What Causes Depression And How To Cure It? The Best Guidance for Depression Here-2021

Depression is a common disorder, even in young people. It can be treated well. So ask for help and don’t let it linger too long.

You feel gloomy and you don’t feel like doing anything. Not even in things you would otherwise enjoy. You can be angry and irritated easily. 

Or your mood may be constantly changing: one moment you are happy, the next you are suddenly sad or angry. If you have this almost all day long for two weeks, you might be depressed.

It is not something to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about.

Depression is a very common disorder. In his or her lifetime, about 20% of people, or one in five, will suffer from depression.

People are increasingly willing to share their stories.

Table of Contents

[1] What is your situation?

Video credit: Kaiser Permanente Thrive

We will discuss different cases with respect to Depression.

(a) Have depression:

In short

  • With depression, you are depressed for more than 2 weeks, and/or you don’t feel like doing anything.
  • You may also feel tired, restless, guilty, and worthless.
      • structure your day: get up in time, go out every day, eat healthily, go to bed on time.
      • be active: exercise/exercise every day, keep working
      • be in contact with other people
      • The General Practitioner and the practice nurse can help with this
  • If the depression is severe or does not go away, consultations with a psychologist (psychotherapy) are possible, and possibly medication..

Special forms of depression are:

  • Winter depression: you become depressed in the autumn or winter and the complaints disappear again in the spring. This happens at least 2 years in a row.
  • Postpartum depression(postnatal depression): depression after childbirth.
  • Dysthymia: A mild depression that lasts more than 2 years.
    Depression in bipolar disorder. You then have depressive and manic periods.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The 2 main symptoms of depression are:

  • You are gloomy most of the day.
  • You don’t feel like or enjoy anything anymore.

Other complaints can be added:

  • You feel guilty, redundant, or worthless.
  • You feel restless and easily irritated. Or just slow and sluggish.
  • You are indecisive and/or cannot concentrate well.
  • The food doesn’t taste anymore. Or you just want to eat extra food. As a result, you have gained or lost several kilos.
  • You are tired. You sleep poorly or a lot.
  • You find life hard. You may sometimes long for death or think of suicide.

You have depression if you:

  • Has at least 1 of the 2 main symptoms
  • A total of at least 5 of the aforementioned phenomena
  • Has symptoms for more than 2 weeks in a row.

Depression disrupts your daily life. You suffer from it a lot: at home, in your free time, and/or at work.

How does depression develop?

Depression is usually caused by a combination of several things:

  • Heredity: Sometimes depression runs in the family more often.
  • Some people are naturally more vulnerable than others.
  • A disturbed balance of neurotransmitters in the brain: these are substances that influence mood, among other things.
  • A difficult childhood.
  • Feeling/getting little support from other people.
  • A major event that causes a lot of grief. For example, a divorce or the death of someone who was important to you.
  • Experiencing violence (assault, rape, war violence).
  • A chronic illness, such as diabetes mellitus, COPD, or rheumatism.
  • Alcohol use.

Depression has nothing to do with unwillingness or a weak disposition.

 (b) I am depressed. (Information for young people):

In brief

With depression you are depressed for more than 2 weeks and/or you don’t feel like doing anything.

  • If you recognize this, see your doctor. He will refer you if necessary.
  • Depression is treatable.
  • Getting help quickly is important. The depression then lasts for a shorter time.
  • Behavioral therapy teaches you to think differently about your complaints. As a result, they become less.
  • Medicines are usually not suitable for young people with depression.
  • In severe depression, a psychiatrist can prescribe medication to support the therapy.

What symptoms do you have when you are depressed?

You don’t feel like doing anything when you’re depressed. Not even in things you used to like. You also feel gloomy almost all day long.

You also have some of the following complaints:

  • get angry quickly
  • your mood changes quickly (suddenly angry, sad, happy)
  • very much or very little appetite for food
  • to be very tired, listless
  • feeling worthless, an empty feeling
  • not being able to sleep well or sleeping a lot
  • you have trouble concentrating
  • headache, stomachache
  • feel like you don’t want to live anymore

Due to this combination of complaints, you can no longer do your normal things, in your education or work and in your free time.

How do you get depression?

Depression has nothing to do with unwillingness or a weak disposition.

Usually, there is not 1 cause, but a few different things that cause you to get depression, for example:

  • A lot of stress in your first years of life. Or stress at primary school, for example, because you are being bullied. This is not good for your self-confidence and it can make you prone to depression.
  • Certain conditions that cause stress. ADHD or, for example, a learning disability can cause a lot of fights. Or everyone thinks you can do more when you try your best.
  • The problem at home, for example, problems between your parents.
  • Experiencing violence, such as assault, violence between your parents, or an unpleasant sexual experience.
  • You are more likely to suffer from depression if depression runs in your family.
  • Sad things, for example, your parents’ divorce or the death of someone important to you.
  • Many changes in your life at once.
  • Your character can play a role, for example, if you are someone who often blames themselves.

What can you do to feel better with depression?

It is important that the people around you know how you feel. They can help you get better. You don’t have to do it all yourself and you don’t feel so alone. So:

  • Try telling your parents, brother, sister, a friend, or your mentor at school what’s wrong with you.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor if you prefer to talk to someone you don’t know first.

