Depression is a condition that frequently appears in psychological counseling; a global health problem that affects children, youth, adults and the elderly; as well as men and women.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide are living with depression; thus being the main cause of health and disability problems in the world. In Mexico alone, 34,500,000 people have become depressed, of which 14,480,000 are men and 20,370,000 are women; being the fourth cause of disability in the country.
Let’s see what are the coping strategies for depression.
The basic characteristics of depression
Depression is characterized by maintain a state of deep sadness for more than two weeks, often without knowing the reason; unlike sadness as an emotion, which is fleeting and usually caused by something that is perceived to be negative for the person.
Added to this is an absence of pleasure and a lack of motivation for any activity. A change in appetite and weight is felt, because sometimes there is a loss of the same, while in some cases the person shows excessive appetite.
In the same way, sleep is also affected through insomnia or excessive restorative sleep. The person has fatigue or loss of energy, depression in the face and a lack of self-care; in addition to walking, moving and speaking slowly.
However, the characteristics of depression are not limited to physical alterations such as those just shown, as the person also experiences feelings of handicap and guilt for unimportant things, as if they were. ‘a disturbance for those around him. Inevitably, limitations in mental capacity arise, i.e. thinking becomes sluggish and attention and concentration decrease.
finally thoughts of despair appear, Showing apathy towards life; so that the person sees death as a cure. In fact, according to the WHO, nearly 800,000 people commit suicide each year, which is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds.
Strategies for coping with depression
What to do when a friend or family member suffers from depression? Let’s see.
1. Acknowledge your suffering
First, you have to listen and recognize your suffering. All of a sudden, we usually try to encourage the person by using phrases like “Cheer up! Don’t be sad”, “Stop crying”; cause guilt and frustration because it is not something that depends on who you are feeling.
however, when their feeling is validated and empathy is shown, we become companions.
2. Don’t feed your sadness
It is not about reinforcing their suffering by encouraging self-compassion or neutralizing it, but by treating it like someone going through a difficult time. It also helps the family member to stay busy with walks, entertainment, odd jobs, etc.
3. Take seriously any hint or threat of suicide
A serious mistake is made when such signals are ignored, as the person can give a warning. It is better to stay on the slope of the depressed person, Do not leave her alone for long.
4. Seek professional help
At this point, it is very common to resort to medication alone. However, despite its usefulness, it only decreases the symptoms but does not solve the problem of depression. It is therefore common to find people on medication with depression for a long time: months or more than a year.
In addition, the person on the antidepressant does not begin to notice the effects of the medicine until two or three weeks after starting treatment. So that it is best to start a psychotherapeutic process to work in the required areas.
Tips to prevent this mental disorder
Here are some recommendations to apply on a daily basis.
1. Do aerobic exercises
The chemical and hormonal balance produced by drugs can also be achieved or supplemented by sport and physical activity.
Fatigue is a source of health and good humor, because this exercise class produces serotonin, Which is a neurotransmitter linked to feelings of pleasure and well-being; in addition to exercising, it promotes a state of peace of mind, decreases daily stress and improves self-esteem.
This type of benefit makes exercise the most effective and, unfortunately, the least used antidepressant.
2. Avoid isolation
A study (Nolen-Hoaksema and Morrow, 1991) carried out in the city of San Francisco (USA), showed that isolation promotes depressive thoughts and emotions. It is advisable to have a support network, such as friends or family.
3. Be busy or busy
Whether outside or at home, look for a job; in this way, the activities will help you take your mind away from thoughts that increase depression.
4. Seek professional help
If these tips are not enough, the help of a psychologist will always be the best option to get out of depression. Good psychotherapy can achieve the desired results.
Depression is a complex problem, so the recovery process is usually slow; it therefore requires patience on the part of the affected person and those around him. Although depression often requires psychological intervention, self-help strategies are beneficial in supporting psychological treatment and even prevention.
- Conference, L. (October 1, 2018). Depression continues to increase in Mexico; women, the most affected. Vanguard.
- Melgosa, J. (2008). How to have a healthy mind. Madrid: Safeliz.
- Nolen-Hoaksema, S. and Morrow, Prospective study of depression and anxiety after natural disaster: the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61: 105-121 (1991).
- Rodríguez, D. (October 10, 2018). In Mexico, there are more than 2 million young people suffering from depression. Publimetro.
- Sánchez, A. (October 5, 2018). Everything you don’t have to do when someone is depressed. La Vanguardia.