What Can One Do To Combat Depression?

What can one do to combat depression? Depression is a common but serious issue that affects many people. Here are some thoughts & tips on the issue.


TOPIC: What Can One Do To Combat Depression?

The Question:

Depression is a common but serious issue that affects many people. If gone untreated, it can become a severe threat to one?s health.

What are some symptoms of depression?

What are some treatment options and/or ways of relieving depression?

How can depression affect a bodybuilder?

Bonus Question: Have you or someone you know suffered from depression? How did you/they deal with it?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
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      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

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1st Place - jdiritto
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Depression is a common but serious issue that affects many people. If gone untreated, it can become a severe threat to one's health.

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Symptoms
What Are Some Symptoms Of Depression?
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The Diagnostic Statistics Manual IV (DSM-IV) is the single-handed best tool for assessing mental health diseases/disorders. What entails is a brief overview of what information one would find within that publication in order to be classified as a depressive episode.

The following must be met:

Either a depressed mood or loss of interest/pleasure, as well as at least five of the following during a two week period (must be an abnormal behavior for that individual);

  • Depressed mood nearly everyday
  • Marked diminished interest of pleasure in all (or most of) previously enjoyed activities
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain, or decrease/increase in daily appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (Inability to sleep or excessive sleep)
  • Physiological agitation or retardation almost daily (more than just subjective feelings of restlessness or lethargy)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost daily
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive/inappropriate guilt (may be delusional) nearly daily
  • Inability to think/concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly daily
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicide ideations (without a plan), or a suicide attempt or plan
    • Note: the above symptoms may vary in terms of occurrence/severity among individuals

The symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impaired social, occupational, or general functioning. Symptoms must not result from a physiological effect of a substance or general medical condition.

Symptoms must last longer than two weeks or cause significant functioning impairment (excessive preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideations/thoughts, psychotic symptoms, and/or psychomotor retardation).

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Treatment Options
What Are Some Treatment Options And/Or Ways Of Relieving Depression?
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As it is, I personally consider depression to be a bio-psycho-social issue, in that it encompasses the biological (neurological) functioning, psychological (cognitive) functioning, and social functioning of an individual. As such, it can be treatment through a variety of options, generally with psychoactive medications, cognitive psychotherapy, and/or social (behavioral) lifestyle changes.

Typical anti-depressant medications are:

  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors-MAOIs
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors-SSRIs

The two main forms of cognitive psychotherapy for treating depression are:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-CBT
  2. Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy-REBT

In my opinion the top two social or lifestyle changes to treat depression are diet/exercise and support groups.

Clinical (severe) depression generally requires medication to be treated, while mild/moderate cases of depression may be treated effectively with psychotherapy and/or behavioral changes.

Personally, I feel all individuals with depression should include behavioral/lifestyle changes, specifically in terms of diet and exercise. Exercise has been/is being extensively studied to provide numerous physical, mental, and even social benefits that help treat depression.

Other fairly common non-traditional treatment options for depression are:

  • Light therapy
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Acupuncture
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Meditation
  • As well as numerous herbal and dietary supplements

An extremely large quantity of information on all of the above potential treatment options is available at numerous websites and mental health locations worldwide.

depression
+ Click To Enlarge.
I Feel All Individuals With Depression
Should Include Behavioral/Lifestyle Changes.

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Depression
How Can Depression Affect A Bodybuilder?
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Depression has a significant impact on any person. The psycho-social aspects of depression can significantly damper an individual's life.

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The recurring thought processes as well as the probable social isolation as well as the physiological effects will more than likely put the individual into a cycle of negativism that intensifies everything. Due to the high demands of bodybuilding, depression will have a significant impact on their performance.

The initial depressed mood or loss of interest/pleasure can obviously hinder an individual's desire to be consistent and intense with regards to their training or nutrition practices. Additionally the effects of depression on daily appetite as well as their sleep patterns can have a significant impact on that person's progression in bodybuilding.

The physiological symptoms may hinder or decrease that person's general activity required to live, which in turn would limit their bodybuilding progress. Finally, the feelings and delusional thoughts would simply make getting through day by day on such a tight training/dieting schedule extremely difficult on one's psyche.

As you can see, depression in general has a profound impact on all aspect of one's life. If that individual desires to have much progress in terms of their bodybuilding training. It would be almost imperative that they find a way to control or treat their depression.