More tips:

 

  • Exercise or exercise makes you feel better. For example, go for a run or go to the gym.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, don’t use XTC, don’t smoke, and don’t take any other drugs. This is important for your recovery. Alcohol and drugs can make your symptoms worse.
  • Try not to feel guilty, depression is very common.
  • Do not expect too much of yourself, for example, that you need to get well soon.
  • Try to keep regular in your life. Go to bed at set (normal) times, get up on time, and eat at set times. Go outside every day. Outdoor air and exercise make you feel better.
  • Don’t stay homesick. Is it difficult to go to school or your education? Then talk about it with your mentor and your therapist. If you work as an employee, the company doctor can help you.
  • Think of things you thought were okay to do. Make a list of it. Pick one such activity every day and do it.
  • Try to stop worrying. This can be done, for example, with relaxation exercises.
  • Try to keep in touch or get in touch with others. This can also be done via the internet. You may find that easier. For example, look at Grip on your dip,

Treatment of depression in young people:

Depression is treated in steps:

  1. You will receive advice to deal with depression. For example, planning what you are going to do per day, going outside every day, and moving.
  2. The practice nurse can guide you through conversations. This is a short psychological treatment. You learn to deal better with problems in daily life.

If that doesn’t help enough or if the depression is severe:

  1. Conversations with a psychologist(psychotherapy).
  2. Medications (Antidepressants).

You decide together with your doctor what is best for you. It helps to prepare well for this conversation with your doctor.

Your parents:

Usually, the therapist also wants to ask your parents questions. Depending on your age, they should ask your permission for this.

If you don’t want your parents to be asked to, you can say so. Sometimes the Practitioner will ask you if it is okay for him/her to contact your school.

If it’s okay with you, sometimes your parents are involved in the treatment. For example with parental therapy: your parents then learn how they can best help you.

Medications for depression in young people:

If you have mild to moderate depression, medications are not appropriate. It is not clear whether drugs against depression (antidepressants) work.

And also not what the side effects in young people are.

Only from the antidepressant fluoxetine is clear that it can help and be safe in young people with severe depression. 

But that only applies if you have severe depression or if the depression doesn’t go away with therapy alone. 

Then a psychiatrist can see whether you can receive medication for depression (antidepressants) to support the psychological treatment.

Will depression in young people go away?

Depression usually goes away. Sometimes after a few weeks, sometimes it takes longer, for example, half a year.

If you’ve had depression once, it doesn’t mean you’ll have it for the rest of your life. But sometimes depression comes back later in life.

At the end of the treatment, you, therefore, examine with your therapist how you can quickly recognize the next depression.

And what you can do then. This is called relapse prevention.

Do you notice that the complaints come back? Make an appointment with your doctor. Don’t wait for the symptoms to get worse. 

Seeking help quickly is very important! The depression then lasts less long. The chance that the depression will come back later is also smaller.

A small proportion of young people who have had depression experience manic episodes.

In a manic period, you are much more active and much more confident than you are used to from yourself.

If you recognize this, go back to your doctor. You may be manic-depressive (bipolar). You then need a different treatment than for depression.

When to contact me if you have depression:

You are always welcome at your General Practitioner. It really helps to talk to someone when you’re feeling bad.

In any case, contact your doctor:

  • if you continue to feel sad, gloomy, anxious, or desperate.
  • if you want to talk about coping with alcohol or drugs.
  • if there are problems at home, for example, if your parents drink a lot of alcohol or have a lot of arguments.
  • if you often think about death.

(c) I have winter depression:

 

In brief

  • Winter depression often starts in the autumn and disappears by itself in the spring.
  • If this happens 2 years in a row, it can be a winter depression.
  • Treatment with light from a special lamp can help (light therapy).
  • Being in the light of this lamp once a day often helps after 1 week.
  • Your General Practitioner can refer you to a psychologist for light therapy.
  • If light therapy works well for you, you can do it at home afterward.

What is winter depression?

Many people are sometimes gloomy or tired in the winter. This is sometimes called a winter dip. That is not the same as winter depression.

With a winter depression, you have

  • suffer from 5 or more symptoms of depression almost daily for at least 2 weeks ;
  • the complaints start in the autumn or in the winter and go away on their own in the spring
  • the complaints recur for at least 2 years in a row in the autumn or winter
  • the complaints can often be treated well with light therapy

Winter depression is common, more common in women than in men.

How does winter depression develop?

Winter depression probably has to do with changes in the amount of light.

It gets dark early in the fall. The sun rises later and gives less light.
The body adapts to this by producing the hormone melatonin. This affects your day/night rhythm (‘biological clock’), your sleep, and your mood.

During winter depression, your body seems to adapt less well to light. This affects your day/night rhythm, your sleep, and your mood. 

You become depressed and you sleep poorly or a lot.

Treatment of winter depression with light therapy:

 

Winter depression can usually be treated well with light. This is called light therapy.
Furthermore, the same advice applies as with ‘normal’ depression.

With light therapy, you receive light from a special lamp for several days to weeks. 

The light of this lamp is brighter than an ordinary lamp but less bright than outside on a sunny day. And without UV light.

