Anyone can experience mild depression at some point in their life. Early and proper care will help control the disease quickly. If self-help solutions do not work, the person should actively seek help from a psychologist.
What is mild depression?
Mild depression is also known as stage 1 depression. This is the early stage of the disease, the symptoms are often not clear and specific.
In fact, almost everyone has experienced mild depression at some point in the face of long-term pressures, events, or stress. Symptoms are usually sadness, anxiety, moodiness, and fatigue.
Mild depression is usually not too serious. At this stage, the disease has not caused serious problems for physical and mental health as well as quality of life. However, if not prevented in time, the disease can progress to severe depression.
Signs of mild depression
Mild depression is an early stage of the illness, so you won’t have all the symptoms that are characteristic of major depression. This makes it difficult to detect the presence of the disease.
It can be recognized through 1 of 2 symptoms below:
- Patients always fall into a state of sadness, moodiness, fatigue, never smile. In addition, crying may or may not be accompanied by unprovoked crying.
- Loss of motivation in life, loss of interest in things. Even activities that were once a hobby are no longer enjoyable.
In addition, patients may experience 2 out of 7 related symptoms including:
- The body is often tired.
- Abnormal taste changes.
- Sleep disturbances, restless sleep, poor sleep or frequent nightmares while sleeping.
- People move slowly, stagnant and easily provoked by the factors around them.
- Having trouble concentrating or not being able to deal with small everyday problems.
- Always questioning yourself, feeling guilty, and feeling frustrated with yourself.
- Always thinking about death or having suicidal thoughts.
Causes of mild depression
Mild depression can have many causes. The most common causes may include:
1. Psychological trauma
Psychological trauma is considered one of the leading causes of depression. There are many situations in life that cause stress and psychological shock. For example, being fired from a favorite job, breaking up with a first love, family conflicts, the departure of a loved one, pressure to study and take exams, etc.
2. Using stimulants and addictive substances
Commonly known stimulants and addictions are alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. They have the common feature of causing temporary nervous euphoria and euphoria. However, in the long run, they will cause many serious consequences.
In particular, the abuse of stimulants can adversely affect the nervous system. Moreover, it also makes the body tired, reduces mental strength and causes inhibition in daily life. This increases the risk of developing depression.
3. Physical damage to the brain
Structural damage in the brain due to accidents, trauma or physical diseases in the brain such as brain tumors, meningitis, etc. all increase the risk of depression.
The cause is explained by physical damage to the brain that makes it less able to withstand pressure. It also makes it impossible for you to calmly handle even the smallest stressful situations. And the result is the development of emotional disorders.
Effects of mild depression
A lot of people have a subjective attitude towards mild depression. Because at this stage, the symptoms are often unclear and have not caused too much impact on health and quality of life. However, it is the subjectivity that is the problem that causes serious consequences.
Subjectivity can delay treatment. This will give the disease a chance to get worse and symptoms to get worse. This seriously affects both physical and mental health and quality of life.
In fact, stage 1 depression can still significantly reduce work and school performance. Moreover, it also causes you to have problems with eating and sleeping. Over time, it can lead to fatigue, weakness, and loss of interest in things.
Does mild depression go away on its own?
Experts recommend that depression is an emotional disorder that needs proper attention. Even at a mild level, depression still cannot go away on its own without timely intervention.
However, in most cases, mild depression can be completely cured without the use of medication. Patients only need to change their healthy lifestyle and combine with psychotherapy to completely solve the problem.
Statistics show that more than 90% of cases of mild depression are completely treated thanks to timely and proper intervention. Therefore, when you notice unusual symptoms, you should actively seek a specialist for advice and treatment guidance.
How to manage and treat mild depression
Even mild depression will drain your energy, hope, and motivation. It makes it difficult to implement solutions that make your body feel better.
It is not easy to overcome depression. However, when it is still in a mild stage, you need to intervene immediately. It could be following a healthy lifestyle, being physically active, learning how to manage stress, or seeing a psychologist when needed.
Here are some helpful ways to help manage and treat mild depression:
1. Do what makes you comfortable
To get over mild depression, you need to do things that relax and energize you. While you can’t force yourself to have a fun experience, you can push yourself to do things. Try even if you don’t feel like it.
Depression often doesn’t go away immediately, but you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.
Pick a past hobby or a sport you used to enjoy. Alternatively, you can also express yourself creatively through writing, music or art. Going out with friends, taking a day trip to a museum or zoo are also good suggestions for you.
2. Mental health support
Even mild depression can affect your mental health. It makes you feel tired, moody. Moreover, it is also associated with sleep problems.
To support mental health, you need:
- Try to get 8 hours of sleep: As mentioned, depression is often associated with sleep problems. Whether you sleep too little or too much, your mood will be affected. It’s best to learn healthy sleep habits and try to get 8 hours of sleep every day.
