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Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural
therapy (CBT), are often used for mild depression
that isn't improving or moderate depression. Anti-
depressants are also sometimes prescribed.
For moderate to severe depression, a combination
of talking therapy and antidepressants is often rec-
ommended. If you have severe depression, you
may be referred to a specialist mental health team
for intensive specialist talking treatments and pre-
scribed medication.
Many people with depression benefit by making
lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise,
cutting down on alcohol, giving up smoking and
eating healthily.
Reading a self-help book or joining a support group
are also worthwhile. They can help you gain a bet-
ter understanding about what causes you to feel
depressed. Sharing your experiences with others in
a similar situation can also be very supportive.
There are some key steps you can take to lift your
mood and help your recovery from depression.
It's very important to take your antidepressants as
prescribed, even if you start to feel better. If you
stop taking them too soon, your depression could
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any
questions or concerns about the medication you're
taking. The leaflet that comes with your medication
will have information about possible interactions
with other medicines or supplements.
Check with your doctor first if you plan to take any
over-the-counter remedies such as painkillers, or
any nutritional supplements. These can sometimes
interfere with antidepressants.
Exercise and a healthy diet can make a significant
difference to how quickly you recover from depres-
sion. Both will improve your general health as well.
A healthy diet can help lift your mood. In fact,
eating healthily seems to be just as important for
maintaining your mental health as it is for prevent-
ing physical health problems.
Research suggests that exercise may be as effective
as antidepressants at reducing the symptoms of
Being physically active can lift your mood,
reduce stress and anxiety, encourage the release of
endorphins (your body's feel-good chemicals) and
improve self-esteem. Exercising may also be a good
distraction from negative thoughts, and it can im-
prove social interaction.
It can be easy to rush through life without stopping
to notice much. Paying more attention to the pres-
ent moment to your own thoughts and feelings,
and to the world around you can improve your
mental wellbeing. Some people call this awareness
"mindfulness", and you can take steps to develop it
in your own life.
The National Institute for Health and Care
Excellence (NICE) recommends "mindfulness based
cognitive therapy" for people who are currently
well but have experienced three or more previous
episodes of depression. It may help prevent a fu-
ture episode of depression.
Sharing a problem with someone else or with a
group can give you support and an insight into
your own depression. Research shows that talking
can help people recover from depression and cope
better with stress.
You may not feel comfortable about dis-
cussing your mental health and sharing your dis-
tress with others. If this is the case, writing about
how you feel or expressing your emotions through
poetry or art are other ways to help your mood.