How to Overcome Depression


Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

If you think you may have depression, your first step should be talking to your doctor. If the doctor can find no medical condition that may be causing the depression, the next step is a psychological evaluation, which should determine the best therapy for you.


Your doctor may prescribe you antidepressants. It can take 3 or 4 weeks until the medicine takes effect. Often, symptoms such as sleep, appetite, and concentration problems improve before mood lifts. It is important not to stop taking antidepressants without the help of a doctor.

Antidepressants are generally considered safe, but some studies have suggested that they may have unintentional effects, especially in young people. Possible side effects to look for are depression that gets worse, suicidal thinking or behaviour, or any unusual changes in behaviour such as trouble sleeping, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations. Any such changes should be reported to doctor.


For mild to moderate depression, psychotherapy may be the best option. Psychotherapy can help you figure out why you feel the way you do and how to manage difficult emotions. It might help you to overcome certain fears, or change behaviours that aren’t helping you manage your feelings.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help an individual with depression change negative thinking. It can help you interpret your environment and interactions in a positive, realistic way and change behaviours that may be making the depression worse.

Interpersonal therapy is designed to help an individual understand and work through troubled relationships that may cause the depression or make it worse.

Problem-solving therapy can improve an individual’s ability to cope with stressful life experiences. Using a step-by-step process, you identify problems and come up with realistic solutions.

A combination of medication and psychotherapy may be the most effective approach to treating major depression.

As you begin to recognise your depression and begin treatment, you will start to feel better. During treatment, you should try to:

  • Be active. It is important to keep moving and exercise.
  • Break up large tasks into small ones and don’t push yourself too hard. Do what you can as you can.
  • Spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
  • Postpone important decisions until you feel better.

Remember: overcoming depression takes time. Positive thinking will gradually replace negative thoughts as your treatment progresses.

Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction—also known as problem gambling, is characterised by difficulties in limiting money and/or time spent on gambling which leads to harmful consequences for the gambler, others, or for the community.

The massive expansion of gambling opportunities across the world has also lead to an escalation of the various gambling disorders. Everywhere you can read invitations to gamble online, such as “place a bet here”, or “try your luck”, making it difficult to resist the gambling urge. While some are realistic and really care for their customers by offering a variety of services to keep you away from addictions, some are just scammers. Here, you will find advice on how to prevent gambling disorders and enjoy gambling responsibly.  

Gambling addiction causes serious consequences for you and your loved ones. It can damage your relationships and lead to job loss, physical and mental health problems and a financial catastrophe. Don’t think this can’t happen to you: anyone can become a victim of a gambling addiction.

Gambling problems can be mild, moderate or severe. However, even a mild problem can easily escalate. In order to prevent this from happening, use these tips to help you gamble responsibly:

  • Set your limits of time and money before you start gambling and stick to them.
  • Make sure to set a loss limit that is appropriate for your budget. You should only gamble with the money you are prepared to lose.
  • Don’t gamble in secret: gambling should always be done in a social setting, with friends and family.
  • Don’t chase your losses: any money spent on gambling should be considered the cost of entertainment.
  • Gambling is not a solution to your financial problems. Don’t gamble because you need money.
  • Never gamble when angry or feeling lonely, depressed or under stress; to solve personal or family problems; or to impress others.
  • Avoid excessive use of alcohol when gambling. It can cloud your judgement and lead to irresponsible decisions.

According to American Psychiatric Association, you can be diagnosed with a gambling addiction if you have at least four of the following symptoms in a 12-month period:

  • You need to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
  • You feel restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
  • You have made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
  • You are often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble)
  • You often gamble when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed)
  • After losing money gambling, you often return another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses)
  • You lie to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
  • You have jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, education or career opportunity because of gambling
  • You rely on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.

