This is a guest post from Steve Johnson.
While many treatments exist to help combat depression, some people struggle to gain control over their symptoms. This may be due to non-compliance, lack of access to appropriate healthcare, or complicated illnesses. People who are battling complicated mental illness or co-occurring conditions are at a much higher risk of attempting suicide. Similarly, suicide is more prevalent among adults who have alcohol or other substance abuse problems. Fortunately, there are several key concepts that are essential for long-term recovery and suicide prevention.
Education and Self-Advocacy
“Knowledge is power,” is an often-used quote. First attributed to Francis Bacon in Meditationes Sacrae all the way back in 1597, this phrase has been quoted throughout history by the likes of Thomas Jefferson and many other highly influential people, and for good reason. In the world of depression, it couldn’t be truer: Understanding how your mental illness operates, and the mechanisms it uses to take over your thoughts and emotions, is step one in effectively battling your disease.
The University of Michigan’s Depression Center explains, “The first step is to educate yourself about your diagnosis, so that you understand your illness and how the symptoms you experience impact your daily life. Education also means understanding your treatment options.” When you’re armed with knowledge and a treatment program, you can then effectively self-advocate with your healthcare providers and others in your life.
Cultivate Supportive Relationships
Even people who don’t suffer from depression need a support system to get through tough times, so it’s definitely critical to the well-being of those who are battling depression. Surrounding yourself with people who love and support you provides a lifeline when your symptoms start to take over or become too much.
Even if you’ve taken a leap of faith and moved to another state – or even another country – to give yourself a fresh start, technology makes it possible to stay close to your loved ones. From online chat groups to a simple phone call, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and loved ones no matter how geographically dispersed you are.
This support system can also serve as part of your crisis plan: Provide members of your support system with the names and numbers of your other supporters and their roles. Make sure these people are aware of warning signs that may indicate you’re entering a state of crisis, that way they can work together to intervene and facilitate treatment if needed. If necessary, you might want to appoint a trusted friend or relative with healthcare power of attorney so that they may make healthcare decisions on your behalf in a crisis.
Develop a Wellness Lifestyle
Effective long-term depression management often entails developing a holistic wellness plan that tends to your body and mind. Finding the system, routines, and habits that keep you healthy is a highly individualized process. You can rely on strategies that work for others as a stepping stone to developing your personal wellness lifestyle plan.
For instance, staying physically active can be effective for reducing the symptoms of depression. Likewise, some people find that pet therapy or pet ownership provides wellness benefits. You’ll also want to plan to spend adequate time outdoors when the sun is shining to soak up the Vitamin D, get plenty of rest, and commit to following a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals that keep your body functioning at its best. When you feel well physically, it can affect you mentally and emotionally in positive ways.
Maintain Treatment Compliance and Hope for the Future
Treatment compliance is essential for successful long-term management of depression and, in severe cases, for reducing the risk of self-harm or suicide. An effective treatment regimen will leave you feeling like yourself again, and it’s for this reason that some patients feel as though they no longer need their medications or therapy. Discontinuing your treatments without the supervision of your healthcare provider can be detrimental to both short-term and long-term depression management.
Stick to your treatment program as directed by your doctor or psychiatrist. If you feel like you’ve fully recovered, never veer off of your recommended treatments unless first discussing it with your healthcare providers.
With depression, long-term management is the key to lasting success and overall wellness.
Steve Johnson has always been dedicated to promoting health and wellness in all aspects of life. Studying in the medical field has shown him how important it is for reputable health-related facts, figures, tips, and other guidance to be readily available to the public. He created PublicHealthLibrary.org with a fellow student to act as a resource for people’s overall health inquiries and as an accurate and extensive source of health information. When he isn’t hard at work in his studies, Steve enjoys playing tennis and listening to his vintage record collection.
Image via Pixabay by Jill111.