Lesser-Known Ways to Help Improve Depression

Lesser-Known Ways to Help Improve Depression

Each year in the United States, approximately 21 million people have at least one major depressive episode. Of this number, about nine million people are treating the issue with medications, a third of them unsuccessfully, as they have treatment-resistant depression.

Our goal with sharing these numbers is not only to demonstrate how prevalent depression is (you’re not alone!) but also to underscore that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to treatment.

Dr. Matthew Goldenberg, a board certified psychiatrist in Santa Monica, California, understands what may cure one person's depression may not work for another. This is why we want to discuss different ways in which we (and you) can address the issue.

Here, we look beyond antidepressants to the lesser-known steps you can take to improve your depression and mental health as a whole.

Getting the right diagnosis

One of the most important steps you can take is to have a psychiatrist, like Dr. Goldenberg, properly diagnose your depression. There are different causes of depression that range from major depressive disorder, to bipolar disorder, to postpartum, to complicated bereavement/grief, to situational sadness, and so understanding what is causing your mood regulation issue is very important, because it impacts what treatments are most likely to be effective.

The way we treat major depressive disorder versus seasonal depression disorder or bipolar depression can be quite different, so it’s important to receive an accurate diagnosis. 

Psychotherapy

When you suffer with depression, you can feel alone. It can make it hard to remember the last time you did not have depression. It can be hard to believe you will ever feel happy again. A primary goal of psychotherapy is to provide you an outlet for communicating your difficulties and the support needed to process them. The ability to talk about your problems, your frustrations, and your fears, and to feel safe and heard when you share them, is critical when it comes to your mental health.

Dr. Goldenberg, and the therapists he works with and refers patients to, are not just great listeners, they are trained and experienced mental health experts who can help guide you through your thoughts, behaviors and past to help you reframe them and change your thoughts, behaviors and feelings. With psychotherapy, Dr. Goldenberg helps reinforce positive thinking patterns, as well as positive and healthy behaviors, so that you can break free from what can feel like a seemingly hopeless depression cycle.

Processing trauma

About 70% of adults in the United States have experienced or witnessed trauma. If you are among this large group, your trauma could be the cause of or could be an underlying contributor to your depression. Through psychotherapy, Dr. Goldenberg, and his network of highly trained and experienced trauma therapists, can help you to work through trauma that you may not have processed and increase the likelihood of successfully resolving depression, anxiety and other issues that unresolved trauma can cause. 

Lifestyle adjustments

We understand that when you are depressed, it’s hard to muster the energy, motivation and drive to get out of bed, never mind make lifestyle adjustments. That said, it is well established that behavioral activation can have a huge role in improving your depression. Some of the common behaviors that promote healing and recovery from depression include: 

Sometimes, the most important activities are ones you previously did that help you to feel good and be more engaged in life. Sometimes, picking up a new practice like meditation can also be extremely helpful as it teaches you how to master your thoughts and stay present. There is a lot of research that has shown that diet, exercise and sleep are just as powerful as medications for many people. 

Dr. Goldenberg is happy to work with you to develop a personalized list of activities that might work best to improve your mood regulation.

The bottom line is that overcoming a disease like depression is easier, faster, and more successful if you use every tool available.

To help build your depression toolkit, you can start with a free, 10-minute phone call with Dr. Goldenberg, who treats patients in both California and Alaska. To get started, click here.

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