Sunday, February 9, 2014

Depression and Compulsive Behavior - What Not To Do

In other articles related to depression, most people primarily focus on treating or defeating depression symptoms. Here I'll take a look at things you should avoid to keep your depression from deepening or worsening. All of the following may give you temporary comfort but could also result in deeper depressive symptoms in the long term. Avoid them at any cost:

Compulsive Behavior

Keep compulsive shopping to a minimum. When feeling down, many depressed people go shopping only to financially regret it later. This is especially a problem if part of your depression has already resulted in financial distress. Instead, replace the compulsion with a healthier one. Put in a favorite movie, bake a favorite food of yours. Put on your headphones, listen to music and take a walk around the block. Take a long hot shower or bath, or sit in a hot tub or sauna (if you have one). The possibilities of substituting compulsions are endless.

As with the above advice, try to avoid compulsive eating. While some people react to depression by not eating, others will overeat at home or at restaurants in order to feel instantaneous comfort. Gaining weight and becoming fatter will only make you feel worse about yourself - the last thing you need when you're already battling depression. If food is a problem, try eating more frequent smaller meals rather than fewer big meals.

Try reducing your intake of caffeinated beverages, especially if your depression also comes with anxiety. Caffeine gives you a short 'rush' but may be quickly followed by a low mood period. Caffeine may also contribute to sleeplessness, which could result in more irritability.

A word about alcohol & depression. Limit or completely refrain your intake of alcohol. Drinking is unpredictable- it could make you more emotionally depressed or give you momentary happiness, only to eventually be followed by a low. Alcohol also wears down your body and mind and depletes your body of needed nutrition. If you do 'need' to drink, avoid drinking on consecutive days - it will only further your depression and may make you spiral into an addictive drinking cycle where you feel you can't cope without it.

It's only natural to reach for comfort during low periods, but for depression the consequences can be deadly. Chances are slim to none that your depression symptoms will improve long-term by shopping compulsively, eating out of comfort, or abusing substances. These things are like trying to put a band-aid on a broken bone. Depression is a multi-faceted problem that needs to be confronted on all angles such as diet and nutrition and a variety of lifestyle adjustments. The only real solution is to take positive steps, not backward ones.

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