“Depression is a condition that frequently appears in psychological consultations; a health problem worldwide that affects children, youth, adults and the elderly; as well as men and women.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people in the world live with depression; This is the first cause of health problems and disability worldwide. In Mexico alone, 34.5 million people have been depressed, of which 14.48 million are men, and 20.37 million are women; being the fourth cause of disability in the country.
Let’s see what are the coping strategies of depression.
The basic characteristics of depression
Depression is characterized by maintaining a state of deep sadness for more than two weeks, often without knowing the reason; unlike sadness as emotion, which is transient and usually caused by something that is perceived as negative for the person.
To this is added an absence of pleasure and lack of motivation for any activity. An alteration in appetite and weight is experienced, since sometimes there is a loss of the same, while in some cases the person shows an excessive appetite.
In the same way, sleep is also affected in the form of insomnia or excess of non-restorative sleep. The person presents fatigue or loss of energy, showing depression in his face and lack of care in his person; besides walking, moving and talking slowly.
However, the characteristics of depression are not limited to physical alterations such as those that have just been shown, since the person also experiences feelings of handicap and guilt for unimportant things, as if it were a hindrance for people to their around. Inevitably, there are limitations in mental capacity, that is, thought slows down and attention and concentration decrease.
Finally, thoughts of despair appear, showing an apathy towards life; so the person thinks of death as a remedy. In fact, according to WHO each year about 800,000 people commit suicide, which represents the second cause of death among young people between 15 and 29 years.
Depression coping strategies
What to do when a friend or family member suffers from depression? Let’s see it
1. Recognize your suffering
First, you need to listen and acknowledge your suffering. Suddenly you usually try to encourage the person using phrases like: “Courage! Do not be sad “,”Do not cry anymore”; provoking guilt and frustration, since it is not something that depends on the person how to feel.
On the other hand, when their feeling is validated and empathy is shown, we become companions.
2. Do not feed your sadness
It is not about reinforcing your suffering by fostering self-pity or incapacitating the person, but treating it as someone who is going through a difficult time. Likewise, it helps the family to keep busy with walks, entertainments, small jobs, etc.
3. Take seriously any suggestion or threat of suicide
A serious mistake is made when signals of this type are overlooked, as the person may be giving a warning. The most advisable thing is to stay on top of the person with depression, not leaving it alone for long.
4. Seek professional help
At this point, it is very common to resort only to medication. However, despite being useful, it only decreases symptoms but does not solve the problem of depression. So it is common to find people under drug treatment dealing with depression for a long time: months or more than a year.
In addition, the person under antidepressant medication does not begin to notice the effects of the medication until after two or three weeks of having started the treatment.
So the most advisable thing is to start a psychotherapeutic process to work in the required areas.
Tips to prevent this mental disorder
These are some recommendations to apply on a day to day basis.
1. Perform aerobic physical exercise
The chemical and hormonal balance produced by the drugs can also be achieved or supplemented by sports and physical activity.
Fatigue is a source of health and good humor, since this type of exercise produces serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that is related to sensations of pleasure and well-being; In addition, exercise promotes a state of peace of mind, decreases levels of daily stress and improves self-esteem.
This kind of benefits make exercise the most effective antidepressant and, sadly, the least used.
2. Avoid isolation
A study (Nolen-Hoaksema and Morrow, 1991) carried out in the city of San Francisco (USA), showed that isolation favors emotions and depressive thoughts. It is advisable to have a support network, such as friends or family.
3. Stay busy or busy
Whether outdoors or at home, look for an occupation; That way the activities will help keep your mind away from thoughts that accentuate depression.
4. Seek professional help
If these tips can not be enough, the psychologist’s help will always be the best option to get out of depression. Appropriate psychotherapy can achieve the desired results.
Depression is a complex problem, so the recovery process is usually slow; so that it requires patience from both the affected person and those in their environment.
Although depression usually requires psychological intervention, self-help strategies are beneficial as a support to psychological treatment and even prevention.