Even if you identify with just one or two of the above symptoms you should consider quitting gambling before the problem becomes more serious. Here are some tips to help you on the way:

  • It is important to find healthier activities to replace gambling. Schedule enjoyable recreational time for yourself that has nothing to do with gambling.
  • Reach out to people you love and to whom you’re accountable. As you build healthier choices and a strong support network, resisting an urge to gamble will become easier.
  • Stay away from temptation. Remove gambling apps and block gambling sites on your smartphone and computer.
  • Seek professional help or join a support group. The National Problem Gambling Clinic provides treatment for problem gamblers living in England and Wales aged 16 and over. Gamblers Anonymous have meetings every day of the week throughout the UK.

Remember, many others have had the same problem and have managed to break the habit. You can do it too!


Causes of Depression

One of the most common mental disorders, depression is a serious and complex disease that involves far more than the sad feelings, or ups and downs that everyone goes through. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities.

There are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic predisposition, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Major risk factors in developing depression include:

  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Death or loss of a loved one
  • Major events: even good events, such as moving or graduating can sometimes trigger depression. Other events that increase risk include: changing jobs, losing a job, getting married or divorced, giving birth, retiring
  • Serious physical illnesses
  • Certain medications can trigger depression as a side effect
  • Conflicts, social isolation, being cast out of a family or social group

If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities you enjoyed earlier
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Feeling restless
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. The severity and frequency of symptoms, and how long they last, will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.

Although we are still far from the complete understanding of the neurological underpinnings of depression, experts believe stress can suppress the production of new neurones (nerve cells) in the hippocampus, thus causing depression. Every real or perceived threat to your body triggers a cascade of stress hormones that produces physiological changes. Your view of the world and your unacknowledged assumptions about how the world works influence how you feel and how you cope with stressful events.

Good news is that this can change! There are many effective treatments for depression, usually including some combination of talk therapy and medications. Start by seeing your doctor. Together, you can figure out what helps you feel better and handle stress in a healthier way.

How to Stay Away from Drugs

It is possible to be drug-free.

Recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems. Here are some tips to help you on the way:

  • Set realistic goals for yourself. This can help improve your self-confidence, which in turn makes you less likely to want to do drugs.
  • Spend time with your loved ones. Other people can offer you advice and support, which is a protective factor against drug use.
  • Talk to someone or join a support group. You don’t have to face this on your own. Getting support from others will help you stand strong against drugs.
  • Do something else to feel good. Take up a hobby, spend more time with family and friends, play a video game, go for a movie, learn a new language, play a musical instrument or volunteer in your community. Engaging in other enjoyable activities will distract you from thinking about drugs.
  • Avoid temptation. Surround yourself with people who do not use drugs and who think being sober is a better way to live. Don’t go to places you used to go when you used drugs.
  • Seek Treatment. The way to become drug-free is to first confront the physical addiction: consider attending a detox facility. The next step is addressing the emotional issues that lead to the decision to use drugs. The most common form of treatment is behavioural therapy — which may involve some combination of group, family, and individual therapy.
  • Try relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga or urge surfing. This will help you cope with stress without turning to drugs.
  • Practice healthier living habits. Exercise, eating well and meditation are excellent ways to avoid using drugs. The results you feel from living a healthier lifestyle will help you resist addiction cravings.

How to spot if someone is using drugs

There are several signs, both physical and behavioural, to look out for when suspecting that a loved one, a friend or a co-worker is using drugs. Each drug manifests differently in the body, but the following are some general indications that a person might be using drugs:

Drug Abuse Physical Warning Signs

  • Red, watery or glazed eyes, pupils unusually large or small
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
  • Keeping irregular hours, loss of sleep
  • Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness
  • Slow or staggering walk
  • Worsening hygiene or physical health
  • Bruises, infections, or other physical signs at the drug’s entrance site on the body.
  • Blushing, pale or swollen face

Drug Abuse Behavioral Signs

Drugs can cause profound changes in moods and emotions. The following behavioural changes may indicate drug abuse:

