Safeguard Your Mental Health: 5 Ways to Fend Off Depression

Prevent depressionDepression sounds like one of those things that you know a little bit about and you hear about a lot, but is really one of those things that happens to other people.  But it is very possible that you or someone you know can suffer from depression.  Depression can make your regular life very difficult to live.  You do not want eat or move or participate.  Depressions feels like it sucks the life out of you.  When depression is not treated, it effects how you think, behave, and feel.  It can lead to emotional, mental, and physical problems.

Some of the warning signs of depression include:

  • Pain or aching that does not get better
  • Crying more often than normal
  • Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities and life in general
  • Poor nutrition
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Sleeping either too much or not enough
  • Persistent sad feelings
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If there is a history of depression in your family or you have experienced some episodes of depression yourself, there are some things that you can do to safeguard your mental health.

1.  Get Help from a Counselor or a Doctor

Do not allow shame or guilt about your potential condition to hold you back.  If you feel that you have a problem with depression or you are worried that you may eventually have a problem, go see a doctor or a counselor.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  Every year, depression affects millions of people.  And it is treatable.  You have to be willing to take the personal risk and ask for help.

2.  Set up a Routine

Giving yourself a daily schedule to gain some control over your life.  It is up to you to make the schedule and stick to it.  Get up at the same time every day even if you do not have anything you have to do or anywhere you have to be.  Go to bed at the same time every night.  Keeping this schedule will give you some stability.  Keep this schedule until you feel like you are stuck and then make a change.

3.  Exercise

Exercise is one of the best things that you can do for your mind and your body.  People are meant to move.  You do not have to join a gym to get some exercise.  Start slow.  Go for a walk around the block in the morning and the evening.  Borrow a friend’s dog or volunteer to walk a neighbor’s dog if that makes walking easier.  Yoga is also a very good option.  Join a studio or practice at home.  Regardless of how you want to exercise, simply get yourself moving.

4.  Try Some New Things

There are lots of adventures out in the world that you have never experienced.  And you do not necessarily have to go very far to experience some new situations.  Think about taking a class in something you think you would enjoy like photography or cooking.  Join a group that does a variety of different kinds of things like hiking, board games, music, and event attendance.  Go to an art museum or a concert.  Get out of your comfort zone.  The chemical makeup of your brain is changed when you do new things.  The levels of dopamine, the pleasure chemical of the brain, are altered by the new activity.

5.  Do More Positive Thinking

When you start to feel helpless or hopeless, think about what is making you feel that way.  Is someone else introducing these feelings?  Are you telling yourself that you are helpless and hopeless?  How do you know that these feelings are true, that you are helpless and hopeless?  If you feel yourself slipping into a depressive state, you may not be able to trust the feelings that you are having.  Start to question them.  When you think you are helpless, challenge that feeling.  Show yourself that you are not helpless, that you can do anything you put your mind to.  When you think you are hopeless, think about all of the ways that you can do good things and make a difference.  If you can make a difference, even a small difference, than there is reason to hope.  Find that small difference and change your thinking.

Delray Beach Psychiatrist Explains Why Some People Behave Badly When They Enter Recovery

Most people who enter addiction treatment with a Delray Beach psychiatrist improve their behavior once addiction is no longer the driving force in their lives. An active addict will do anything to feed his or her addiction, even if that means hurting his or her friends or loved ones. But once that addict enters recovery, he or she often feels contrite and remorseful of the things he or she did to hurt his or her loved ones while he or she was struggling with active addiction. Starting a new, substance-free life means behaving with integrity, caring for others and being self-supporting – for most people.

But some people enter addiction recovery and continue behaving badly, and doing so often. Some people continue to struggle with the emotional and psychological issues behind their addictive behavior even after they enter addiction treatment with our Delray Beach psychiatrist. Some recovering addicts may continue to act out because of high expectations they had for getting sober, because they are struggling with strong negative emotions, because they have unrealistic expectations of others or simply because they are jerks.

Recovering Addicts May Expect Too Much from Recovery

Some addicts who enter treatment with our Delray Beach psychiatrist may expect that addiction recovery will solve all of their problems. Indeed, 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous can make some lofty promises regarding what addicts can expect once they enter recovery. To quote from the Big Book, “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness…That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”

While the 12-step program, in conjunction with addiction treatment from our Delray Beach psychiatrist, certainly can offer much of value to recovering addicts, passages such as this can set some pretty high expectations for recovery. The truth is, merely getting sober will not solve all of an addict’s problems. Deep-seated emotional problems, psychiatric problems and financial problems will take much hard work in recovery to repair. The addict who goes into recovery thinking that getting sober will solve all of his or her problems, as if by magic, is setting him or herself up for disappointment. Some recovering addicts react to that disappointment by acting out.

Emotional Recovery Is Necessary

Recovering from addiction isn’t just about giving up alcohol or drugs. It’s also about changing the attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that lead to addiction in the first place. For some people, addiction recovery means working with our Delray Beach psychiatrist to treat mental health issues that may be contributing to the substance abuse problem. Recovering addicts who fail to do the emotional work necessary to achieve real happiness and sobriety may continue to say sober, but they won’t be happy about it. These recovering addicts remain trapped in a destructive and damaging cycle of negative behavior and beliefs. They may continue to struggle with anger, rage, guilt, fear and other negative emotions that hold them back. They may have unrealistic expectations of those around them, and struggle with judgmental attitudes that make it difficult to treat others with caring and respect.

Delray Beach Psychiatrist Says Some People Are Just Unpleasant

Addiction drives many addicts to behave badly and treat others badly, but this behavior improves when they enter recovery and regain control of their lives. But our Delray Beach psychiatrist points out that some people would behave badly and treat others badly even if they weren’t struggling with addiction. These people will naturally continue to behave poorly even after they enter addiction recovery. All the treatment in the world can’t turn a fundamentally nasty person into a nice person. Of course, that doesn’t mean such a person doesn’t deserve to receive addiction treatment, recover and go on to live a healthy and fulfilling life. But you may not want them to do it around you.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, addiction treatment with our Delray Beach psychiatrist can help you or them rediscover the person you or they once were.

Call us today at 888-415-0708 to learn more.