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Bonus Question
Have You Or Someone You Know Suffered From Depression? How Did You/They Deal With It?
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When I was younger, I had what I would consider mild/moderate depression. In my personal experiences, I was able to overcome it through lifestyle changes, which was rather easy due to my young age. It is a point of my life which I do not desire to think of and would rather not like to discuss on this forum.

Accordingly so, there are some key things I feel someone should attempt to initiate themselves before seeking psychotherapy or medication (unless the depression is severe), they are:

  • Begin a formal exercise program (seek a personal trainer if necessary)
  • Begin a healthy eating plan (seek a dietician if necessary)
  • Join some kind of group if able
  • Make steps to get out of the house and socialize with others
  • Begin goal setting towards what is ideal and start a plan of action toward such

Most importantly, it is imperative that the individual realizes they are not alone, whatever situation is causing their stress is not permanent, and that there are thousands of other people out there going through what they are.

The importance of family and friends for an individual going through a depressive period in their life is extremely important, in terms of helping them through their treatment as well as ensuring their physical safety during any possible suicidal periods.

Feel free to contact me if you desire more information about exercise and depression - it is a growing area of study, and as a graduate student in Sport and Exercise Psychology it is an extremely relevant topic within my educational program.

Jeffrey D.


2nd Place - mrkdrt
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Almost everyone has been in the situation feeling blue or depressed, from a few hours to several days. Major depressive disorders though, last more than a couple of weeks, and is a serious psychological disorder, with changes in physiology. Most of us can relate to feeling depressed, and can understand how this problem may affect our health if ignored for too long.

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Symptoms
What Are Some Symptoms Of Depression?
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Depression can affect your mood, behavior and thoughts. You may feel 'depressed' for the better part of a day, each day, and may feel worthless or blame yourself undeservedly, and may have trouble focusing and making decisions. You may also lose energy, or interest in any pleasurable activity, and sleeping and eating may be troubled. You may also be stuck on being alone, and staying in. On a grim note, thoughts of death or suicide are also common in depressed people.

For a short spell of depression, most of the time, only a few of these symptoms are around. If you find yourself having most of the symptoms, more than 5, then it is possible you may be clinically depressed, and should visit a doctor to make a proper diagnosis. 1

depression
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You May Lose Energy, Or Interest In Any Pleasurable Activity.

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Treatment Options
What Are Some Treatment Options And/Or Ways Of Relieving Depression?
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To relieve depression, try to keep yourself in a group of supportive people and steal away from unnecessary stressors. If you can think of what stressor may be causing your depression, take it out of your life as soon as possible.

Having a lifestyle similar to an athlete can really help. For diet, a nutrient-rich balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats, including fish oils, can help maintain healthy neurotransmitter levels. Also, exercise is helpful in maintaining healthy levels of neurotransmitters involved in depression, improving circulation and can release transmitters linked to pleasure.

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Exercise can give you a sense of pride, and worth, so you may not feel as down on yourself. Also, exercise can help you become more aware of your mind and body, which can be fairly therapeutic.

For therapeutic treatments of clinical depression, behavior and cognitive therapies can help control or relieve symptoms of depression. For severe cases, ECT and TMS are used discretely.

As far as pharmaceutical drugs go, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are all carefully prescribed to help in psychological depression.

Taking a natural and supplementary route, St. John's Wort, Rhodiola rosea and 5-HTP can help maintain a non-depressed mood. (2)

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Depression
How Can Depression Affect A Bodybuilder?
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Excess stress on your mind and body, common in depressed people, can result in decreases in immunity, and strength. These of course are necessary in bodybuilding to recover and put in work.

Depression can disrupt eating patterns, making meals hard to get in or resist, depending on your fitness goal. Disrupted sleep patterns can make recovery difficult, or keep your body fatigued.

Also, without any motivation to get in the gym, or go out for that run, work can't be done to help you towards your goal. With motivation, a fatigued body and an unfocused mind won't help at all pushing weight or running those miles.

Another risk a bodybuilder may have with depression is dependency on drugs or certain substances. This can be a bigger problem if the athlete is depressed about not having an ideal body, or has just lost a contest, for example.

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Bonus Question
Have You Or Someone You Know Suffered From Depression? How Did You/They Deal With It?
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Like I mentioned first, nearly everyone has been depressed in some form. While the severity and seriousness can vary among people, most can relate to the feeling of depression.