You sit in the light of this lamp. You keep your eyes open, but you don’t look directly into the light. During the treatment, you can read, watch TV, or work on the computer.

Treatment starts with 10 to 15 minutes (usually in the morning) once a day for 5 to 10 days. If all goes well, the treatment can also last longer. Most people notice improvement within a week.

Your General Practitioner can refer you to a psychologist to receive light therapy.

The psychologist will agree with you when and for how long you will sit in the light of the lamp.
He or she will also check whether you are sensitive to the side effects.

Do your complaints affect your work? Then discuss this with your employer. Also, contact the Company Doctor.

The company doctor will discuss with you how you can continue to work as well as possible. Sometimes adjustments are needed in your work.

Do you have to stop working temporarily? Then you discuss together how you can get back to work as soon as possible.

Side Effects of Light Therapy:

In the first days, you may suffer from headache, fatigue, dry or watery eyes and/or redness of the face. These side effects are rare and usually, go away on their own after a few days.

Sometimes light therapy is less or not suitable. Therefore, discuss it with your doctor before starting light therapy. For instance

  • if you are taking antibiotics (some medicines make you extra sensitive to light)
  • if you have an eye disease
  • if you have depressive and manic episodes (light can trigger a manic episode)

How to proceed with light therapy for winter depression?

If light therapy works well for you, you can also do it at home afterward. There are portable light therapy lamps. You can rent or buy these in the pharmacy, home care store, or medical specialty store.

Light therapy at the beginning of winter can help prevent winter depression. If it works well for you, you can repeat it every year.

(4) I have depression after giving birth:

In brief

  • Postpartum depression is common.
  • Talk about your feelings and concerns with those around you.
  • Also, see your doctor.
  • Postpartum depression is treatable.
  • Conversations with the practice nurse or a psychologist often help.
  • Sometimes medicines are needed.

What is postpartum depression?

Depression can develop in the weeks to months after delivery. This is called postpartum depression. 

You feel gloomy. You may not be happy with the baby either. Or you are afraid of not being able to take good care of the baby.

This is different from the first crying days after delivery (the ‘baby blues’). They are gone after about 10 days.

Postpartum depression is just like regular depression something that lasts longer and requires help.

You are not the only one with these complaints: 1 in 10 women will suffer from depression after giving birth.

What do I notice in depression after childbirth:

If you are depressed after childbirth, you have 1 or more of these symptoms:

  • you are often gloomy and sad
  • you feel empty
  • you don’t make sense
  • you worry that you can’t take care of your baby
  • you cannot enjoy your baby, or have very negative feelings about your baby je
  • you have no maternal feelings
  • you feel guilty
  • you are very tired
  • you cry a lot
  • you are easily irritated or angry
  • you are easily distracted, have difficulty concentrating, are confused and forgetful
  • you have little or a lot of appetites
  • you can’t sleep or just want to sleep
  • you have low self-confidence, you feel worthless or a bad mother
  • you feel anxious or desperate
  • you have a headache, are nauseous or dizzy
  • you sometimes think about suicide
  • you sometimes think about it or are afraid that you will harm your baby

When is the risk of depression after childbirth slightly higher?

The risk of depression after childbirth is slightly higher:

  • if you have ever had depression
  • if you have ever had depression after childbirth
  • if you had depressive symptoms during your pregnancy

The chance is also slightly higher with:

  • dissatisfaction with your relationship
  • little support from people around you
  • stressful events during your pregnancy, such as the death of a loved one

Advice for postpartum depression:

  • Don’t feel guilty about what you feel and think. It is caused by depression and will pass after-treatment of the depression.
  • Talk to people around you about your feelings and concerns.
  • Ask if they would like to help with the care of your child. Let your partner take care of the baby as well.
  • Feel free to come and talk to your doctor. Make an appointment, do not wait until the complaints get worse.
  • Make time and rest for yourself.

Treatment of depression after childbirth:

Postpartum depression is usually treatable. Just like with normal depression, this can be done with:

  • conversations with the practice nurse,
  • treatment with a psychologist
  • medicines or
  • conversations and medications.

Conversations with the GGZ practice nurse or psychologist usually help. Many women start to feel better. They develop a better bond with their child and their partner.

Medications can help with severe depression after childbirth. Medicines for depression are called antidepressants.

If you are breastfeeding, you can continue to do so. Breastfeeding together with an SSRI (medicine against depression) will not cause any problems for your baby. 

This is according to research. Whether there are long-term consequences for the baby is not well known.

What about postpartum depression?

It is important that you visit your doctor regularly. Together with your baby. Then you discuss how things are going. Perhaps you need more conversations, such as with the psychologist. 

Or medication for depression if you didn’t already have one. And if it goes well, you make a plan for how to proceed with this.

When to call in case of depression after childbirth?

Call the doctor immediately in one of these situations:

  • The depressive symptoms are getting worse.
  • You also get confused, start hearing voices in your head, smell certain smells or have certain thoughts all the time.
  • You cannot take good care of your child.
  • You are afraid that you will harm your child or yourself.

