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.

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.