Health & Wellness Articles

Recognizing the Signs of Depression

When It's More than Just The Blues

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By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert         
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How Is Depression Treated?
From medication to therapy to regular exercise, there are several treatment options for depression. Medications that affect specific neurotransmitters (such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of depressive episodes—or completely eliminate them. It can take four to six weeks for these medications to produce results, and sometimes it is necessary to experiment with dosage and/or medication type to get the desired results with minimal side-effects. Only your doctor can prescribe medication, if necessary, and work with you to find the proper dosage to meet your needs.

Cognitive and behavioral therapy can also help you learn to recognize the cognitive distortions mentioned above and effectively manage them. Typically, a short course of therapy with a trained doctor or therapist is all that's necessary to produce positive results.

In addition to medical help like medication and counseling, there are also many things you can do to help manage depression. Regular exercise has been shown to be just as effective as many forms of counseling in combating depression. Effective stress management and good nutrition practices can help you keep things on a more even keel, and avoid the emotional slide that often ends in a depressive episode.

If you do find yourself struggling with depression, know that things are not nearly as hopeless as they may seem to you. If you can reach out and ask for help, you can find yourself back on the road to recovery and wellness very soon.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • JOSSYLEYVA
    Don’t think of anything else just contact priest eka and purchase some of his herbal medication and your depression will go away. This was my state of mind when my doctor told me that i will not be able to concieve due to the Fibroid that was rolling in my family life and when i decide to reach out to the priest, and the priest told me what to do in other to get the medication. Eventually I receive all the Herbal medications that cure my Fibroid and give me the chance to become a proud mother: Eka is a great spiritualist, He did it for me, you can contact Eka on (dreka14demons@gm
    ail.com). If you are suffering from the following gynecology disease::
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    - 5/4/2016 2:14:23 AM
  • I have dealt with depression for years. I wasn't diagnosed until 2012 when I went for talk therapy which did help me to focus on my problem and not just keep pushing it down inside. My diagnosis was major depression with signs of PTSD and an underlying mood disorder. I'm doing much better now, but I still tend to work off others feelings---anger, sadness, anxiety and end up a total mess. I think the stigma of having a "mental disorder" keeps so many from seeking the help they need. I'm not ashamed of it anymore. It doesn't define me. I'm just wired a bit different. - 4/29/2016 8:42:10 AM
  • 1969VIKING
    Very good article. I have a small/or large portion of all 9 Signs. One area that I need to find more information is Sadness.

    - 12/7/2015 7:30:33 PM
  • I think that there is another symptom that isn't mentioned - anger w/o cause. I see a lot of men that are depressed, but their symptom is frustration that leads to angry reactions to things. They're not *sad*. - 12/4/2015 10:40:06 AM
  • I'm a psych nurse (retired) and I have well-controlled depression. This was an excellent article. The only area where I differ is in that of therapy. Not everyone can expect to see results in a few weeks or months. I also am a firm believer that medications can't do the whole job, and that the cognitive aspects of depression ( the negative thinking, self-condemnation
    , etc.) can continue if not addressed in therapy. It's similar to the "stinking thinking" talked about in alcohol recovery. I'm also a firm believer in seeing a mental health professional (MD, Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist) vs. a general practitioner. I saw too many instances of family practice prescribing one medication with a year's worth of refills, with no patient follow up. As the article says, there can be a lot of trial and error in finding the right prescription. Some patients I spoke with in my practice tried one antidepressant, felt it didn't work, then assumed none would work and quit trying.
    Mental health practitioners will require timely and regular follow-up to make sure the medication is working for you.

    Well done, SparkPeople! - 6/7/2015 5:16:31 PM
  • DANDYLINES
    I have 'danced with the dragon of depression for years. Right now the dragon is in his laid and resting and not bothering me. My secret is exercise with a group of positive people and getting light on my face. Unfortunately the special lights do not do it, but sun does. A short walk in the morning or even late afternoon really helps. I also park a way from an entrance to a shop of Y and walk in. just 5 minutes, but I get that light.
    I also find positive people and keep away from those who are not. - 6/7/2015 10:48:49 AM
  • Utilize SparkPeople to assist you in your recovery from depression. Use your blog for therapeutic journaling. Join teams for depression to connect with others who understand what you are going thru and to learn positive ideas and support. Use your tracking arena designated for Other Goals to keep a list of those things you have been putting off. Sparkpeople is a wonderful forum to provide a structure for what you need to overcome depression. I know...I have PTSD but i wont let it stop me from achieving my goals! Add me as a friend. I know what youre going thru. Best wishes to you! - 10/18/2013 3:54:34 PM
  • Great article. - 9/1/2013 5:12:06 PM
  • AZURE-SKY
    About 3 years ago, I was feeling mildly depressed, I had lost interest in just about everything, and felt sad and sluggish most of the time. I was due for my annual physical, so had the full blood workup. Turned out that I was hypothyroid. Once my thyroid medication was at the correct dosage (took about 2 months), my feelings of depression disappeared. I also had more energy.

    Now - I'm not saying that all depression is caused by low thyroid hormones. But, it's a good idea to rule out any possible physical causes for your depression symptoms. I was borderline hypothyroid, and the depression was the only symptom I had at the time. I had always struggled with losing weight, so lack of weight loss wasn't a new symptom.

    Often doctors look at the thyroid tests and if the numbers are in the "normal" range, don't consider that the patient could still be hypothyroid. If depression is one of the patient's symtoms, they treat the depression - which doesn't improve because the underlying cause is not addressed. - 8/25/2013 5:16:13 PM
  • Good article. Please note that bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression. People with bipolar II may have hypomanic states (less than full manic highs) but they are depressed most of the time and usually only seek help when depressed. People typically go for years or decades before being properly diagnosed. The Problem: anti-depressant meds alone can trigger hypomania that can be very destructive. That's when people lose their jobs, friends, families and worse. All because their therapists thought they only had depression. - 8/24/2013 2:52:52 PM
  • LEANRME
    Great article... - 8/24/2013 12:48:22 PM
  • Your articles on a variety of subjects are so important, but truly, I don't think any are as important as this one. Thanks. - 8/24/2013 9:38:59 AM
  • Thank you for this valuable information. My family seems to have a very strong genetic tendency to have depression. Sad to see what happens when people have severe cases at young ages. I somehow escaped, but it is hard to watch my family members. - 8/24/2013 6:06:15 AM
  • Awesome article....thnx - 8/24/2013 2:44:10 AM
  • I suffer from depression and I find that things like EFT (emotional freedom technique), Huna, and other thought provoking techniques work better than a therapist who may never find the right questions to get you to ask yourself.
    I also suffer from chronic pain that is a side effect of the depression. As I peel away the layers of guilt and hurt, as I re-program myself to live life the way I think it should be as opposed to what others think I should be, the pain diminishes and my spirits are lifted. It isn't an overnight thing and if it took 50 years of bad choices to get in this condition and acknowledge that it was a condition, it may take awhile to reverse it but the belief that it can be done carries a lot of weight. - 5/10/2013 12:12:12 PM

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