(d) I’m thinking about suicide:

In brief

  • Thoughts of suicide can be triggered by major life events.
  • Try to talk about it.
  • Seek help through your General Practitioner.
  • Call 911 in immediate danger.
  • You can also call the emergency service
  • Contact with an experienced expert can also give hope.
  • It is often possible to solve problems with help.
  • It is important not to use alcohol or drugs right now.

Why do you think about suicide?

People who think about suicide often have a lot of stress. They are gloomy (depressed), anxious, desperate, or confused and are looking for a solution.

Thinking about suicide may mean that you really want to stop living, but it doesn’t have to be.
It can also mean that you mainly want to get away from the difficult situation you are in.
Or maybe you just want others to listen to you seriously and help you.

Major events
Severe stress is often caused by major life events. For instance:

  • the loss of a loved one
  • loss of work
  • have to live with a mental or physical condition
  • alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • poverty/money worries
  • being alone, loneliness.

Sensitivity
Not everyone in such a situation has thoughts of suicide. Some people are more sensitive to this. This may have to do with a predisposition in the brain, character traits, or upbringing.

It may also be because you have experienced (attempted) suicide in your immediate environment.

Despair
If the stress is too intense and lasts too long, you can become desperate. You feel great sadness, intense fear, hatred, anger, depression, and/or panic. 

These emotions then dominate all your thoughts.

It is then no longer possible to organize your thoughts and look for solutions.

You may feel guilty because you think you are a burden to those around you (family, friends, neighbors, colleagues).

The tension can make you so confused that you hear voices in your head saying that suicide is the best solution.

All this can become so intense that the only way out seems to be death.

Advice when you are thinking about suicide

Talk to someone
If you are desperate and thinking about suicide, it is important to talk to someone about it. 

That can help, even if you feel really bad. You may not be able to imagine that now.
Still, it’s important to try.

 A conversation can help break the cycle of negative thoughts.

You can talk to:

  • Someone close to you that you trust: your partner, a relative or friend. Or someone at school, work, the sports club, at the church or mosque.
  • Your General Practitioner is used to discussing these kinds of difficult topics. And they know what kinds of help there are.

No alcohol and drugs:
Do not consume alcohol or drugs (or as little as possible). Just when you’re distraught and can’t see a way out, that’s not good for you. 

Alcohol and drugs seem to relax you, but they make your panic or hopelessness worse. Alcohol and drugs can make you intoxicated. 

You may then lose control and no longer properly judge whether you are making the right decision.

Reduce stress
Walking around with thoughts of suicide is very stressful.

Methods to reduce stress can help redirect negative thoughts, such as

  • to seek distraction,
  • exercise (walking, running, sports),
  • relaxation exercises.

It can also help to write down your feelings. When things are on paper, you can look at them with a little more distance.

What help is there when you think about suicide? 

First Aid

The first step on the way to help is an appointment with your General Practitioner.

They first try to ensure that you are safe. He/she also involves your loved ones.
Your General  Practitioner can refer you to a psychologist, for example.

You will receive an explanation of how thoughts of suicide can arise and which treatments are available.

You also talk about how you can process having such thoughts and ways to deal with them. This is called psychoeducation: learning about your own psyche.

Psychotherapy.
In psychotherapy, you have conversations with a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist.

You discuss the (possible) cause of your thoughts of suicide and what can be done about it.

You can talk about the questions that are bothering you, for example: How can I live with my pain? What makes my life worth living? Or: who would miss me?

You can put the Back-Up App on your phone. This can help you to prevent a crisis and to get through a crisis.

Contact with experiential.
Experts Via a forum you can exchange experiences with others who have gone through the same thing.

They know from their own experience how to get through periods of crisis and powerlessness.
Contact with an experienced expert can therefore help and give you hope that you can start to feel better again.

Medicines
Sometimes medicines can help, for example, if you have a (manic) depression or personality disorder, or if you are sensitive to psychoses.

Admission
If your situation is not safe, admission to a (psychiatric) hospital can be a solution. This will of course be done in consultation with you, if possible.

In some situations, it may be necessary for your loved ones and care providers to make that decision for you.

For example, if you are so confused that you can no longer make decisions yourself. Or if you are a danger to yourself. Then a forced admission is necessary.

When should I contact you directly?

  • Do you feel very gloomy, anxious, desperate, or confused?
  • Do you long for death?
  • Do you want to end your life?

Then immediately seek help from:

  • The General Practitioner: he can help directly or refer you to a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

[2] Therapy:

Now let us discuss therapy with respect to different cases.

(1) I choose a treatment for depression.

  • Structure in your day and being active helps with depression:
    • get up on time, go to bed on time
    • out every day
    • meet up with people
    • exercise/sports
    • do things you enjoy
    • to keep working
  • Your General Practitioner or practice nurse can guide you through conversations.
  • If the depression does not go away, a psychologist can help you or you can opt for medication.

Treatment of depression:

Depression is treated in steps:

  1. You will receive advice to deal with depression. For example, planning what you are going to do per day, going outside every day and moving.
  2. The GGZ practice nurse can guide you through conversations. This is a short psychological treatment. You learn to deal better with problems in daily life.

