Depression is a potentially serious health condition that at any given time affects three to five percent of American adults.
Medications can be an effective treatment for depressions, but other various treatments and lifestyles changes can also help.
It’s important to note that you should consult with your doctor before making any changes to your treatment plan. Don’t stop taking medication without talking to them first. If you want to stop talking your depression medication, talk to your doctor and they can help you create a plan for changing your treatment.
If you’d like to try some medication-free ways to treat depression, check out the list below. All of these tactics can be used in combination with medication or on their own.
Physical activity can be good for your mental health as well as for your body. Exercise releases endorphins, which create a positive feeling that some call “runner’s high.” This feeling can act as a short-term mood boost and offer a glimpse at a more energized perspective on life.
Exercising regularly over a longer period can result in better sleep, improved self-esteem, a more sustained positive mood and a reduction in depression symptoms.
Meditation isn’t just for bearded gurus on remote mountaintops. It can benefit anyone in numerous ways, including by helping with depression. Depression can improve your mood in the short term and provide you with a new perspective on life over the long term.
Meditation comes in many forms. One of the most common – mindfulness meditation – involves focusing on the present moment. Doing this regularly trains the brain to more easily let sad thoughts go and reveals a different viewpoint on depression symptoms.
People have been using art therapeutically for quite some time, but it was officially recognized in the U.S. in 1969 when the American Art Therapy Association was founded.
Art therapy is often used in combination with a more traditional form of treatment and can include art forms from painting to dance to music to theater.
Doing a creative activity can release mood-boosting chemicals in the brain, improve self-esteem and provide an imaginative way to express one’s feeling without being judgmental.
Various apps have recently come onto the scene that can help people suffering from mental health conditions. Here’s a list of them by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America members who rates a number of them.
These apps perform a variety of functions from providing educational information to tracking your mood to teaching you meditation skills. Many of them are even based on therapy strategies. You could even combine technology and art therapy by downloading this coloring book app.
Talk About It
Many mental health professionals recommend talk therapy, either on its own or in combination with medication, for treating depression. Talking to a professional therapist can help you get to the root of what’s causing your depression and provide you with strategies for dealing with symptoms.
Even talking with a trusted friend or family member can be beneficial and help you get some perspective on your feelings. There are various hotlines available that you can call to talk about depression, no matter how severe or mild it is.
If you think you may have depression, make an appointment with either your primary care practitioner or a specialist in mental health. They can help you figure out what to do next. During your appointment, feel free to ask their opinions about any of these techniques for helping with depression and its symptoms.