Recovering from depression requires a multifaceted approach. Many people begin by talking to their family doctor and often are prescribed medications for depression. This is a very good start, but this one piece is not enough to complete the puzzle of a full recovery from depression.
Consider the metaphor of a wheel on a bicycle: it has many spokes. All the spokes must be present for the wheel to function properly.
It’s the same with healing from depression.
There are many spokes. In other words, a complete healing from depression requires that many aspects are in place. It’s only when these are addressed that recovery can be achieved.
Here are some of those aspects in no order:
Your family practitioner or internist can prescribe medications for depression; however, a psychiatrist is the recommended specialist for these types of drugs. A thorough evaluation by a psychiatrist will ensure you are on the correct medication. You may not even need medication, but it’s always a good idea to be evaluated to rule it out.
Research has shown the benefits of counseling for dealing with depression. Usually medication alone will not do the trick. There is no substitute for a one-on-one therapeutic relationship with a qualified, licensed therapist. Find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and trust.
3. Medical Evaluation
A thorough medical evaluation with blood tests to rule out other causes is needed. There are some medical conditions—such as thyroid issues and anemia—that can mimic depression. See your family doctor or an internist to rule out these and any others.
A healthy & balanced diet of unprocessed foods is a good start. You need to have the proper amounts of carbohydrate, protein, and healthy fats. Speak with a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or naturopathic doctor. Supplements, herbals, and vitamins/minerals—such as Vitamin D, B Vitamins, and fish oil—may be needed.
5. Social Support & Relationships
Healthy, supportive relationships go a long way in recovering from depression. It may seem difficult to reach out to friends and family during this time, but it’s crucial. Find a support group or inquire with a faith community about resources that are available for you to build friendships.
6. Life Purpose
Having a purpose in life is necessary to feel positive and good about yourself and your future. Additionally, it can instill hope for the future. If you struggle in this area, a counselor or life coach can be a valuable resource. Try volunteer work as a start. It’s difficult to feel down about yourself when you are serving those in need.
If you think you might be depressed or are having trouble addressing all the aspects above, I can help. As a licensed professional counselor with specific training and experience in working will all types of depression, I am available to get you on the healing path.
Stacey Wald, LPC, RD