If that doesn’t help enough or if the depression is severe:

  1. Conversations with a psychologist (psychotherapy).
  2. Medications (Antidepressants).

You decide together with your doctor what is best for you. It helps to prepare well for this conversation with your doctor.

Advice for depression

To recover from depression, 2 things are very important:

  • give structure to your day
  • be or remain active actief

You probably look very much against all activities. That’s part of the depression. But it often works with small steps. The information and advice below can help you with that.

Contact with others

  • Make sure you have daily contact with a trusted person (a relative, friend, neighbor, or colleague). Also agree to call someone regularly or to visit someone. It often helps to talk about it with family or friends.
  • Explain to people what is wrong with you. Most people understand the situation. You can also have them read this text. Some people won’t understand. That’s just how it is; try to accept that.
  • Depression may make you think negatively about yourself. Disappointment, sadness, and anger can reinforce the negative feeling. Discuss your feelings. It takes time to process such emotions. Give yourself that time.

Achievable goals
Do not set yourself too high expectations, for example, that you must quickly get better or be able to do your work normally.

Start with a daily task, such as getting dressed, shopping, cooking, or washing dinner.

Structure and regularity
Try to keep structure and regularity in your life.

  • Get up on time.
  • Also, eat at set times.
  • Go outside every day. Outdoor air and exercise make you feel better.
  • Plan what you will do per day (activity list).
  • Go to bed on time. Regularity is important for your sleep and your mood.

Pleasant activities

  • Think of activities that you like (or found) to do.
  • Choose one pleasant activity every day and do it. For example, reading the newspaper or watching a movie or TV program. Choose one program. Don’t sit in front of the TV all day.

Exercise and sports

Exercise for at least half an hour every day, for example walking, cycling, swimming or gardening. Exercise vigorously (run or exercise) for half an hour 3 times a week.

This already helps to make you feel less depressed and fitter. It also ensures a better night’s sleep.

There is running therapy especially for people with psychological complaints: running to become psychologically fitter. 

Working

Continuing to work is often better than (temporarily) stopping working. Talk to your employer about it.

And contact your doctor. Your y doctor will discuss with you how you can continue to work as well as possible.

Sometimes adjustments are needed in your work. For example, you start working half days, or you only do the tasks that you can easily handle.

Do you have to stop working temporarily? Then you discuss together how you can get back to work as soon as possible.

You recover faster and better when you can continue to work as well as possible.
If you are unemployed, you may want to try volunteering.

Healthy food, no alcohol, no drugs
Alcohol and drugs can cause and worsen depression.

Solving problems

Often there are also concerns about practical problems, such as money, work, family, or housing.

Don’t try to solve it all alone. It helps to come up with solutions together, for example with your partner, your General Practitioner, your employer or someone from the neighborhood team.

Family
Depression can make it more difficult to care for children. You can handle less and maybe more easily irritated or angry.

Or you withdraw and prefer to stay in bed. If you have children, it is good to talk to your doctor about how your family is doing and to look for solutions to problems.

Information and courses.

It helps to know exactly what depression is. Read about it, watch videos on the internet. There are also courses: online on the internet or in a group. 

Contact with fellow sufferers.

It can be very helpful to talk to people who also have or have had depression themselves. You can get in touch with others through, for example, the Depression Association.

Making an activity list for depression.

When you are depressed, it can be quite a task to suddenly have to do ‘fun things again. It can help to make an activity list. 

Try to answer the following questions for yourself:

  • What things did I used to do that I don’t do anymore?
  • What did I like to do before?
  • Why don’t I do those things anymore? What thoughts, things or people get in the way?
  • What can I do to allow those activities to continue?
  • Who can help me with that?

Think about it calmly. Once you’ve made the list of activities, you’re already well on your way.

Then choose which activity you want to start with. Agree for yourself a fixed time for the chosen activity(s).

Take the list with you to your General Practitioner/practice nurse/psychologist. Discuss how things are going together.

If it doesn’t work right away, look at the cause together. Sometimes it works better if you choose a different activity to start with. Maybe that will work.

Psychotherapy for depression:

Are the conversations with the practice nurse not helping enough? Or do you have severe depression? Then psychotherapy is a good treatment.

You go to a psychologist or psychotherapist for this.

You learn several things with psychotherapy:

  • You talk about your complaints and how they arose.
  • You will discover how you can influence your mood. Depression often makes people very passive, they sit and wait until they feel like doing something again. 
  • But it actually works better to do something. Choose an activity that you think is doable. And write down whether or not you feel a little better afterward. This way you find out how you can improve your mood.
  • You practice and learn to tackle and solve problems.
  • You practice and learn ways to relax.
  • You learn to change negative thoughts. Depression involves worrying and seeing everything gloomy. You think things that are not really true, for example, that you are not good at anything. In the training, you will learn to examine your thoughts. Do they knock? If they don’t make sense, replace them with thoughts that are much more positive. Practicing this will reduce your symptoms.

There are different forms of psychotherapy. Together with your doctor, you will look at what suits you best.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Most importantly, you learn how to change negative thoughts.
  • Behavioural Therapy (BT): You get assignments and become more active.
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): You will learn how to improve relationships and interactions with other people.
  • Short-term psychodynamic therapy (PDT): you will understand how you look at yourself and react in certain situations. You will learn how to do this differently.

