Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Coping with mild to moderate Depression

There are a number of things you can do for yourself which can help you cope with mild episodes of depression, or reduce your risk of becoming seriously depressed.

Social Support
Having someone to turn to for support is very important when coping with difficulties. Some people build up a strong network of friends and relatives whom they can talk to, but others may become isolated, particularly if they have no employment or other activity outside the home. People who are already depressed usually find it very difficult to be sociable, and this can make them feel worse. So having someone to support you in a crisis or when things are difficult can reduce your risk of becoming depressed.

Activity & Exercise
If you are physically active or take regular exercise you may benefit from changes in your brain chemicals which affect mood, and from the feeling that you are actively doing something to improve your life. Exercise and activity can also bring important social contact if you are isolated. Outdoor activity seems to be particularly important in staving off depression for older men.

A healthy diet is important in reducing the risk of depression.
In particular, drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs will make you feel worse in the long-term. Some recent research has suggested that people who are depressed may benefit from eating more oily fish, such as sardines, or from taking fish oil supplements, alongside their prescribed medication. However further research into this is needed.

Taking Control
One aspect of depression is the feeling that, whatever you do, you cannot improve your situation. An important step is to find situations or activities where you can feel that you have some control over your life instead of feeling hopeless. Setting yourself small manageable goals can give you a sense of achievement and make you feel better. Older people in particular may feel that they are no longer valued as employees or needed as parents. Helping other people – for example through voluntary work – is one good way of feeling useful and valued.

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