I have had shorter stints of depression, but never longer than a few days. I have used St. John's Wort, and it did elevate my mood somewhat, but more greatly helped against anxiety and panic attacks.

I've always been active, so the lack of activity at first doesn't bother me, but on further days, starts making me anxious. This gives me a mild anxiety attack that distracts from the depressive lack of motivation and makes me get back into it. This little bit of activity alone usually is enough to help me out of my mild depression.

Cheers!
mrkdrt

References:

  1. DSM-IV - American Psychiatric Association
  2. Kosslyn and Rosenberg (2005)


3rd Place - Opiewags99
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Depression is a common but serious issue that affects many people. If gone untreated, it can become a severe threat to one's health.

dots
Symptoms
What Are Some Symptoms Of Depression?
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Everyone goes through times in their life when they experience extreme emotional highs as well as well as the opposite, emotional low points. Typically, these periods consisting of extreme emotion levels are instigated by natural occurrences in life, such as the birth of a child or at the other end of the spectrum, the death of a family member.

Feeling sadness for these types of occurrences is a natural and unavoidable part of life; sometimes the sadness can be so unbearable that you feel as if you can't go on. But then it passes over time.

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But what if you're feeling that same level or sadness for no apparent reason, or the sadness from the happening doesn't diminish over time? This is essentially what can be referred to as a form of depression.

Depression is typically associated with feelings of sadness, but there are a number of symptoms that it can entail. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Drastic fluctuations in mood
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Lowered feelings of self-worth and lack of self-confidence
  • Contemplation of Suicide
  • Changes in overall feeling of wellness
  • Changes in body composition

Of course this short list does not include every possible symptom and sign, but you can begin to understand that depression transcends the barrier of simple feelings of sadness. Depression is truly a debilitating condition that can be detrimental to living a productive life.

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Treatment Options
What Are Some Treatment Options And/Or Ways Of Relieving Depression?
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There are an abundance of methods to treat depression, and they're usually based on the underlying cause of the depression. First and foremost, if it has come to a point where you simply can not handle the depression, medical attention should be seen. Doctors have the ability to prescribe an abundance of medications that can immediately and effectively handle most problems.

Seeing as you're reading an article about it here, rather than at your doctor's office, you are looking for an alternative method to cope. Here's some good advice that you will be able to find in an article to deal with it: Find what makes you happy in life, and do it.

As simple and as silly as that sounds, it makes a boat-load of sense if you think about it. For example, if swimming laps makes you happy, and you never do it, why not join the local gym and actually swim laps a couple times a week?

If fishing makes you happy, why not head out on Saturday mornings to watch the sunrise at a nearby lake while catching trout?

Truthfully, whether you suffer from depression or not, this type of advice can literally make anyone a happy person, because for some reason people choose not to partake in their favorite events, whether it be because of obligations or as simple a thing as laziness.

If you can't fit it into your schedule, you need to re-prioritize your life, because happiness is one of the most important things to achieve in life. Now that we've strayed from the topic at hand, let me simplify what I've just said:

Ways to deal with depression:

  • Most importantly, see a doctor
  • Find what makes you happy, and do it
  • Stay close to the people you really care about, and avoid people that you don't
  • Work on self-esteem

Overall, work on being 'you', and being the person you want to be in life. Striving to reach your goals will help give you direction and newfound meaning to life.

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Depression
How Can Depression Affect A Bodybuilder?
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Depression has the distinct ability to lower anyone's desire to do the things they love. This is also true for bodybuilding. If you are suffering from severe depression, it's likely you might not even have the motivation to set foot out of the door to head to the gym.

Even if you make it there, you might feel like just sitting on one of the benches, hoping that motivation will mystically come. It is really a detriment to someone wanting to achieve a goal, such as a bodybuilder striving for a great physique.

depression
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You Might Not Even Have The Motivation
To Set Foot Out Of The Door To Head To The Gym.

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Bonus Question
Have You Or Someone You Know Suffered From Depression? How Did You/They Deal With It?
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I actually dated a girl who suffered from severe depression. She went through periods of moodiness all the way up to days where she would cry uncontrollably for hours at a time. It was absolutely heart-breaking to witness.

She went to the doctor and was prescribed a mood stabilizing medicine. In addition to that, she made a few lifestyle changes, such as joining the YMCA and getting back into shape. The medicine combined with the positive changes caused by her new exercise regimen helped her build confidence which has since abolished the problem almost completely.

Thanks for reading!
-K (Opiewags99)