Medications for depression.

Sometimes you can choose to take medication for depression :

  • if you have severe depression
  • or if mild to moderate depression is not reduced enough by other treatments

These drugs are called antidepressants. They have pros and cons. .

In the case of severe depression, you will always receive the medication together with psychotherapy. That works better than just taking medication.

Light therapy for winter depression:

 

Light therapy is a treatment for winter depression. You will receive light from a special lamp for several days to weeks. This can be done at home.

You keep your eyes open, but you don’t look directly into the light.

The treatment starts with 10 to 15 minutes once a day. After that, a session may last longer. Most people notice improvement within a few days.

Your doctor can help you get light therapy.

Occupational therapy for depression:

In the case of depression, you opt for conversations, psychotherapy, and possibly medication. You can also do other therapies, such as:

  • Art therapy
  • Drama therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Psychomotor therapy (such as running therapy)

All these therapies together are called subject therapies.

Other methods for depression.

Some people try complementary medicine, for example, homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, or manual medicine.

Research does not show that these types of therapies help with depression.

  • Always discuss it with your Practitioner if you do or want to do such a treatment. Sometimes it has a bad influence on the treatment you are already receiving.
  • Do not use  John’s wortif you are taking antidepressants.

How’s it going with depression?

  • You decide together with your General Practitioner what the best treatment is for you. It helps to prepare well for this conversation with your doctor.
  • You always come back after 1 to 2 weeks to discuss how things are going.
    When things get better, you will gradually come for checkups less often.
  • Depression is a profound experience. You may have lost your confidence because of it. Things that used to be taken for granted may not be so anymore. Perhaps you have doubts about the future.
  • Keep in mind that recovery takes time. Depression can last for months. Out of 10 people with depression, 6 have recovered within six months.
  • Depression can come back. This happens in about half of the people who have had depression.
    During the treatment, you will therefore also learn what you can do to prevent yourself from becoming depressed again.

(2) I’m thinking about taking medication for depression:

  • Antidepressants are drugs that can help with depression or anxiety, especially with serious complaints.
  • You will only notice after 4 to 6 weeks whether the medicines are working well for you.
  • You may get side effects sooner, such as sleepiness and dizziness.
  • Some people become temporarily more gloomy or anxious at first.
  • Does the drug work for you? Then take it for at least 6 months.
  • Once you have recovered, you may be able to reduce the use of medication (reduce) in consultation with your doctor.

What are Depression Medications?

Antidepressants are drugs that can reduce the symptoms of depression or anxiety. They mainly work for serious complaints.

In consultation with you, your doctor can prescribe medication for depression if you have serious complaints or if treatment without medication does not help enough.

How do drugs for depression work?

Medications for depression affect the balance between certain substances in the brain.

  • As a result, symptoms of depression usually decrease, especially in severe depression. You become less depressed and you regain more pleasure and interest in the things around you.
  • Medications for depression can also work well against anxiety.

You usually don’t notice that they start working until after 3 or 4 weeks.

Psychotherapy and medication work equally well in the treatment of depression. In the long run, psychotherapy works better.

Talk to your doctor if you are taking herbs or over-the-counter medicines such as NSAIDs, passiflora, valerian or St. John’s wort (hypericum).

These can affect the medicines you take and often do not go well with them.

Side effects of drugs for depression.

Medications for depression can have side effects. These often arise in the first weeks that you use the medicine. That is before you notice the positive effect of the drugs.

Common side effects include:

  • anxiety (especially at the beginning of treatment)
  • drowsiness or insomnia
  • a dry mouth
  • trouble seeing
  • dizziness
  • palpitations
  • to sweat
  • nausea
  • blockage
  • sexual problems: less sex drive, erection problems and problems with ejaculation

Other side effects that occur regularly:

  • To gain weight
  • Difficult urination
  • Restless legs
  • Move more slowly
  • Stiff muscles, stiff movements
  • Trembling, irregular muscle movements, muscle cramps
  • Glaucoma (a disease of the eye)

If you are just starting the medicines, you may first have:

  • Temporarily more restless or gloomy.
  • Very occasionally thoughts of death become stronger. This can happen especially in young adults.
    Are you between 18 and 25 years old? Then your General Practitioner will first talk extensively with you to find out whether you have thoughts of death. Sometimes a consultation with a psychiatrist is also necessary. If you and your doctor decide to start taking the medication, you will first receive half a dose. You come to the office every week, certainly the first month. If you tolerate the drug well, your doctor can gradually prescribe more of the drug.

Some people find themselves reacting aggressively. Whether aggression can be caused by these drugs is still unclear.

The side effects vary by drug. They may disappear over time. It is not always clear whether a particular complaint is a side effect or a complaint that is part of the depression.

What about taking antidepressants?

Medications for depression often only start to work clearly after a few weeks.

Until then, you can use a sedative (benzodiazepine). Sedatives directly help against insomnia and restlessness. They are narcotic and addictive. Therefore, use them for a maximum of 1 to 2 weeks.

At the start of the treatment, you will see the doctor every 1 to 2 weeks to discuss how things are going. If necessary, the doctor can adjust the dose.

