively, reach for help and guidance –join yoga classes.