What to Do After Being Diagnosed with Depression

Although sadness is a common experience for everyone, not all have undergone the challenges of depression. If you have never struggled with depression, it is likely that you lack a complete understanding of the difficulties of living with this mental condition. 

The first and most important step is acknowledging that you are struggling with depression and anxiety. It may be difficult, and it may take some time to fully grasp your diagnosis, but the only way you can effectively manage it is to accept it. The earlier you acknowledge and accept the fact that you have depression, the more time you have to plan out what you will do to manage it. It is common to have negative thoughts, but with time, you can gain a greater understanding of treatment options and how to adjust your lifestyle to cope with symptoms. 

Coping with depression can be challenging, and it is natural to take some time to understand how the diagnosis may affect your life. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, and it can help you realize that you deserve to improve your well-being.

After that, you can concentrate on developing a strategy to manage the diagnosis. Seeking assistance from your doctor, who can direct and assist you in determining the appropriate treatment for you, is the most effective approach. You can also ask for a second opinion about your condition in order to determine what your next steps will be. 

Ask for a referral. 

If a general practitioner has diagnosed you, it is advisable to request a recommendation for a psychiatrist or mental health expert like a counselor or psychologist. While some general practitioners may be at ease prescribing psychiatric medication, the majority will encourage you to seek assistance from a specialist, primarily a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists may or may not provide therapy, but they can prescribe psychiatric medication as needed.

Start psychotherapy. 

When adjusting to life with depression or anxiety, psychotherapy is a crucial component. Psychotherapy, also known as talking therapy, involves collaborating with a mental health expert to develop new coping mechanisms, manage depression, and lessen anxiety. One popular type of psychotherapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps you challenge negative thinking patterns while teaching you effective ways to confront problems and obstacles in your life.

Several types of psychotherapy that are effective in managing depression are:

  • Problem-solving therapy. A form of CBT that teaches individuals skills to take charge of real-life problems and stressors, big or small, that may contribute to depression.
  • Behavioral activation therapy.  A type of therapy that aims to alleviate depression by encouraging individuals to actively seek out experiences and activities that bring them joy, thus reversing the negative spiral of depression.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  It aims to modify specific negative thought patterns, enabling individuals to better cope with challenging and stressful situations.
  • Interpersonal therapy. A structured, time-limited form of therapy that concentrates on identifying and improving problematic personal relationships and circumstances that are directly related to an individual’s current state of depression.
  • Self-management or self-control therapy is a form of behavioral therapy that trains individuals to reduce negative reactions to events and to decrease self-punishing behaviors and thoughts.

Learn the facts about depression. 

While your doctor can provide you with a diagnosis, there is still a vast amount of knowledge to be gained. A therapist can assist you in obtaining accurate information about depression. If you decide to do research on your own, it is important to ensure that the sources you are referring to are factual. 

Do a lifestyle check.

It may not be easy to change things that you are used to, like your eating habits. But you need to make changes for a healthier self. Although eating healthy food and exercising regularly will not cure depression, a healthier body can have a significant impact on your mental state. Studies on mood disorders demonstrate that consistent exercise and healthy eating habits can help alleviate depressive symptoms.

Follow your doctor’s and therapist’s orders. 

Compliance with your doctor’s or mental healthcare professional’s advice is crucial to any mental healthcare regimen. When dealing with depression or anxiety, it is not advisable to experiment with your medications on your own. Follow exactly the medication instructions provided by your doctor, including the dosage and time. Skipping even a few doses of your medication can disrupt this balance, and therefore, it is not recommended to change your dosage or schedule without your doctor’s approval.

Establish a support system. 

People who are diagnosed with depression may tend to withdraw from others, possibly due to feelings of shame, guilt, or fatigue from interacting with people. However, social interaction is crucial for overcoming depression, and having a supportive network can be essential when dealing with a diagnosis. It is advisable to inform people close to you about your condition, as they may have already suspected that you are experiencing depression. It may come as a surprise that they will offer support and encouragement.

Be kind to yourself. 

 Do not blame yourself for having depression. Remember that this is just another challenge you have to face in life. You are not alone in this battle. You have family and close friends who will understand and support you throughout your journey. You just need to be more patient and kinder to yourself. Depression is treatable. It is not the end of anything. You just have to do the best that you can to manage it. 

Mindshift Psychological Services offers psychotherapy for individuals dealing with depression. You may visit our website to learn more about our treatment programs. You may also contact us at (714) 584-9700 to schedule an appointment. 

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