How to Avoid Depression Relapse

Depression relapse

Depression is a severe and life-changing medical condition.  The National Institute of Mental Health says 16.2 million adults in the United States or 6.7 percent of all adults have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Many people seek treatment but studies show 50% of people who have one major episode of depression will relapse. This is the scariest thought and if you are in the process of recovering, it is important to learn how to prevent relapse. There are many ways of avoiding depression relapse from proper medication management, healthy lifestyle, to avoiding stress at school by using a writing service for your assignments.

This article discusses some of the main factors behind depression relapse and what you can do to prevent them.

Contributing Factors for Depression Relapse

If you have been going through depression treatment or you have suffered a depressive bout in the past, the last thing you want is to get back into that dark void. It is crucial that you learn possible contributing factors or triggers for relapse. They include:

  1. Life-altering changes: A big change such as job loss, loss of a loved one, physical injury, illness in the family, separation or divorce are some of the common triggers of depression relapse. These changes don’t have to be negative. For instance, childbirth can lead to postpartum depression.
  2. Diagnosis of life-threatening disease: A diagnosis of a serious disease such as cancer can lead to a return of depression.
  3. Less effective medication:  If your antidepressants don’t work or they become ineffective over time, it is possible for depression to return.
  4. A family history of depression: There is a correlation between depression relapse and high neuroticism and poor social support.
  5. Poor medication management: Discontinuing medication is a major cause of depression recurrence.
  6. Negative ruminations: Negative self-referential ruminations account for a large percentage of depression relapses as an individual dwells on his or her personal flaws or shortcomings.

How to Avoid Depression Relapse

Now that we have identified several common triggers for depression, it is important to understand how to avoid relapse. Depression is cyclic and often recurs. Because of this fact, people with depression need to remain vigilant even if they feel better.  

Below are some of the methods you can use to avoid depression relapse:

  • Learn The Early Warning Signs

You can only manage what you know and for this reason, you need to know the early warning signs of relapse so you can act. These include subtle changes of thinking, feeling, and behavior which may indicate your mental health condition may become worse.

Watch out for changes in daily mood,  abnormal sleep patterns, recurring negative thoughts similar to those you had before the last episode of depression, loss of interest in sex, loss of appetite and irritability.  It is important to have a support system of people close to you who can notify you of any changes. Having gone through the debilitating phase of a depressive episode, you likely appreciate the need for prompt action to avoid a relapse.

  • Stay Healthy

Staying healthy plays a big role in the prevention of relapse. You need to eat the right foods as recommended by your doctor and exercise regularly. Studies show that regular exercise reduces depression on its own. Look for the best routines including yoga and tai chi to keep your body and mind balanced.

  • Stick To Your Medication

Proper medication management goes a long way in alleviating the risk of depression relapse. It is true that with time, you will feel fine and there may be a temptation to stop taking medication. However, this is a major cause of depression relapse so you should carefully observe your doctor’s orders.  

Keep all your mental health appointments and follow the treatment plan strictly. Many people who experienced depression are able to live happily without any relapse because they work closely with their doctor to find the right drug protocol for their needs.

  • Cognitive Therapy Or Mindfulness-Based Interventions

One of the main causes of depression relapse is negative self-referential rumination. This is a common situation where an individual dwells on all the negative things in his or her life. This may quickly lead to a recurrence of depression. In some cases, it is more serious than the previous episode.

Your doctor may recommend cognitive therapy as a way of managing your thinking patterns and dealing with negative thoughts. Mindfulness or paying full attention to your emotions is also a way of improving the cognitive symptoms of depression. It is a key component of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), an approach that combines mindfulness principles with cognitive therapy to prevent depression relapse.

  • Know your Vulnerabilities

Depression triggers may be unique to an individual and it is important to recognize things or events that significantly affect your emotions. Such events may include memorials, anniversaries of divorce or other important dates when something major changed in your life. By marking these dates on your calendar, it is possible to anticipate changes in mood and plan adequately to avoid relapse.

  • Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is an important part of treatment for many mental health problems and doctors recommend that every person should get enough sleep. If you have suffered depression before, your doctor will emphasize the importance of sleep in reducing stress and coping with the daily pressures in life.  

  • Learn To Manage Stressful Situations

Try to avoid stressful situations by not taking on too much. If a stressful situation is unavoidable, define the problem, set the goals you want to achieve, and brainstorm for solutions or the best way to cope. Evaluate the outcome to determine the success of your approach.  Do not approach stressful situations without a solid plan.

Other ways to avoid depression relapse include working on a positive attitude in life, avoiding alcohol, avoiding drugs and working with a support group. If writing your research papers is the source of your depression, you can use the best thesis writing professionals online to get the guidance you need.

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