How to Prevent a Relapse of Depression

A depressed man

One of the main reasons that depression is so difficult to treat is its tendency to reoccur with time. This news can be so discouraging especially when you are in the initial stages of depression treatment. A relapse happens when the troubling condition comes back or gets worse.

While depression may recur, the risk of a relapse can be prevented with a good treatment program. The rule of thumb is to avoid viewing depression as episodic illness and then once successfully treated, forgetting it as if it never occurred in the first place.

What Triggers a Relapse?

The first step for preventing a relapse of depression is to identify what triggers it, i.e., the relapse. The most common trigger occurs when you fail to finish your treatment, according to the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments. This may range from skipping therapy sessions to missing doses of the prescribed medication.

If the medication has unpleasant side effects, you should talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about it so that you can be given an appropriate substitute. Treating depression, just like any other chronic disease, requires commitment. This partly explains why the specialists handling your case insist that you should speak out whenever you are dissatisfied with the therapy sessions.

Additionally, self-criticism, pessimism and negative opinion of oneself may also trigger recurrence of depression. This occurs when you choose to dwell on your supposed failures, disappointments or flaws. That’s why it is advisable for you to control your thinking patterns as part of your strategy to prevent the recurrence of depression.

Another relapse trigger is inability or unwillingness to discover your own personal vulnerabilities that trigger depression. If you've suffered from depression before, you should be able to recognize the triggers. This implies that you must know which situations affect your behavior, mood and thinking patterns.

How to Prevent a Relapse

Preventing a relapse can oftentimes be impossible. However, you can prevent a major episode of depression by identifying the early symptoms and seeking treatment immediately. Normally, early relapse is linked to subtle signs such as sadness and mild irritability. At this point, it is important for you to contact your therapist or doctor. It is also good for you to take care of yourself and reach out to your support network in order to prevent the condition from progressing further.

Most patients who suffer from a relapse tend to feel overwhelmed and frustrated, since the condition can be difficult to treat. Nonetheless, the saving grace is that depression can be managed (or possibly eliminated) with healthy strategies and treatment. The definitive treatment for recurrent depression involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The combination is more effectual than either of the two techniques alone.

The Secret Lies in Commitment

The best strategy for ensuring that depression completely remains controlled especially for individuals who have suffered from multiple episodes is commitment. As a patient, you should be willing to commit wholeheartedly to the treatment program for as long as is necessary. This means that you should work on your treatment plan during both good and bad days. You should always stay alert to spot the unavoidable stressors that might trigger a relapse and learn how to manage them.


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