Young adults (18-25 years) visit their General Practitioner every week at the start of the treatment.

If you find that the medicine is helping, it is best to continue taking it for at least another 6 months.

Is the medicine not helping enough? Then you can try another medicine for depression. It often turns out that another drug does work well for you.

If you are feeling better, you can decide to stop the medication in consultation with your doctor.

You do not stop suddenly, but gradually take less medication (weakening). Stopping suddenly or tapering off too quickly can cause (serious) complaints.

When to go to the doctor if you are taking medication for depression?

In these cases, talk to your doctor:

  • You want to start using more or less of the drug.
  • You want to stop taking the drug.
  • Your depression is getting worse.
  • Your fears are getting worse.
  • You will experience a lot of side effects.
  • Call immediately if thoughts of death/suicide become.

(3) I want to avoid getting depressed again:

  • Depression can come back. That happens to about half of the people.
  • You can’t prevent that, but you can reduce the chance by:
    • to stay healthy
    • structure in your day
    • (outdoor) exercise and sports
    • contact with other people
    • make a plan with your Practitioner to recognize and prevent relapse in time
  • See your doctor as soon as you notice that the symptoms are returning.

Reduce the chance that the depression will come back.

Depression can come back. This happens in about half of the people who have had depression (35 to 65%).

You can reduce your chances of the depression coming back:

  • Continue to follow the advice you received during the treatment.
  • Use a plan to avoid relapse. You will make that plan with your care provider at the end of your treatment.

Advice to prevent depression from coming back.

The advice you received during the treatment remains important to stay healthy after your recovery. They can help you prevent another depression.

Structure and regularity.

Try to keep structure and regularity in your life:

  • Go to bed at set (normal) times and get up around the same time.
  • Also, eat at set times.
  • Go outside every day. Outdoor air and exercise make you feel better.

Think fun activities

  • Think of activities that you like (or found) to do.
  • Make an activity list. That gives you something to hold on to.
  • Choose one pleasant activity every day and do it. For example, reading the newspaper or watching a movie or TV program. Choose one program; don’t sit in front of the TV all day.

Exercise and sports.

Keep moving. So: exercise for at least half an hour every day, for example, walking, cycling, swimming or gardening.

Exercise vigorously (run or exercise) for half an hour 3 times a week. You will sleep better and you will stay fitter physically and mentally.

There is running therapy especially for people with psychological complaints: running to become (also psychologically) fitter. There are special running therapists for this.

Working.

Working gives structure. Continuing to work is often better than (temporarily) stopping work. Talk to your employer about it. And contact your company doctor.

The company doctor will discuss with you how you can continue to work as well as possible. Sometimes adjustments are needed in your work.

For example, you start working half days, or you only do the tasks that you can easily handle. Do you have to stop working temporarily?

Then you discuss together how you can get back to work as soon as possible. You recover faster and better when you can continue to work as well as possible.

If you don’t have a job, you may want to try looking for work or volunteering.

Eat healthily, rather not drink alcohol, and do not take drugs
Alcohol and drugs make you more susceptible to a new depression.

Solving problems.

Often there are also concerns about practical problems such as money, work, family, or housing. 

Don’t try to solve it all alone. It helps to come up with solutions together, for example with your partner, your General Practitioner, your employer, the company doctor or a social worker.

Contact with fellow sufferers.

It can be very helpful to talk to people who also have or have had depression themselves.

You can get in touch with others through, for example, the Depression Association. The association also organizes meetings for people with depression: peer groups.

Plan to prevent relapse:

At the end of the treatment, you and your therapist will have drawn up a relapse prevention plan.

This plan is designed to prevent you from becoming depressed again. That’s called relapse prevention.

The plan states:

  • how you can notice that the complaints come back
  • how your loved ones can notice that you are getting worse
  • what you and your loved ones can do in that case to prevent a relapse.

Another word for relapse prevention plan is the signaling plan.

Mania and Depression

Some of the people who have had depression have manic episodes. In a manic period, a person is much more active and self-confident than he/she is used to.

You can use a short self-test to see whether you recognize these symptoms: self-test from the Knowledge Center for Bipolar Disorders.

If necessary, go to your doctor with the results of the test.

The combination of depression and mania is called bipolar disorder.

When to Contact Us After Depression?

Do you notice that the complaints come back? Make an appointment with your doctor. Don’t wait for the symptoms to get worse.

(4) I have suffered from depressive symptoms for a long time:

  • Mild depressive symptoms sometimes last more than 1 or 2 years. This is called dysthymia.
  • Ensure regularity: getting up at a fixed time, fixed meal times and contact with a trusted person.
  • Exercise/exercise also helps.
  • You will probably always remain sensitive to depressive symptoms.
  • It is important that you and your General Practitioner, practice nurse or therapist talk about this regularly.
  • Contact your doctor if the symptoms get worse.

What are long-term depressive symptoms?

Depressive symptoms can last a long time. If you have it for at least 2 years, it is called dysthymia. For young people, this is at least 1 year.

The complaints are less than with ‘normal’ depression: you will probably be able to work and do the daily things. 

But because you suffer from it almost constantly, it can be heavy.

