How to Reduce the Risks of Depression Reoccurring
For many people depression is chronic and they will experience periods of relief combined with a recurrence of depressive episodes. It is estimated that approximately a third of those who suffer from an episode of depression will have another one within a year after treatment ceases. More than half will experience another depressive episode again during their lifetime. The more severe the first episode and the more often depression occurs, the more likely a person will struggle with it again.
MedicationMedications such as antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat depression but for some patients, they will require what is known as 'maintenance therapy.' This means that after depression symptoms have resolved, the individual will continue with therapy longer than a typical course of antidepressants used for most patients. The time required for maintenance therapy varies and there is much debate over the best duration for maintenance therapy as well as the ideal dose. For some people, antidepressant therapy will continue for several years.
Talking TherapyTalking therapies can be helpful for learning how to alter negative thinking patterns and behaviours that may be contributing to your depression, or simply to release anxiety on a regular basis. Cognitive behavioural therapy is thought to be one of the more effective treatments for depression and many find that ongoing therapy can help them to work through difficulties. Some people may find that they can reduce the risk of a depressive episode through consistent talking therapy and then taking medication as needed when depression hits. Others will need a combination approach both during and between depressive episodes.
SupportLoneliness is often a cornerstone of depression and getting support from friends and family can help you to feel appreciated and more involved socially. Depression support groups can help you to feel less isolated and they allow you to connect with others who share similar challenges. Many people find that the support they receive from others can help them cope with stressful feelings as they arise, so that a full-blown depression can be avoided.
Pinpointing TriggersFor some people, finding what triggers their depression will be a lifelong struggle and it's worth taking the time to work through various aspects of your life, bit by bit, to find those parts that trigger your depression. Treating depression when it occurs is generally more challenging than preventing it in the first place. You may find that simple small changes have a collectively large impact on your life and reduce depressive episodes. You may notice that lifestyle adjustments such as a healthy diet, exercise and regular social activities help you to feel better and stabilize in your moods. Some may find that certain relationships are stressful and they may need to find alternate ways of communicating or dealing with confrontation.
Medications and certain types of therapy do help a great many people. As a unique individual, however, your depression will be based on aspects of how you think and are affected by others as well as how you relate to other people. You have the ability to make changes and it can take a lot of courage, but the beneficial results you will see when you are able to reduce depressive episodes will be well worth it.