For those who suffer from depression, it can feel as things will never be normal again, and that the battle to feel anything-but-depressed is a lost cause. However, with therapy, and sometimes with medication and therapy, people suffering from depression can live the emotionally healthy, functioning lives that they deserve, and with a few simple pointers, can recognize the signs of a relapse and stop it in its tracks:
Why do relapses of depression occur?
This is not a question with a ‘one answer fits all’ solution, and there can be many triggers during a person’s life that can cause their depression to reoccur or intensify, and for many it may be the same trigger recurring again and again. Sometimes, the symptoms of depression may lie dormant and rear their head when certain stressors occur.
Recent research has even shown that some have a biological predisposition to recurrent depression or may suffer relapses as a result of incomplete courses of medication or therapeutic counseling sessions: Understandably, individuals may feel so good once their symptoms begin to disappear that they discontinue their treatment prematurely. The effects of this can be devastating for some though, and it’s always recommended to complete each line of treatment before re-evaluating things, or consulting a provider before tapering off either counseling or medication.
What may be a trigger for a depressive relapse?
Some triggers are out of the individual’s control, and what may make one person feel on top of the world can be a trigger for depression in someone else. Common triggers may include personal relationships and romances, and even after therapy and/or medication, as soon as the person enters back into a complicated intimate relationship, then their depression rears its’ ugly head again, and they find themselves back where they started.
With the high energy pace at which we all live our lives these days, coupled with pressures to succeed and be happy, it’s little surprise that many more of us are seeking professional help for mental health concerns than ever before.
What are the signs of a depression relapse?
With a lot of people, a change to their sleep patterns may be a strong indicator that all is not well and that they may be sinking back down into a depressive state. Prolonged feelings of sadness, irritability and anger, loss of appetite and lack of energy are all common signs of a relapse, too, as are feelings of worthlessness and wanting to end things.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, then please seek professional help as a matter of urgency. Nobody needs to go through such feelings alone, and while it may be a long journey, you can learn to love yourself again and to have a rich and fulfilled life.
How to prevent a return of depression:
One of the most important ways of avoiding a relapse is to continue seeking professional help (or make an appointment with a therapist or doctor if you haven’t discussed your symptoms with anyone yet); to talk with your loved ones and those you trust; and to avoid drugs and alcohol. Keeping busy may help, and so can exercise, as may being around other people and allowing yourself time to do the things in life that traditionally make you happy or give you a feeling of worth.
Try meditation, volunteering, or simply follow a healthy eating and exercise plan, but whatever you do, always remember that you are not alone and that you don’t deserve to be feeling the way you do.