ways to fight depression

8 Ways to Fight Depression

Depression presents patients with many management challenges, including the side effects of drug treatments. Antidepressant side effects include photosensitivity, sleep disturbances, and diminished libido, and they are often invasive enough to leave patients seeking alternatives.

While you should always include your doctor’s advice in your treatment plans, many strategies are effective supplements for medical therapies.

1. Meditation

Meditation is an ancient art that involves using concentration techniques to calm down brain activity. Theoretically, it helps practitioners achieve an elevated state of tranquility, which can be a boon to people suffering from chronic mood disorders. It’s an inexpensive, risk-free alternative therapy that has been around for thousands of years.

2. Light Therapy

Light therapy involves exposing patients to bright lights of specific wavelengths in timed intervals, and it has been clinically proven to help patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that sets in during specific times of the year. The good news is that it may also help people with non-seasonal or chronic depression, with some research suggesting that it is just as effective as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

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3. Smoking Cessation

While research is still trying to uncover the specific links between quitting smoking and relieving depression, studies show a positive correlation between the two. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression and you’re a smoker, you may experience significant symptom relief by butting out. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation aids if you’re struggling to quit.

4. Exercise

While doctors recommend exercise to all people suffering from depression, it appears to have the greatest effect on milder cases. Some research has shown that getting regular moderate to high-intensity exercise can dramatically reduce symptoms. Exercise doesn't have to be limited to weight-lifting and jogging, mix it up with yoga and even dance therapy.

Like smoking cessation, this is a natural treatment that has no downside whatsoever.

5. Electro-convulsive Therapy

Some patients may be put off by this treatment, but its effectiveness has been proven. It involves the application of electrical currents to the brain, administered while the patient is under anesthesia. Electroconvulsive therapy helps regulate brain function, elevating mood and promoting your body’s natural production of serotonin and other feel-good hormones.

6. Psychotherapy

Understanding the root cause of your depressive disorder can go a long way toward helping you overcome it, and that is the goal of psychotherapy. You can undergo therapy individually, as part of a group, or both. Group sessions help patients forge personal connections with other sufferers, which is also believed to benefit them.

7. Dietary Interventions

Doctors recommend some specific dietary interventions, including boosting your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, reducing caffeine intake, and following a high-protein diet. Healthy fats have been shown to boost serotonin levels, while caffeine reduces them. Choose proteins like turkey, which stimulate tryptophan production. This naturally occurring hormone might make you feel a little sleepy, but it is also a proven mood enhancer.

8. Hormone Balancing

Altered or depleted hormone levels can exacerbate mood disorders, so it might help to get your balance. Your doctor can run tests to determine whether or not your hormones are out of flux, and if they are, you can take supplements that will stabilize them. Chances are you’ll notice a substantial improvement in mood once your hormones are back in proper balance.

Read more about depression treatments and how to help someone with depression over at NewLifeOutlook.