Stress, anxiety and depression

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Tips for coping with depression

Depression

Media last reviewed: 16/09/2013

Next review due: 16/09/2015

If you've been feeling depressed for a few weeks or more, make an appointment to see your GP. They discuss your symptoms with you and the tell you about treatments that could help you feel better.

It can also be helpful to try some coping techniques. David Richards, professor of mental health services research at the University of Exeter, offers these tips for coping when you're depressed.

Be more active

Don’t withdraw from life. Socialising can improve your mood. Keeping in touch with friends and family means you have someone to talk to when you feel low.  

Take up some form of exercise. There's evidence that exercise can help lift your mood. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start gently by walking for 20 minutes every day. Find out more about exercise for depression.

Face your fears

Don’t avoid the things you find difficult. When people feel low or anxious, they sometimes avoid talking to other people. Some people can lose their confidence about driving or travelling.

If this starts to happen, facing up to these situations will help them become easier.

Read Ten ways to fight your fears.

Don’t drink too much alcohol

For some people, alcohol can become a problem. You may drink more than usual as a way of coping with or hiding your emotions, or just to fill time. But alcohol won’t help you solve your problems. It could also make you feel more depressed.

Read these tips on cutting down the amount of alcohol you drink.

Have a routine

When people feel down, they can get into poor sleep patterns, staying up late and sleeping during the day. Try to get up at your normal time and stick to your routine as much as possible.

Not having a routine can affect your eating. You may stop cooking regular meals, eat snacks throughout the day instead or miss breakfast because you’re still in bed. Find out more about healthy eating and depression.

See How to feel happier for more tips that help make a positive difference when you're feeling down.

Seeking help for depression

If you're still feeling down or anxious after a couple of weeks, talk to your GP or call NHS 111.

If you start to feel like you can't cope, life is becoming very difficult or your life isn't worth living, get help straight away. These are signs that you need to talk to someone.

Various treatments are available for depression, including talking therapies, antidepressant medication and self-help. Find out more about treating depression.

You can also contact helplines, such as Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, for confidential, non-judgmental emotional support. 

If you've had depression or anxiety in the past, even if they weren't formally diagnosed, get help immediately. You're more likely to have an episode of depression if you've had one before.


Page last reviewed: 03/01/2014

Next review due: 03/01/2016

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