Everywhere you look there is a new medication to help you get you depression under control. While medication is definitely an option that helps many, it should not automatically be the first choice that comes to mind when it comes to overcoming a mood disorder. Not all mood disorders are caused by chemical imbalances, and some of those that are can even be treated with changing other variables in the equation of body, mind, and environment that affect depression symptoms.
The first thing, and the most readily available to management and self control is diet. Vitamin D has been shown to affect mood levels and is very important for alertness and mental health. If you are overweight, underweight, or struggling with eating unhealthy foods, this can have a drastic impact on your ability to control mood. This is the first factor that you need to make sure is optimized for good physical an mental health.
Inactivity can also be a major source of unhappiness, both on a physiological as well as an emotional level. Get out and take a walk, ride bike, or swim. Just getting in 20 minutes of energetic activity a day can help to elevate mood and ward of boredom.
If you low mood is not affected by lifestyle change alone, it is time to seek out professional help. The help of a mental help professional can help you to decide if your depression is mainly an emotional disorder that might be able to be managed through counseling sessions, or if a referral to a physician to see if medication might be needed. There is nothing to be ashamed of, mental health is not different than any other health need, other than the fact that stigma increases the likelihood of lack of treatment due to refusal to acknowledge there is a problem at all.
If medication is needed, then working closely with your doctor and open communication is essential to making sure that the best medication at the appropriate levels helps you to control mood swings as well as allowing you a happy and normal life. There are many people taking depression medication without noticeable difference in behavior or physical ability. Depending on the medication program that is chosen to help you with you depression, regular visits to monitor your progress or regression into depression related symptoms will follow, allowing both you and your doctor to optimize the results of your medication and other treatment.