- Keep stress under control: Stress not only prolongs and worsens depression, but it is also a trigger. Need to figure out everything in life that stresses you out. It could be work overload, unsatisfactory relationships or money problems. At the same time, find ways to relieve the pressure and regain control.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Practicing relaxation every day will reduce stress and depressive symptoms. It also enhances feelings of joy and happiness. You can try yoga, continuous muscle relaxation, meditation, or deep breathing.
3. Physical activity
When you feel depressed, getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task. However, exercise is an effective mild antidepressant. Moreover, it is also an important tool to help strengthen your recovery.
Research shows that regular physical activity can be as effective as medication in reducing depressive symptoms. Plus, it helps prevent depression from coming back when you’re well.
To get the most benefits, try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. You can start small. Research shows that a 10-minute walk can improve your mood in 2 hours.
Some things to keep in mind when doing physical activity include:
- Need to persevere every day will help you improve your energy level better
- You should find continuous and rhythmic exercises such as swimming, walking, weight training, dancing, etc.
- You should add an element of mindfulness when you move, for example, feeling your breathing, feeling your feet touch the ground, etc.
- Pairing up with an exercise partner is a good idea to help you stay motivated and spend more time socializing
4. Get daily sunlight
Natural sunlight has been shown to help increase serotonin levels and improve mood. Whenever possible, go outside during the day. At the same time, you should try to expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day.
Some ways to help you get daily sunlight include:
- Take a walk during lunch break
- Spend time gardening
- Drink coffee or enjoy a picnic
- Outdoor physical activity
- Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds or sitting near a window
- If you live in a place where there is little sunlight in the winter, consider using a therapeutic light box
Getting sunlight is thought to be an important treatment for people with seasonal depression (SAD). SAD can make you feel sad, hopeless, stressed, and lose interest in things.
5. Maintain a healthy diet
Experts say that what you eat directly affects the way you think and express emotions. It’s best to reduce your intake of foods that can negatively affect your brain and mood. Examples include alcohol, caffeine, trans fats, foods with high levels of preservatives or hormones.
In addition, the adjustment of the diet should pay attention to some of the following issues:
- Don’t skip meals: Too far between meals can make you feel tired and irritable. So try to eat something at least every 3-4 hours.
- Cut down on sugar and starches: You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, pasta or chips. These foods often provide a temporary pleasant feeling, but then they quickly bring down mood and energy. So try to cut out these foods as much as possible.
- Boost B vitamins: A deficiency of B vitamins like folic acid and B12 can cause mild depression. Therefore, to get better improvement you should supplement vitamin B for the body. It’s best to eat lots of green vegetables, beans, citrus fruits, chicken and eggs.
- Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as herring, salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel and some fish oil supplements.
6. Strengthen social connection
Getting support is vital to overcoming depression. Because this disease makes it difficult for you to seek help. When you are depressed, you tend to withdraw and isolate yourself from your friends and family.
Keeping connected with others and increasing social participation will help make a lot of difference in your mood and outlook. Approaches for support include:
- Seek support from someone who makes you feel safe: When you have mild depression, you need a good listener. They are always ready to listen to you attentively without being distracted or judging you. When you’re with them, you’ll feel safe and cared for.
- Prioritize meeting time: Calling, texting, and interacting on social media are great ways to stay in touch. However, they are not a substitute for face-to-face meetings. Talking face-to-face can help you deal with depression more effectively.
- Take part in social activities: Usually when you are bored, you will prefer to be alone. However, meeting and socializing with other people is really good for your mood. Therefore, try to participate in more social activities.
- Pet Care: Pets can bring joy as well as companionship into your life. It also helps you feel less isolated. Taking care of your pet will give you the comfort you need.
7. Seek help from a psychologist
In some cases, home remedies and positive lifestyle changes cannot relieve symptoms of depression. Moreover, the condition is getting more and more serious. At this point, you need to actively seek help from a psychologist.
The specialist will check the extent of the disease and other related problems. From there, offer the right psychological treatment solution for you to control symptoms early. It also improves your quality of life.
Psychotherapy will help you get rid of negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors early on. Plus, it gives you the extra skills you need to combat situations that cause stress, anxiety, and depression.
Psychological treatment for mild depression may include therapies such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Group therapy
Each therapy has its own advantages, but in general they are useful for mild depression. Therefore, do not hesitate to seek help from a psychological counselor when you feel the need.
Mild depression, if given proper attention early, can be quickly controlled. Thereby avoiding serious disease progression and ensuring safety for health as well as quality of life. If self-help solutions do not work, you should seek psychological counseling as soon as possible for better support.