In the simplest and most common terms, depression is the state of experiencing extreme melancholy and sadness. Almost everyone finds themselves depressed at least once or twice in their lives. Studies indicate that women are twice as prone to bouts of depression as men. Unlike normal bouts of feeling "down in the dumps" or being "blue," depression can actually be serious and can pose a very real risk to people's health.
There are two general kinds of depression. The kind most people deal with is normal depression, which is just a casual downturn of mood, usually transitory. Depression of this kind is caused by something others might consider petty or trivial, such as feeling unfulfilled over your career or disillusionment over a choice. Other common reasons include breakups of relationships or adjustments to a new environment. Feelings of helplessness and lack of self-worth can also lead to depression. Usually, this kind of depression does not interfere heavily with your way of life and it generally goes away after a few days.
Clinical depression, on the other hand, is a more severe form of depression and is what doctors classify as a major depressive disorder. Usually, this kind of depression lasts more than two weeks. Unlike normal depression, clinical depression should be taken seriously, as it is often disabling and can significantly affect your way of life, habits and social interaction with others. In the most severe cases, clinical depression can even lead to contemplations of and the act of suicide.
In order to get rid of depression, you must know what category of depression you have, as one treatment may not work for the other. Also, it must be stressed that depression is a highly individualized problem; it is based on the person's unique behavioral, environmental and psychological environment. Nevertheless, there are general ways to get rid of depression.
If you're feeling down because you didn't get that raise, then perhaps talking with the boss about your merits might be in order. If you're sad because you envy a friend who gets all the attention due to their nice build, then working out in a gym or exercising might help you attain what they have and boost your self-esteem in the process. If you're depressed because you and your significant other had a fight, then a heart-to-heart talk might straighten things out. In short, to get rid of depression, you must know the underlying cause of it. Most often, knowing the root cause of the problem is enough to alleviate your feelings of melancholy and you will then be able to get a clearer idea of the ways to fix it.
Trying a new hobby or just engaging in activities will also help you improve your current condition, specifically by diverting your focus. Hanging out with friends or with like-minded individuals will keep you busy, which also applies to work or studying, so you won't have the time to dwell on your issues. Engaging in a new hobby will also help you channel all the excess unused energy you have instead of using it to mope around or feel gloomy. There are activities that you can undertake to keep you busy, which have been proven effective as a means of treatment for depression. Meditation, which is endorsed by the Mayo Clinic, is an excellent example. The research on the effects of meditation has been going on since the late 90s and so far, results have been positive and promising.
Talking with a friend or someone you trust is also a very good way to ease the burden of depression. Often, the person does not even have to be a professional psychologist or psychiatrist, just someone who understands what you're going through. Most people who are depressed just need an avenue to vent their thoughts and frustrations, so even if the other person doesn't give a concrete solution or any advice, the very act of listening is often enough to make the depressed person feel better.
Daily exercises can also help you overcome depression. Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, chemical compounds produced by the body that act as "pain-killers" and gives you a sense of well-being. Endorphins decrease the level of depression in people. Another nice side-effect of daily exercise is that it builds your body and improves your health, generally increasing your sense of well-being and confidence.
With clinical depression, a more serious and specific approach is needed. Often, the things you do to get rid of normal depression will not be enough for clinical or major depression. In cases of clinical depression, professional treatment and medication are needed.
Usually, psychotherapy and counseling are recommended for most clinically depressive patients. Professionals will be able to delve deeper into your psyche and help you understand the severity of your depression and the cause of it. Professional counselors also have clinical programs that help you cope with your depression step by step, gradually easing you out of your state.
There are also drugs and medications that can help you get rid of your depression. Antidepressants like Prozac and Celexa are often prescribed to battle severe forms of depression. Since antidepressants can have side effects, it is generally recommended that these drugs only be taken with the prescription of a certified psychologist or doctor. The newer antidepressants claim to have fewer side effects than the older ones, but as always, everything must be done with the consultation of a professional medical practitioner.
In the process of getting rid of depression, lessening or stopping the intake of alcohol is also advisable. Studies have shown that alcohol and depression are related; most specifically, alcohol temporarily blunts the effects of stress hormones and leaves you feeling more down because it depresses the nervous system and the brain.
Whatever type of depression you have, whether it's clinical or typical, there are several things you can do to lessen your state of being down emotionally. Not dwelling too much on things, for example, will give you more room to focus on other positive aspects of your life. While clinical depression will really need professional treatment, it will not help if you are not willing to take the steps to recovery yourself.