One in every 10 adults have reported being depressed, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While depression can manifest itself in a number of different ways, everyone experiences depression a little differently.
The good news is that depression is treatable. The bad news is that tackling it may take time. Here are the 10 stages of treatment for depression:
1) Make an appointment with a doctor you're comfortable with - if it's your OB, your general practitioner, or a therapist, just make that call. While at your doctor's office, see if you can get a referral to a licensed therapist. Talk therapy and an antidepressant are usually all that's needed to treat depression successfully.
2) Begin an exercise routine. Exercise is one of the best anti-depressants out there - it releases endorphins and helps get you in great physical shape.
3) See if your mood changes. If you're lucky, you'll be among the 50 percent of Americans who respond favorably to the first antidepressant they try. Keep in mind that most antidepressants take up to six weeks to reach their potential within the body, so try to be patient.
4) Call the doctor again. If your medication isn't working the way you'd like it to, consult your trusted doctor to see if he or she can increase the dosage.
5) Switch antidepressants. If you've upped the dose of your current antidepressant and it still isn't doing the trick, or you decided that the side effects are too unpleasant to manage, see if you can switch to another type of antidepressant. The good news here is that there are a number of different antidepressants available, including several new ones.
6) Talk therapy. Speak to your therapist regularly about your depression. Sometimes, the easiest way out of that dark hole is having someone to guide you. Therapy can be scary at first, but once you've started it, it can be the best hour of your week.
7) Increase therapy frequency. If an hour a week isn't cutting it for you, or you're beginning to experience worsening depression, see if you can increase the amount of time each week you see your therapist.
8) Tell someone who loves you how you feel. Let a trusted family member or friend know that you've been struggling. Sometimes, depression forces us to become insular and cut off contact with our loved ones. Talking to others can help tremendously, especially if they've experienced depression as well.
9) Find group therapy. Ask your therapist (or use the Internet) to locate group therapy in your area. It's at those types of sessions that you can see how others cope with depression and manage the symptoms -- and it has the bonus of making you feel as though you are not alone in your struggles.
10) Add it up! With the help of your doctor, try to add another antidepressant or anti-anxiety agent to the mix - occasionally, people (like me) need two types of antidepressants to alleviate their depression.
Any other ways you've managed to treat depression?
Image via apdk/Flickr