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Vermont Therapists on Preventing Depression

For anyone who has struggled with depression in the past, just the thought of depression returning can be anxiety-inducing. In some cases it can lead to an increased likelihood of slipping back into a depressed state. Today we’re going to discuss the value of identifying and working to prevent depression. From the outset, we should note that we’re not posing a ‘mind-over-matter’ approach. Depression has many forms, many symptoms and treatment should be personalized.

The first step in prevention is recognizing the signs of depression. This can be harder than one might think. Most people don’t feel fine one day and deeply depressed the next. More often depression exists on a spectrum and one setback might lead to others which cause a slow progression of depressive symptoms. It can be hard to see that you’re slipping into a time of depression.

In some cases a friend might ask if you’re doing OK, or point out that you seem down. Even if that hasn’t happened many people can look at their current thoughts and behaviors and evaluate  whether they are depressed–even if it’s just mild depression. Keeping in touch with your thoughts and feelings is  how recognizing depression starts. 

  • Are you feeling run down or lethargic without being physically unwell?
  • Are you avoiding things that are usually a source of enjoyment?
  • Have you been eating or sleeping far more than usual?
  • Are you drinking or using drugs more frequently or in greater quantities than usual?

Your answers to questions like these may give you some insight into whether you are in (or heading into) a period of depression.

Next, you can think about whether there are clear explanations for how you’re feeling right now. If you’ve just lost a loved one, suffered a relationship breakup or lost a job, it might be entirely normal for you to feel defeated or unmotivated. If things have been on an even keel for a few months and you’re still seeing signs of depression, it might be time to think about treatment options. 

If you’re reading through these self-reflection steps and thinking you may be experiencing some symptoms of depression, there are steps you can take to slow (and reverse) the symptoms before they persist and / or worsen. Here are some questions to help start that process:

  • Think about your past experiences with depression. Were there tactics that helped? 
  • Were you able to involve friends or family to help you through a tough time when your symptoms were similar to the present?
  • Were there things you added to your routine that helped? Did you add a hobby or remove points of stress from your schedule?
  • Have treatment options like medication or talk therapy made a difference in the past?

Depression is often discussed like a cold or the flu; you either have it or you don’t. In reality, depression can present in many ways and it’s not always the same as it has been in the past.  Keeping track of how you’re feeling and behaving can help you track whether you are experiencing symptoms and how serious they are in the present.

If now is a good time to discuss talk therapy for depression or other symptoms you’re experiencing, let us know. We’re here to discuss treatment options and talk therapy can help those who are experiencing depression.

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