How to Treat Mild Depression

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The word depression covers a broad swath of negative emotions. But to be diagnostic, it has to meet certain criteria, one of which is the length and pattern of the problem. For this reason, the term “mild depression” isn’t really accurate. Instead, if the condition doesn’t meet the standard for clinical or major depression, it is called dysthymia. If symptoms don’t rise to the level of dysthymia, it isn’t properly a mood disorder at all and just falls into the category of the normal variations people feel – from feeling down to having the blues.

Treatment is usually matched against the severity of the condition. For dysthymia, medication may not be needed and there are ways to treat this milder type of depression yourself.

Address the cause

When an identifiable reason for the condition exists, it is sometimes possible to address the cause directly. We do suffer losses and real reasons for sadness in our lives. Some common life events that can manifest in mild depression are:
• Loss of a job
• Illness
• Death of a loved one
• Financial ruin
• Divorce
These and other sources of negative emotions can be helped by seeking out and participating in a support group. Misery shared is sometimes misery blunted.

Time

One of the major differentiators between mild and more severe depression is the length of time the condition remains. When dysthymia is triggered by an adverse life event, time doesn’t “heal all wounds,” but the simple act of overlaying the painful experience with more positive experiences will tend to mitigate the condition.

It’s important to realize that, unlike a case of the blues, mild depression can last weeks or longer. It isn’t reasonable to expect a miraculous change of mood, especially while you are still adapting to your new situation. Coping is a useful strategy to lessen the impact of the depression, but the battle can be a long one.

Health

It’s a truism that the healthier we are, the better we feel. This is especially true with dysthymia. Exercise has been shown time and again to produce real benefits – not just physically, but mentally as well. Along with getting out for a brisk walk or other moderate exercise, paying attention to diet is important. When depression seems to zap energy and make it just too difficult to eat well, that’s the tip-off to pay special attention to getting nutritionally solid meals.

Along with diet and exercise, regular sleep patterns help a great deal. Too little or too much sleep is one symptom of depression. You can help break the cycle by sticking to a regular schedule.

A trusted confidant

For most of us, sharing our experiences helps a great deal, especially with mild depression. And with the advent of the Internet, there are many resources available. This outlet can offer privacy and is open 24 hours a day. Finding a group, forum or chatroom where you can honestly share with others experiencing a similar condition will help.

An offline confidant is even better. Studies show that face to face interactions actually help us connect at a deeper level and are more beneficial than a phone call or other communication medium. If you have family or friends you can turn to, this is well worth taking the risk of embarrassment. Professional help is also available, with talk therapy a very valuable treatment. There is value in having a neutral third party who is trained and experienced with depression. They can also advise you if the depression is more severe than you suspect.

 
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