Overcoming Setbacks With Depression or Anxiety

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Keeping your mind healthy requires care and attention over a lifetime. That’s especially true if you have experienced depressionanxiety, or another mental health condition. To prevent setbacks, you’ll want to manage these conditions not only during a crisis, but also as part of everyday life.   

A reported 50 percent of people who have a first episode of depression will have a relapse over time. Sometimes a recurrence of depression or anxiety can signal a need to adjust your medication, use a different therapy approach, or change something in your lifestyle. 

The best way to minimize the impact of a setback is to know what events trigger you and how to identify warning signs of a relapse.  

Know Your Triggers 

Common triggers for depression and anxiety include: 

  • Not taking your medication – or not taking it as prescribed 
  • Feeling extremely stressed and overwhelmed 
  • Using alcohol or drugs 
  • Experiencing a crisis such as death or illness of a loved one 
  • Having relationship issues 

Be aware of when these triggers are affecting you and when you need to seek help. 

Sometimes a recurrence of depression or anxiety can signal a need to adjust your medication, use a different therapy approach, or change something in your lifestyle.

Identify Warning Signs

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If you identify warning signs early, you can seek help quickly to avoid a serious bout of depression, anxiety or other mental health condition. Enlist the aid of friends and family in helping you notice the following warning signs: 

  • Withdrawing socially 
  • Not getting enough sleep – or sleeping all the time 
  • Feeling more tense, hostile, or nervous than usual 
  • Not taking your medicine as prescribed 
  • Not paying attention to personal hygiene 
  • Pursuing risky behaviors such as using alcohol or drugs, or spending recklessly 
  • Having delusions, false beliefs, paranoid thoughts, or hearing voices 
  • Speaking with confusing or nonsensical words 

Get Help 

Call your doctor or therapist if you or someone close to you notices that you have any of the warning signs of a relapse. Also ask friends and family for help if you’re having a crisis.

Because you may not know when depression or anxiety is going to hit you, consider creating a crisis plan ahead of time. Make a written list of your medications, treatments and providers. Include phone numbers of people you wish to be contacted in case of emergency. 

To get back on track, connect with anyone you consider part of your support network, whether a personal or professional contact. Take the medicine your doctor recommends and see someone you trust for counseling. Work to manage your stress. You may not be able to control stressful situations in your life, but you can choose how you react to them. 

Even when you believe therapies or medicines aren’t helping, don’t give up. Keep moving forward until you begin to feel better and notice improvement.

Small Steps: Try This One-week Experiment
Do a physical activity you like every other day to see if that change helps your mild depression.