 What do you notice about long-term depressive symptoms?

You are depressed almost every day and/or you have little interest and pleasure in almost all activities.

You may also have one or more other complaints:

  • You are less able to concentrate, for example when reading or watching television.
  • Making decisions takes more effort, even if it is something very simple.
  • You feel sluggish and tired, or restless, and easily irritated.
  • You feel redundant and useless or guilty.
  • You sleep poorly or a lot.
  • You may experience life as too much of a burden and sometimes even long for death.

People with such depressive symptoms sometimes say that it feels ‘as if you are constantly living under water’ or ‘under a glass bell jar’.

How do long-term depressive symptoms develop?

The exact cause or trigger of depressive symptoms often remains unclear. Usually, it is a combination of several things:

  • Heredity: Sometimes depression runs in the family more often.
  • Some people are naturally more vulnerable than others.
  • A disturbed balance of neurotransmitters in the brain: these are substances that influence mood, among other things.
  • A difficult childhood or feeling little supported by the environment.
  • A major event that causes a lot of grief. For example, a divorce or the death of someone who was important to you.
  • Experiencing violence (assault, rape, war violence).
  • A chronic disease, such as diabetes, COPD, or rheumatism.
  • Alcohol consumption (this can cause or worsen depression).

Depression has nothing to do with unwillingness or a weak character.

Advice for depression.

To recover from depression, 2 things are very important:

  • give structure to your day
  • be or remain active actief

You probably look very much against all activities. That’s part of the depression. But it often works with small steps. 

The information and advice below can help you with that.

Contact with others

  • Make sure you have daily contact with a trusted person (a relative, friend, neighbor, or colleague). Also agree to call someone regularly or to visit someone. It often helps to talk about it with family or friends.
  • Explain to people what is wrong with you. Most people understand the situation. You can also have them read this text. Some people won’t understand. That’s just how it is; try to accept that.
  • Depression may make you think negatively about yourself. Disappointment, sadness, and anger can reinforce the negative feeling. Discuss your feelings. It takes time to process such emotions. Give yourself that time.

Achievable goals

Do not set yourself too high expectations, for example, that you must quickly get better or be able to do your work normally.

Start with a daily task, such as getting dressed, shopping, cooking or washing dinner.

Structure and regularity.

Try to keep structure and regularity in your life.

  • Get up on time.
  • Also, eat at set times.
  • Go outside every day. Outdoor air and exercise make you feel better.
  • Plan what you will do per day (activity list).
  • Go to bed on time. Regularity is important for your sleep and your mood.

Pleasant activities

  • Think of activities that you like (or found) to do.
  • Choose one pleasant activity every day and do it. For example, reading the newspaper or watching a movie or TV program. Choose one program. Don’t sit in front of the TV all day.

Exercise and sports

Exercise for at least half an hour every day, for example walking, cycling, swimming or gardening. 

Exercise vigorously (run or exercise) for half an hour 3 times a week. This already helps to make you feel less depressed and fitter. It also ensures a better night’s sleep.

There is running therapy especially for people with psychological complaints: running to become psychologically fitter. 

Working

Continuing to work is often better than (temporarily) stopping working. Talk to your employer about it. And contact your company doctor.

The company doctor will discuss with you how you can continue to work as well as possible.

Sometimes adjustments are needed in your work. For example, you start working half days, or you only do the tasks that you can easily handle.

Do you have to stop working temporarily? Then you discuss together how you can get back to work as soon as possible.

You recover faster and better when you can continue to work as well as possible.

If you are unemployed, you may want to try volunteering.

Healthy food, no alcohol, no drugs.
Alcohol and drugs can cause and worsen depression.

Solving problems

Often there are also concerns about practical problems, such as money, work, family, or housing. 

Don’t try to solve it all alone. It helps to come up with solutions together, for example with your partner, your General Practitioner, your employer or someone from the neighborhood team.

Family

Depression can make it more difficult to care for children. You can handle less and maybe more easily irritated or angry. Or you withdraw and prefer to stay in bed.

If you have children, it is good to talk to your doctor about how your family is doing and to look for solutions to problems.

Information and courses

It helps to know exactly what depression is. Read about it, watch videos on the internet. There are also courses: online on the internet or in a group. .

Contact with fellow sufferers

It can be very helpful to talk to people who also have or have had depression themselves. You can get in touch with others through, for example, the Depression Association.

Treatment of long-term depressive symptoms

  • The treatment is similar to ‘normal’ depression and can consist of:Therapy: conversations with the General Practitioner, the mental health practice nurse, a psychologist or psychotherapist
    Medicines

What about long-term depressive symptoms?

  • You will probably always remain sensitive to depressive symptoms. It is important that you and your General Practitioner, practice nurse or therapist talk about this regularly.
  • The symptoms can sometimes get worse. They can turn into a ‘regular’ depression.
    Seek help from your doctor or therapist quickly if the symptoms get worse. Don’t keep walking around with it.

The information about long-term depressive symptoms is based on the Depressive Disorders Care Standard.

I hope you will get some knowledge about Depression and its treatments by reading this article. Comment down your thoughts on this article below. If you have any queries, then ask My Voice.

THANKS

MANU SAIYED

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