If youÃ•re depressed, there are quite a few things you can do to help manage your symptoms. If you think youÃ•re depressed, though, you should seek professional help in conjunction with making changes in your lifestyle and habits.
Managing Depression: Get Help
Depression is a severe mental disorder that requires medical attention. Teen depression often gets worse if itÃ•s left untreated. This is why, if you think youÃ•re depressed, you should talk to someone Ã‘ such as a parent, teacher, or school counselor Ã‘ about how youÃ•re feeing, so they can assist you in getting the medical help you need.
Managing Depression: Your Physical Health
If youÃ•re a teenager struggling with depression, taking care of yourself is one of the most effective depression management strategies. You may want to consider:
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs: Drugs and alcohol often seem like they provide a much-needed escape for the depressed teenager. However, they can often worsen symptoms over time.
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet: A poor diet that doesnÃ•t provide you with all the nutrients you need can make your depression worse. Make sure you eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains (such as whole wheat bread) and consider taking extra vitamins and supplements. B vitamins, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are especially helpful in cases of teen depression.
- Exercising: This might be the last thing you feel like doing, but regular exercise can help lift your mood, increase your energy and decrease your feelings of fatigue.
- Get plenty of sleep: A study conducted by a professor at Columbia University in New York demonstrated that teens that go to bed at 10 p.m. or earlier are less likely to experience depression and suicidal thoughts.
Managing Depression: Your mental and emotional health
Managing your depression will also involve making some lifestyle changes that support your mental and emotional health. These techniques can be an important part of treatment of depression. You may want to:
- De-stress: Know what stresses you out and do what you can to minimize these things. Talk to your doctor or school counselor about your sources of stress and ask her for some good stress management tips.
- Express your feelings: In addition to talking to someone you trust about how youÃ•re feeling, you might also find it helpful to express yourself through drawing, playing a musical instrument or writing in a journal.
- Maintain supportive friendships: Loneliness and isolation only make depression worse. Spending time with supportive people can help lift your mood and give you the perspective you need. However, you may want to avoid friends who encourage you to drink, do drugs or stay out late.
- Relax: Taking time out to relax and do the things you enjoy doing is an important part of depression management.
Set manageable goals: Part of managing your depression involves managing your daily activities and goals. Set simple goals you can attain and cut yourself some slack if you canÃ•t do what you set out to do. Depression is an illness Ã‘ and just like any illness, you need to take it easy so you can recover.
Barston, S. et al. (n.d.) Dealing with teen depression: Tips and tools for helping yourself or a friend. Retrieved May 17, 2010, from the HelpGuide website: helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen_teenagers.htm.
Columbia University Medical Center Staff. (2009, June 9). Study links later parental-mandated bedtimes for teens with depression & suicidal thoughts. Retrieved May 18, 2010, from the Columbia University Medical Center website: www.cumc.columbia.edu/news/press_releases/Parental-Mandated_Bedtimes.htmlâ€>www.cumc.columbia.edu/news/press_releases/Parental-Mandated_Bedtimes.html.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Coping and support. Retrieved May 10, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic website: www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175/DSECTION=coping-and-support.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Treatment and drugs. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic website: www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs.
Lundbeck Institute Staff. (n.d.) Depression Ã prevention. Retrieved May 10, 2010, from the Lundbeck Institute website: www.brainexplorer.org/depression/Depression_Prevention.shtml.
Nemade, R. et al. (n.d.) Depression: Major depression & unipolar varieties. Retrieved May 5, 2010, from the MentalHealth.net website: www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=438&cn=5.
Saison, J. et al. (n.d.) Dealing with depression: Self-help and coping tips. Retrieved May 17, 2010, from the HelpGuide website: helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm.