If you live with major depressive disorder, then you know how bad a depressive episode can get. People with this condition often report periods of hopelessness, lack of energy, and sometimes even thoughts of self-harm. And for individuals living with major depression, one of the most important skills is knowing how to get out of a depressive episode. But first, it’s important to have some foundational knowledge about major depressive disorder and depressive episodes.
Major Depressive Disorder 101
Major depressive disorder is a chronic mental health condition that can cause periods of particularly severe depression symptoms, known as depressive episodes. In the United States, almost eight percent of adults will experience a depressive episode in their lifetimes. But what exactly defines a depressive episode?
There is a popular misconception that any period of sadness is a depressive episode. But the clinical definition does have a number of set criteria before a period of sadness can be deemed a depressive episode. Specifically, a period of sadness must last for at least two weeks, during which the individual experiences issues like:
- Sleep trouble
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Negative feelings of self-worth
- Feelings of hopelessness
You do not need to experience all of these symptoms to meet the definition of a depressive episode, but several depression symptoms must be present. Sadly, as you might imagine, experiencing intense depression symptoms for a period of weeks can cause substantial difficulties. People often struggle with finding the motivation to take care of work, school, and relationships while dealing with a depressive episode. And for many, they simply do not know how to get out of a depressive episode.
This leads many people to seek professional mental health care to learn how to get out of a depressive episode, but some are unable or unwilling to seek help, which can leave them with untreated depression symptoms. In fact, as many as a third of people who experience depressive episodes do not get the help they need. And that’s a problem, because oftentimes, professional help is the best way to learn how to get out of a depressive episode.
How to Get Out of a Depressive Episode
Unfortunately, there is no single way to get out of a depressive episode. Mental health is a complicated and highly personal issue, which means that how to stop a depressive episode will largely come down to the individual’s needs. However, a great place to start learning how to get out of a depressive episode is to enroll in a mental health program where you can learn depression coping skills.
It can be disappointing to learn that there is no cure for depression, but it may be easier to understand if you think of it like a physical ailment. Often, particularly for older adults, there is no cure for chronic back pain. However, individuals can still follow a good diet, engage in regular exercise, and maintain good posture to minimize their pain.
Similarly, some people live with major depressive disorder for their entire lives. But by using depression coping skills and recognizing the signs of a depressive episode, they’re able to minimize the frequency of these episodes and get out of them more easily when they start. And learning depression coping skills usually begins with professional mental health care.
If you’re struggling with a depressive episode, the best way to stay safe and learn how to cope is to enroll in an inpatient mental health program. Here, you will have the opportunity to focus on your mental health in a safe, stabilizing environment. After being admitted, you can expect a variety of evidence-based treatment options, including:
- Crisis evaluation
- Medication evaluation and management
- Group therapy and individual psychotherapy
- Supplemental treatments like art, music, and recreational therapies
- Community services coordination
Through a combination of these programs, you will learn to manage depressive symptoms and regain control of your life. That’s why seeking professional mental health care is the best way to get out of a depressive episode. And whenever possible, this treatment should be a priority, since untreated depression can lead to a host of other, even more serious problems.
The Dangers of Untreated Depression
Without professional help, many people find their own ways to cope with depression. Often, this leads to people self-medicating with drugs or alcohol as a means to escape depressive episodes. And while there may be some temporary “success” in the short term, this approach causes more problems than it solves.
As individuals become more reliant on drugs or alcohol to manage their depression symptoms, it’s common for a substance use disorder to co-occur alongside depression. In this way, having untreated depression leads to developing a drug or alcohol addiction. And when you’re already dealing with depression, adding an addiction on top of it can greatly increase your risk of suicide. Depressive episodes are dangerous enough by themselves, but alcohol and drugs impairing decision-making can make them even more concerning.
Thankfully, although co-occurring disorders are complicated, it is never too late to start your recovery. Dual diagnosis programs exist specifically to help people with co-occurring mental health and addiction issues. These programs typically begin after completing a medical detox to eliminate the physical aspect of addiction, which clears the way for dual diagnosis care to help you with the mental side of addiction and to aid you in overcoming your depression.
Dual diagnosis programming is a combination of traditional addiction treatment and mental health programming. In this way, dual diagnosis addresses both sides of this complicated issue. And that means that you can gain control over both your major depressive disorder and addiction.
Finding Help for Depression in Port St. Lucie, Florida
If you’re struggling with getting out of a depressive episode, the best step you can take is to seek professional care. And at Port St. Lucie Hospital, we serve our community with an array of programs and services that have been specially developed to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
If you’re ready to get help for your depressive episodes, there’s only one thing that you need to do. Call our friendly admissions specialists at 772-408-5871 or fill out our confidential contact form. There will always be a reason not to invest in your recovery, but finding relief from depressive episodes will be worth it.