How To Cure Depression – Steps You Can Take To Get Back On Track
By Julia Thomas
Updated June 12, 2019
One of the first questions you may ask when you get a diagnosis of depression is: Can depression be cured? It's definitely true that many people who are depressed get treatment and then are no longer depressed. That certainly sounds like a cure! So what is the depression cure?
As it turns out, there are many ways of treating depression, but there isn't one cure for depression that's guaranteed to work for every person every time. What you can do is take it one step at a time, getting the treatment for depression you need from whatever source works for you. Here are some steps to take toward overcoming your depression.
1. Work on Your Lifestyle
Developing healthy habits is a good place to start if your depression is mild. If it's more severe, you can work on this while you're getting treatment. Having a better lifestyle might not cure depression, but it can certainly increase your ability to fight it. What's more, these are things you can do safely on your own before you even have time to consider other ways to treat depression. A healthy lifestyle will not only make you less prone to depression but it will improve your life in many other ways as well. Start by adopting healthy habits and routines in the following areas.
Eat the right amount of healthy foods every day. Make sure to get enough vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins. Add some healthy fats from sources like salmon, olive oil, or avocados. Avoid heavy fried foods and excessive amounts of sugar. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Good Sleep Habits
Try to sleep the right amount of time every night. For most adults, seven to nine hours is best. Practice good sleep hygiene by using your bedroom only for sleep and sex, keeping your bedroom dark and cool, putting away electronics at least an hour before bedtime, and avoiding naps during the day.
Exercise at a level that's right for you. You'll feel worse if you overdo it, but you do need a bit of a challenge every day. For some people, taking a short walk will make a big difference. If you can manage it, more strenuous exercise may have even greater benefits.
Meditating can help clear your mind of depressive thoughts. Simply sit comfortably, choose an object on which to focus your gaze, and let your mind drift. If thoughts begin to bubble up, notice them but don't cling to them. Your mind doesn't have to be completely empty as you meditate. You just have to relax and notice your thoughts without judgment, letting them pass without ruminating on them.
Join a yoga class or do simple yoga exercises while watching a video. Yoga combines mental and physical relaxation, focus, and fitness in one discipline that can be adapted for nearly anyone.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits
You may be able to drink a moderate amount of alcohol with no ill effects if you aren't depressed. However, when you have depression, avoiding alcoholic drinks can help you recover faster. Also avoid street drugs, nicotine, and excessive caffeine during this time.
2. Explore Natural Treatments for Depression
Once you're doing everything you can to have a healthy lifestyle, it's time to look further for more helpful depression cures. Knowing how to treat depression naturally may be the first step to getting better. Treating depression naturally is relatively safe, easy, and inexpensive in most cases. Here are some possible solutions for how to cure depression naturally.
Herbal remedies have been used for depression for thousands of years - possibly since the dawn of humankind. Here are some of the herbs you can use to cure depression or at least minimize the symptoms.
- John's wort
- Ginkgo biloba
Probiotics are emerging as a possible new depression treatment. In fact, you might have already heard someone proclaim, "Probiotics cured my depression!" Honestly, there's really no evidence that probiotics have any effect on depression at all. They can improve your gut health and it doesn't hurt anything to take them. But if depression is affecting your daily functioning, probiotics probably aren't enough to cure depression for you.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin and mineral supplements may help with your depression if you have a deficiency in them. If your blood levels are already normal, taking huge amounts of vitamins and minerals can do more harm than good. At best, the excess will be flushed naturally out of your system without doing anything. At worst, you can suffer serious adverse effects.
Other natural depression cures that you can get over the counter and take orally include:
- Fish oil capsules
- 5-HTP supplements
- SAMe supplements
3. Find Out About Other Alternative Treatments For Depression
Treating depression successfully usually requires more than changing your lifestyle. A next step to try is searching through other alternate treatments for depression. Here are two to consider.
Magnetic Treatment for Depression
New treatments for depression can provide some relief. One method uses magnets. Called TMS treatment for depression, it's done by placing a magnetic coil on your scalp. The coil gives a magnetic pulse that reaches your brain. The power of the magnet affects the parts of your brain that help decrease activity related to depression.
Acupuncture is one of the alternate treatments for depression that come from Chinese medicine. The acupuncturist inserts needles into your skin at specific points. The traditional view is that acupuncture activates the Qi, or energy, in your body. However, today, acupuncturists in the West generally believe that it works through the nervous and hormonal systems. Acupuncture can help reduce the severity of depression.
4. Consider the Conventional Route
What if you've tried all the above steps with no relief? Is there a cure for depression in your case? If natural methods don't work for you, you may need clinical depression treatment. This is done through your doctor or psychiatrist as well as your therapist and other specialists.
Medications for Depression
If your depression is moderate to severe, you might have major depressive disorder. In that case, you need to see a psychiatrist. This doctor can diagnose your mental condition and offer major depressive disorder treatments. Often, one treatment for major depressive disorder that psychiatrists and other doctors use is medications. Prescription drugs for depression have to be tested and need to be approved for medical use. However, they may still have side effects and should always be monitored by a doctor.
Some of the types of medication used for depression are:
- SSRIs like Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft
- SNRIs like Cymbalta, Pristiq, and Effexor
- Tricyclic antidepressants like Elavil, Tofranil, and Pamelor
- MAOIs like Nardil and Parnate
- Atypical antidepressants like Wellbutrin and Desyrel
The type of antidepressant your doctor will prescribe for major depression treatment depends on many factors. In addition, it's impossible to be sure which one is best for each individual. So your doctor needs to follow your progress to determine the right dose for you and whether another medication would be better.
Psychotherapy is not the newest treatment for depression, but it's typically a very effective one. Therapy involves talking to a counselor about your symptoms, stressors, relationships, and life situations. Therapy works for child, adult, elderly, and teen depression treatments. Yet, it has none of the harmful side effects that can come with medications.
Your therapist can use a variety of techniques to help you discover how to choose healthier thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. They also provide emotional support as you struggle to find your way out of the depressive condition. Talking to a therapist is easy when you go to BetterHelp. Through online therapy, you can work on your problems at the time and place that's right for you.
5. Ask Your Doctor About Severe Depression Treatment
If you've already tried lifestyle changes, natural treatments, standard medical treatments, and therapy without the results you need, ordinary treatments for major depressive disorder might not be enough for you. In this case, you may need to consider extraordinary measures. Here are two your doctor may recommend for difficult-to-treat depression.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) used to go by the name "shock therapy." In the past, it was dangerous, painful, and sometimes had devastating effects. However, in recent years, it's been refined to be much safer, more comfortable, and more effective. The way it's done now is by passing a well-controlled electrical current through your brain while you're under general anesthesia. It can be very effective for treatment-resistant depression. However, it might be a last resort of all the ways to treat depression.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation
So how is depression treated when it just won't go away? Is depression curable even then? For those whose depression is both severe and long-lasting, vagus nerve stimulation may offer hope. This is a surgical procedure, so it's reserved for the most stubborn depressions. The doctor implants a device that sends and receives messages between your vagus nerve and your brain. The treatment may take up to six months or more to work, but it can eventually reduce the symptoms and change your brain to make you less susceptible to depression.
6. Start Treatment and Follow Through
Whether you choose one treatment method or a more well-rounded holistic treatment for depression, you won't likely get better until you begin treatment. In fact, you may have to follow through with treatment for weeks or even months before you see improvement. The good news is that there is a cure for depression for most people. So, continue on the quest for good mental health until you find the solution that works for you. You may find help quickly or it may take longer. Either way, treatment has the potential to make your life happier, richer, and more rewarding.