How can you overcome depression?


When diagnosing depression, of course, the question arises of how to get well as quickly as possible. Since depression is of psychological origin, the psyche must also be treated.

Overcoming depression therefore requires comprehensive therapy in which the focus is on the patient, not the doctor, since the treatment requires cooperation and motivation on the part of the patient.

Depending on the patient and the severity of the depression, drugs and psychotherapy are mainly used, but there are many other alternative and supportive measures available.

You can read more about therapeutic measures for depression here: Correct therapy for depression

How long does depression last?

The length of a depression is very difficult to gauge. A depressive episode usually lasts weeks to months, with treatment, the severity of the depression, and many individual patient factors having an enormous influence on the duration.

An adequate therapy shortens the illness time, especially if medication is used. Good social networks, physical health, and other positive influences can also reduce the length of a depression.

A poor social and health status, a genetic predisposition, traumatic experiences in childhood or other psychological stresses have negative effects on the duration of the illness. Comorbidities such as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder or the abuse of drugs and alcohol also worsen the prognosis.

In particularly severe cases, depression can last for months to years and become chronic. In most cases, however, the symptoms regress after a few weeks to months, although the patient remains with a certain risk of relapse.

What Can You Do To Get Over Depression Faster?

Depression is a real illness, not a disorder. The recovery process is very complex and can only be successful if the patient is given enough time.

You cannot really accelerate the process of overcoming depression without risking a relapse. Nevertheless, everything that is useful for the treatment makes sense in order to at least not delay recovery and to achieve the fastest possible therapeutic success.

First and foremost, this includes good therapy and the cooperation of the patient, which is of fundamental importance in the treatment of mental illnesses. The psychiatrist only prescribes medication and guides the patient, who then carries out the actual treatment, because he has to take the medication and actively participate in psychotherapy.

It is therefore primarily about the patient's motivation, which can be increased through a wide variety of measures. Unfortunately, depression causes a lack of drive and motivation, which makes active participation in therapy considerably more difficult. This is where many of the antidepressant drugs come in to give the patient the momentum they need.

In addition to drugs, physical and creative activities are particularly well suited to support therapy. Exercise trains the body and has a number of positive influences on the mind, which have been shown to help with depression and even prevent relapses. Painting, making music and other creative activities achieve similar effects. The offer for depressed people is now very large and varied.

Read more about this topic under: Light therapy for depression

Which medications can help?

So-called antidepressants are used from moderate to severe depression. These substances intervene more or less specifically in the metabolism of the messenger substances in the brain and therefore have different effects.

What they have in common is the increase in the concentration of serotonin, the "mood hormone", and of noradrenaline, the "driving hormone". These messenger substances have been shown to be reduced in depressed patients, which explains the low mood and lack of drive.

The oldest of these antidepressant agents are the so-called tricyclic antidepressants (named after their chemical structure), such as. the amitriptyline, which intervene in the metabolism of several signal substances and are therefore very effective, but unfortunately have many side effects. This includes sedation, which makes the patient tired and subdued, but this can be desirable in very anxious or suicidal patients.

More specific substances with a more drive-increasing effect are the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as. the citalopram, or the SSNRI (selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), such as. the venlafaxine. These drugs are the drug of choice these days.

In addition, other preparations can be used that are intended to strengthen or prolong the effect of these antidepressants. Unfortunately, almost all common substances only improve mood after 2-3 weeks, while side effects can appear immediately. This can discourage patients and so they need to be well educated.

Typical side effects of the classic tricyclics are, for example, weight gain, sexual disorders or impairment of the gastrointestinal tract and the cardiovascular system. An overdose is easily possible with these substances.

The newer SSRIs and SSNRIs are better tolerated, but can also cause sexual disorders and digestive problems, especially nausea and vomiting. The patients are therefore discontinued with the lowest effective dose and the drug is changed in the event of intolerance. A combination of several antidepressants does not make sense, as only the side effects add up.

In addition to these typical drugs, there are a variety of other substances, e.g. from homeopathy or from naturopathy. More on this under: Homeopathy for Depression.

St. John's wort, which can be bought in pharmacies, is particularly well-known. It can help with mild depression, but it is practically ineffective for severe depression and it is better not to take it due to the high risk of interactions with other drugs.

You can find more on the subject under: Medication for depression

Can you overcome depression without medication?

