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You’ve spent yet another day in the dumps, as depression maintains its tight grip on you. It’s pretty disheartening to see no real improvement, even after trialing two or three different antidepressants by now. But here you are, wondering, “Why is my depression not getting better?”
Depression is still a mystery in many ways. Science continues to seek answers – both to better understand its causes and to treat this mood disorder more effectively. To learn more about depression and the treatment options, please read on.
Depression is the second most common mental health disorder among Americans, affecting about 21 million people each year. The symptoms of depression can range from mild to moderate to severe enough to cause major impairment.
While depression affects almost twice as many women as men, depression can affect all races, genders, and ethnicities. Still, women’s rates are high mostly due to the effects of female hormones.
To achieve the best treatment outcome, you should seek help for the depression as early as you can. Being aware of the symptoms allows you to see the warning signs in yourself.
When five or more of the symptoms are present most of the time for at least two weeks, it is diagnosed as depression. The symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sadness, despair, and hopelessness.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
- Agitated or sluggish movements.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Feelings of guilt, or shame.
- Change in eating habits resulting in weight loss or gain.
- Changes in sleep patterns, sleep problems.
- Trouble paying attention or making decisions.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
Do Antidepressants Work?
For decades, the first line of defense for someone struggling with depression has been antidepressant drug therapy. To improve treatment outcomes, doctors usually prescribe therapy along with the drugs. Psychotherapy assists the patient in working through any emotional issues or past trauma that may be factored into the depression.
In recent years, more light has been shed on the actual efficacy of antidepressants. Yes, these drugs can help alleviate symptoms in about 50% of patients, but only those with moderate to severe depression. The drugs have been found to be ineffective for patients with mild depression.
Other Helpful Depression Treatment Methods
Consider adding some of these adjunctive actions in addition to (or instead of) antidepressants to help improve symptoms:
- Supplements. Certain supplements are considered safe alternatives to antidepressants for treating the symptoms of depression. These include L-theanine, vitamin B5 (folic acid), calcium with magnesium, SAMe, St. John’s Wort, and Omega-3 fish oil. Ask your doctor before starting supplements.
- Exercise. Getting in shape can be very helpful in boosting your mood. Regular exercise is shown to boost the production of dopamine, a mood booster. It also increases serotonin and norepinephrine, which reduce stress.
- TMS. TMS is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that transmits electromagnetic currents to the limbic region. By speeding up the neurons in this area of the brain, it can reduce the symptoms of depression. These outpatient treatments last 4-6 weeks.
- Nutrition. For those who say, “Why is my depression not getting better?” don’t forget to take a look at your diet. Fast food, highly processed foods, and sugary treats are harmful to your overall wellness and should be limited. For optimum mental health, try a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean meats, fresh veggies, fruits, and nuts.
Holistic Methods for Depression
Here are some holistic actions you can take to improve your mental health:
- Keep a journal. Journaling allows you to unload your thoughts and feelings onto the written page, and begin to process the pain. This practice of writing out your thoughts will reduce obsessing about all the things you feel sad about.
- Mindfulness. This is a form of meditation that helps you focus on the present moment instead of being distracted by negative thoughts.
- Acupuncture: This ancient practice has shown promise as a natural treatment for helping to improve mood. Tiny needles are placed at certain parts of the body to rebalance energy flow.
- Aromatherapy. Essential oils like bergamot and lavender can help boost mood. The oils can be diffused into the air or applied topically onto palms and feet.
- Yoga. Yoga movements and postures, combined with deep breathing, can increase GABA and help reduce depression symptoms.
Residential Treatment for Depressive Disorder
Maybe you have been attempting to manage your depression with the help of a doctor or therapist, but haven’t improved. When depression is treatment-resistant, it can be very disheartening.
At some point, the depression may worsen and become more serious. Warning signs of severe depression include:
- Extreme inertia.
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts.
- Increased substance abuse.
- Social withdrawal.
- Damaged relationships.
If your depression is not getting better, you may benefit from a residential mental health program. These programs provide a safe and comfortable setting for you to receive more intensive and tailored treatment.
Treatment elements for depression include:
Individual therapy. There is a wide array of therapies available to help someone with depression. You’ll work one-on-one with a licensed psychotherapist to help improve your coping skills.
Group therapy. Small groups gather to discuss topics provided by the therapist, and then engage in sharing their feelings.
Family group. Chances are you have family members who are concerned about you and would enjoy participating in the family therapy sessions.
Medication. With about thirty antidepressants on the market, the doctor will seek to find the best fit for you.
Holistic. You will engage in holistic methods that improve sleep and boost moods, such as mindfulness and yoga.
Exercise and nutrition. The program should emphasize health and wellness, as these have a direct impact on mental health.
LifeSync Malibu Healing Center Provides Comprehensive Depression Treatment
LifeSync Malibu Healing Center is a primary mental health and dual diagnosis treatment center. If you are still wondering, “Why is my depression not getting better?” you may benefit from a more intensive treatment approach. Ask us about our program by calling (866) 491-4426.