How to Fight Depression and Coping Strategies that Really Work

The question of how to deal with depression on an ongoing, everyday basis is one that millions of depression sufferers try to answer every day. From cognitive behavioral therapy to medication, from TMS therapy to a focus on quality sleep, there are many approaches to dealing with depression, and no two patients will respond exactly the same way to the same treatment. In most cases, it takes a combination of several of these solutions to fight depression effectively. As intimidating as the process of finding your ideal treatment can be, the variety of options now available has made coping with depression a more manageable task than it once was.

When in the grips of depression, making even small changes can feel overwhelming. Just like embarking on any other journey, the first step toward managing your depression can be the most daunting, so start with a step you know you can make. Maybe that step is becoming more physically active. While the word “exercise” may invoke thoughts of a trip to a crowded gym, it doesn’t have to mean that at all. Any movement that gets your muscles working can be helpful in dealing with depression. A walk around the block could be all it takes at first. Thirty minutes of exercise three times a week has been shown to have a positive effect on the symptoms of depression.

Sleep disorders and depression go hand-in-hand. For many people dealing with depression, insomnia is a common occurrence, while others struggle with oversleeping. The search for sleep of both the ideal quantity and quality can be a large part of coping with depression. If there are lifestyle changes that can help you achieve better sleep, this is another great place to begin. If you find that you’re staying up too late out of habit, try making some adjustments so you can prioritize sleep.

Of course, the sleep puzzle is often more complicated than deciding to get to bed earlier or wake up at a certain time. Depression-related insomnia can be stubborn, and when sleep does come, it may be fitful instead of restorative. At this point, medication can be helpful, whether in the form of prescription sleep aids or a more general prescription intended to treat other depression symptoms as well.

The traditional approach to managing depression generally involves psychopharmaceutical treatment, psychotherapy, or some combination of the two. A good therapist will help you deal with your depression by equipping you with some behavioral tools you can use to recognize depressive symptoms for what they are, allowing you to discard harmful thoughts and feelings. Psychotherapy has been shown to work as well as, and sometimes better than medication. This is not to discount the importance of medication as a treatment option. The upside of managing your depression with medication is that once the correct medication and dosage has been determined, dealing with depression may become a simple matter of taking a pill each day. When used in conjunction with psychotherapy, the results are encouraging. The downside of medication as a sole approach is that finding the correct variety and dosage can involve a bit of trial and error. With so many options, finding the best, most effective fit is a process. In addition to that, the full effects of a good antidepressant often take as long as six weeks to take full effect.

Another great option for managing and coping with depression is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. Often recommended for people whose depression hasn’t responded to medication, TMS has been recognized as achieving great results where medication has failed. TMS is a simple, non-invasive therapy that takes about twenty minutes per session. A magnetic field is used to stimulate the portion of the brain that has been identified as responsible for many symptoms of depression. For many people, TMS is a great part of their everyday approach to managing and dealing with depression. If you have questions about TMS therapy and how it can fit into your plan for coping with depression, contact us. We’d love to discuss how TMS could help you take the next step in fighting your depression.

Meet Jonathan Horey, MD

Dr. Jonathan Horey became familiar with TMS while training and working at Columbia University in New York City where many of the early and important studies on TMS were conducted. Dr. Horey has since completed more extensive training in TMS and keeps himself up-to-date with the latest research on brain stimulation techniques, including TMS.