As you are on your way to overcoming your depression, it is not uncommon for your depression symptoms to flare up again. You might experience a few bad days, sometimes referred to as setbacks, which are common hurdles in depression treatment that can slow a patient’s progress, says David Blackburn, PhD, a psychologist at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas. Setbacks can unfortunately cause a vicious cycle, since they can often worsen a person’s depression symptoms. “They might get even more discouraged than they already are,” Blackburn explains.“ Try some of these strategies when you feel yourself slipping back into your depression:
- Use Coping Techniques: Try to remember the strategies that you learned during your treatment of depression, such as avoiding thoughts that tend toward the absolute- “I can never do anything right.” Blackburn says that people who suffer from depression should try to take stressful events in stride and stop fixating on situations they have no influence over. “It’s important to recognize that you, as an individual, cannot control a situation or people in it,” Blackburn says. “The only thing you can control is how you respond.”
- Improve Dietary and Exercise Habits: If you take care of your body, you will feel better, both mentally and physically. Even just a small amount of physical activity will improve your outlook. Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetable per day, as well as plenty of whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
- Ask About Adjusting Your Medication: If you are taking medicine for your depression, setbacks can occur if the medication becomes less effective. Sometimes a simple switch is all that is needed to move forward. If you feel that your medicine is causing your setbacks, speak with your doctor.
- Consider Psychotherapy: If you have been managing your depression with medication alone, you might find that adding psychotherapy to your treatment regimen might be beneficial. “Medication can improve your mood to the point where psychotherapy can be more successful,” Blackburn says.