If the depression is only mildly pronounced, the antidepressant effect of the common drugs would be minimal, so drug treatment would not be absolutely necessary anyway. In this case, psychotherapy in the sense of behavioral therapy would come first.

The patient learns to recognize and avoid typical triggers and stress factors. He is also shown how to actively fight against a depressive episode and how to use strategies to overcome the negative spiral of thoughts.

These therapeutic approaches require cooperation, i.e. a certain amount of motivation on the part of the patient. Severely depressed people do not have this drive and would not be able to take advantage of alternative therapies without medication.

Treatment without antidepressants is therefore possible, but only if the patient is motivated enough to work on himself. In the case of severe depression, therefore, it does not make sense to avoid medication.

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What can be done to better overcome the morning low?

In the case of severe depression, the medication is coordinated in such a way that the depressant effects are more likely in the evening and the stimulating effects more likely in the morning. This should make it easier for the patient to sleep and get up, which of course is not a permanent solution.

Supportive measures to bridge the morning low should therefore take place while taking the medication. A routine in which the patient has to think as little as possible in the morning is particularly helpful.

The alarm clock should therefore ring at the same time every day, including on weekends. The morning cup of coffee is also okay for a leisurely wake up, but excessive caffeine consumption should be avoided.

The best therapy is daylight, so fresh air is highly recommended in this situation. If you have someone you can make an appointment with, getting up is usually easier.

If nothing helps, the quality of sleep should be improved. Because anyone who doesn't sleep well is understandably tired and dozed in the morning. Then the sleep disorder should be treated to combat the morning low.

How can you overcome tiredness in depression?

The psyche and the body are related and influence one another. Physical activity can therefore also wake the mind, which is why exercise and fresh air are the best remedies for fatigue.

If the drive is missing, you can meet up or visit groups in order to have a social motivational factor.

In the case of very severe depression, medication is usually required to give the initial impetus. But as with overcoming the morning low, it is important to have a restful sleep when you are tired during the day. Therapy for any sleep disorder may therefore be necessary.

Do you have sleep problems and would you like to finally have a restful sleep? Then read all about it under: Sleep Disorder - Therapy and Relaxation Techniques

How can you overcome listlessness?

Going out into the daylight and contacting other people are the best measures to increase drive, both physically and mentally. Initially you may have to force yourself to do it and make appointments, but after a while the natural motivation returns.

If this is not the case, e.g. if the depression is very severe, drive-enhancing drugs and psychotherapy are required. The patient is relieved of responsibility until he has enough drive of his own to organize his everyday life again.

If it's the case of major depression, see our next topic: Psychotherapy for depression

How can you overcome sadness?

Listlessness, fatigue, sadness and the other symptoms of depression are related. So if you have treated any sleep disorders and increased your drive, you can turn back to activities that are fun and thus combat sadness.

If a certain degree of depression persists, a reason should be found and eliminated if possible. For example, if the job is responsible, a change of occupation can be considered. If a loved one has died, there are various options for coping with grief.

You can get help and advice from your therapist or from specialized contact points, e.g. Support groups.

Healing Depression with Hypnosis - Is It Possible?

Hypnosis has proven but not fully understood effects. That is why it is offered for depression, but not recommended as the sole therapy and also not covered by health insurance.

Professional hypnosis therapists achieve an improvement in the symptoms in many cases, but in some forms of depression even report a worsening of the clinical picture. Hypnosis is therefore a more experimental form of treatment for depression.

The following topic could also be of interest to you: Homeopathy for Depression

Why is healing undulating?

Depression is a periodic illness. This means that the symptoms run in waves even without treatment, i.e. come and go in bursts. The duration of the attacks varies from patient to patient.

Antidepressant drugs shorten the duration of the attack, but have a delayed effect, i.e. only after a few weeks of continuous use. Psychotherapies also only show their effect after a few sessions and are dependent on the cooperation of the patient.

Due to the naturally periodic symptoms and the delayed or variable effect of the therapies, the recovery process in almost all patients is just as wavy as the depression itself. The person concerned should be informed about this in order not to be discouraged if he or she feels better despite treatment , sometimes feels worse.

It is therefore quite normal to suffer supposed setbacks in therapy. As long as the patient stays on the ball, the bad days will become fewer and the good days more frequent, until the depression is finally over.

That could also be of interest to you: Depression - Important Information for Relatives

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