DEALING WITH DEPRESSION

FACTORS THAT CAUSE OR CONTRIBUTE TO DEPRESSION
– loss of relationships or social standing
– loneliness
– unemployment or financial problems
– childhood deprivation or trauma
– drug and alcohol use
– some physical illnesses and medication

WHAT TO DO
– remember that depression after a sudden loss often resolves on its own over several months
– develop a network of supportive relationships rather than relying on one person
– stay active every day  (even when you don’t feel like it)
– have a check-up to rule out physical causes of depression (eg. anemia, B12, hypothyroidism)
– decrease use of drugs and alcohol
– make sure you are getting good medical care if you have a chronic illness

DIET AND EXERCISE
– the benefits of exercise on mood is greater than medication in many cases
– foods that can contribute to mood problems include sugars and processed foods
– supplements useful in depression are B vitamins, vitamin D (2,000 IU/day) and omega 3 fatty acids (1,000 mg/day of EPA + DHA)

ANTI-DEPRESSANT DRUGS
– anti-depressants can help in severe depression but are less effective in other forms of depression
– anti-depressants take 2 or more weeks to start working
– if there is no improvement after 8 weeks, switching to a different anti-depressant sometimes works
– in most cases, a plan should be in place for coming off anti-depressants after 6-12 months
– when coming off anti-depressants, taper down gradually over 2-3 months to avoid withdrawal symptoms
– see here for more information about anti-depressants

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
In case of risk to life or physical safety, call 911 or go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.
Crisis services are available at:
Toronto Distress Centres 416-408-4357
Gerstein Centre 416-929-5200
CAMH Emergency Department 416-535-8501

SEE ALSO
On Feeling Depressed
– Overcoming Bad Inner Voices
– The Wisdom of Pessimism
– Losers and Tragic Heroes
– How to Get Over Someone
– How To Get Over Rejection