  • Changes in personality and overall attitude, particularly negative ones
  • Person often appears lethargic or ‘spaced out’
  • Dramatic changes in habits/priorities
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid for no apparent reason
  • Sudden angry outbursts, mood swings or irritability
  • Unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness for short periods of time
  • Asking for money
  • Drop in performance at work and school
  • Chronic dishonesty
  • Inattentiveness; forgetfulness
  • Loss of motivation, energy, and self-esteem
  • Secretiveness, unusual demand for privacy
  • Sudden oversensitivity; temper tantrums
  • Loss of interest in friends and family

Commonly Abused Drug Warning Signs

  • Depressants: (including Xanax, Valium, GHB): Contracted pupils; drunk-like state; difficulty concentrating; clumsiness; poor judgment; slurred speech; sleepiness.
  • Hallucinogens: (LSD, PCP): Dilated pupils; bizarre and irrational behaviour including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations; mood swings; detachment from people; absorption with self or other objects, slurred speech; confusion.
  • Heroin: Contracted pupils; no response of pupils to light; needle marks; sleeping at unusual times; sweating; vomiting; coughing, sniffling; twitching; loss of appetite.
  • Inhalants: (glues, aerosols, vapours): Watery eyes; impaired vision, memory and thought; secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth; headaches and nausea; the appearance of intoxication; drowsiness; poor muscle control; changes in appetite; anxiety; irritability.
  • Marijuana: Glassy, red eyes; loud talking, inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness; loss of interest, motivation; weight gain or loss; excessive snacking or eating at inappropriate times.
  • Stimulants: (including amphetamines, cocaine, crystal meth): Dilated pupils; hyperactivity; euphoria; irritability; anxiety; excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times; may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping; weight loss; dry mouth and nose.

If your child, spouse or someone else you care about is displaying any of this type of behaviour or physical signs, they might have a substance abuse issue. But as long as motivation to quit using drugs is present, recovery is possible.

If you suspect a loved one is using, talk with them before jumping to conclusions. If you do find evidence of drug abuse, lend them a hand by helping them seek the treatment they need. Once addiction has taken hold, it’s critical that they receive professional care to reverse the damage substance abuse has caused. It will take time, patience, and compassion to help a friend or family member acknowledge and deal with their disease.

Drinking problems – causes and solutions


The first step to solving a drinking problem is recognising that you have one. It is not always easy to tell if your drinking has crossed the line. Nevertheless, the fact that you are thinking about it is a good start. Denial is one of the biggest obstacles to getting help for alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Not all alcohol abusers become full-blown alcoholics, but it is a big risk factor. Sometimes alcoholism develops suddenly in response to a stressful change, such as a breakup, retirement, or loss of a loved one. Other times, it gradually creeps up on you. If you’re a binge drinker or you drink every day, the risks of developing alcoholism are greater. Also, many drinking problems start when people use alcohol to self-soothe and relieve stress.

Other symptoms of alcohol abuse or alcoholism that you should look out for include:

  • You regularly drink when you are alone
  • Other people are worried about your drinking habits
  • You are having blackouts
  • Worrying about when you’ll be able to have your next drink
  • Lying about how much or how often you drink
  • Relationships with friends or family are being affected by your drinking
  • You tried to stop drinking or to drink less and found that you can’t
  • You get in trouble when drinking.
  • Regularly drinking more than you intended to.
  • Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking.
  • Neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of your drinking.

The most severe form of problem drinking, alcoholism involves all the symptoms of alcohol abuse, but it also involves physical dependence on alcohol.

The early major warning sign of alcoholism is having to drink a lot more than you used to in order to feel the same effect. This means that your organism is developing tolerance to alcohol.

The second huge red flag is having to drink to relieve withdrawal symptoms, such as trembling, sweating, nausea or vomiting. This means that your body depends on the alcohol to function.

If you’re ready to admit you have a drinking problem, you’ve already taken the first step. Reaching out for support is the second step. Whether you choose to go to rehab, rely on self-help programs, or get therapy, recovering from alcohol addiction is much easier when you have people you can lean on. Your continued recovery depends on continuing mental health treatment, learning healthier coping strategies, and making better decisions when dealing with life’s challenges.