Helplessness – it’s an oppressive feeling that can permeate every thought and interaction and, if you or a loved one are struggling with mental illness, likely one that you are familiar with. Through the layers of stifling chaos, it is crucial to remember that various methods of treatment exist and have proven successful. Your disease does not define you, and a comprehensive treatment plan can alleviate and manage symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average life expectancy in the U.S. has decreased for the second time in three years, much of it attributed to drug overdoses and suicide. As the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., suicide rates have steadily risen particularly in younger adults. Shedding light on treatment options has become more vital than ever before – celebrities, athletes, musicians such as Lady Gaga and even popular television characters are all bringing awareness to mental disorders.
In the pursuit of treatment options, it is imperative to remember that each individual case is different and therefore each treatment plan is unique. In some cases, the treatment of clinical depression with antidepressants has proven the most successful in balancing levels of serotonin while in others, antidepressants merely act as a “Band-Aid” for the problem. The most important part of any treatment plan is to listen to your body and remain open to a variety of treatments in your search.
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The most widely agreed-upon course of action in the treatment of depression and anxiety is psychotherapy. Encompassing cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal and psychodynamic therapy, consistent psychotherapy is often found to provide stronger long-term treatment than medication by helping to identify the cause symptoms. By far, the most important factor in psychotherapy is an open and trusting relationship with your therapeutic team. Take the time to get to know your clinical specialists.
Aside from psychotherapy and medication, there are several other activities that work to alleviate and manage the symptoms of depression and anxiety linked to one’s mood, including:
Engaging in a regular structure of aerobic exercise including yoga, hiking, swimming, running and dancing
Mindfulness and reflecting in nature
Revisiting favorite hobbies, such as art or music therapy
Practicing random acts of kindness.
Working through self-help materials
Keeping a journal for releasing emotions, and remind yourself of moments of gratitude
Confiding in a trusted friend, family member or member of your support circle
Practicing stress management techniques and self-care each day
Above all, remember that there is hope. Nearly all conditions can be managed with the right combination of treatment options. Depression and Anxiety can be overcome in the long-term by finding the right treatment plan for your individual case and remaining dedicated to it. Seek help and remain strong – with steadfast commitment, bravery and the support of loved ones, you can take charge of your symptoms with well-rounded treatment for every lifestyle.
– C. Fogarty