In the U.S., one out of every 10 Americans suffers from some level of depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from depression, you need to take an active role in your treatment in order to overcome the condition. When it comes to treating depression you’re not just a patient, but part of a two person team with your therapist working towards a common goal.
Of course with depression, you might not feel up to taking an active role in much of anything. You may even begin to develop doubts about whether treatment will ever help to improve your condition. However, no matter how defeated you may feel, you need to continue to push yourself towards getting better. Depression can cause you to feel powerless, but by taking control of your treatment, you can help yourself feel in control once again.
Here are some tips on how to regain control.
Don’t Give Up
When seeking treatment for depression, you need to keep in mind that treatment won’t improve your condition overnight. It can take between four and six weeks before antidepressants take effect, and you may need to try several different types before you find one that works for you. It’s important that you remain patient during the early stages of treatment, and give both therapy and antidepressants a chance to make a difference. When a patient suffering from depression receives the proper medication at the right dosage, and continues to take the medication as directed, treatment succeeds 70 percent of the time.
Take Your Medication as Directed
In order for antidepressants to have a positive effect helping you deal with depression, you need to buildup the medication in your system. This is why it can take several weeks before you start noticing a difference when taking antidepressants. The best way to ensure the medication works as expected is to take your pills at the same time everyday. If you make taking your antidepressants a regular habit like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast, you can help ensure that you don’t miss any dosages, which could delay the drug taking effect.
Never Stop Taking Your Medication Without Doctor Approval
If you decide to stop taking your medication overnight, you could suffer serious side effects. If for some reason you need to stop taking your antidepressants, talk with your doctor, who may decide to slowly reduce your dose. Many people suffering from depression mistakenly believe they can stop taking their medication once they begin to feel better. However, by no longer taking your the medication, you may cause your depression to return.
Change Your Lifestyle
There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make that will help to supplement your treatment for depression. Changing your diet to include more fruits and vegetables, while eating less sugar and fat, avoiding the use of alcohol, and getting plenty of rest can all make a major difference when trying to fight depression. Studies have also shown that regular exercise can make a positive difference dealing with the symptoms of depression.
Dealing with depression can take a lot of energy and leave you with little left to handle the stress of day-to-day life. To help you reduce stress, ask friends and family for assistance dealing with stressors in your daily life, such as errands or housework. If you feel stressed at work, talk with your employer to determine if you can scale back some of your responsibilities.
Be Open During Therapy
While it can be difficult to open up during therapy, concealing how you feel or not telling the truth will only make the process less effective. If you don’t care for or have doubts about your therapist’s technique or approach, make sure to vocalize your concerns. Remember, your therapist’s primary goal is to help you get better, and he or she will want to hear your thoughts about the treatment process. By being open and honest, the two of you can work towards a more effective treatment solution.
Be Open to New Ideas
When discussing therapy approaches, you need to keep an open mind to what your therapist suggests even if it sound strange or different. Your therapist may also push you to do things that feel uncomfortable or awkward. You need to try and stay open to these ideas, and give new approaches a chance to work. You may find them more beneficial than you initially thought.
Timothy Lemke is a freelance health writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. Lori Lemire, a dentist in Coos Bay, OR.