Staying the Course: 5 Ways to Avoid Relapse in Depression

Staying the Course: 5 Ways to Avoid Relapse in Depression

By Amy Abbott Published at August 2, 2013 Views 5,478 Comments 2 Likes 3

Depression can take a long-term toll on the body, mind and spirit. Staying pro-active, as with any other chronic condition such as lupus or diabetes, keeps body, mind and spirit in balance.

Engagement in all aspects of your health may help avoid relapse, which does not have to be an inevitable part of the demon depression.

The most important aspect of avoiding relapse is to stay on top of how you are feeling, know what triggers a depressive attitude, and when and how to seek help.

Let's look at five additional ways to help you avoid relapse.

1. Mind your three squares. If we think of our physical bodies as an automobile — perhaps a fine vintage Jaguar — giving the engine the most desirable fuel makes for an effective, running machine.

Beth Reardon, Duke University, suggests five foods can help depression symptoms: omelets, nuts and seeds, cold-water fish, ancient grains and green tea. From the complex carbs of quinoa to the magnesium in nuts and seeds, these foods offer nutritional support to avoid relapse.

2. Maintain to fitness routine. Regular exercise is another tool in the arsenal against relapse; release of endorphins elevates mood and reduces stress. WebMD states, "The feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as euphoric. That feeling, known as a runner's high, can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life."

3. Get a kitty or guinea pig. Mayo Clinic reports that formal pet therapy, as well as pet ownership, may heal and lessen depression and fatigue. Formal pet therapy involves a trained pet therapist. Caring for an animal at home can also reduce stress, increase self-esteem and provide comfort.

4. Stay on your meds. Some individuals who find great improvement with anti-depressant medications want to stop taking them. Before making changes, talk to your medical professional. Can a diabetic go off insulin? Your physician can outline the consequences of change.

The pharmaceutical market today offers a variety of anti-depressant medications, though its still popular to "bash" these prescription pills, which may be life-savers for millions of people. An article in The Atlantic by Maura Kelly disses the anti-anti-depressant folks and quotes Dr. Peter Kramer, author of "Listening to Prozac," "[I]t is dangerous for the press to hammer away at the theme that antidepressants are placebos. They're not. To give the impression that they are is to cause needless suffering."

5. Try methods that are off the beaten path. Many individuals with depression try alternative treatments for both mind and body, including herbal remedies and supplements, yoga, Tai Chi and Reiki While each may provide relief, make sure to always check with your medical professional.

With any chronic condition, especially one involving our complex brains, there is no easy answer, or cure.

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