The Vagus Nerve and Strategies to Strengthen Vagal Tone

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Qualified Clinical Supervisor. She received her PhD in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Florida in 2002. In addition to being a practicing clinician, she has provided training to counselors, social workers, nurses and case managers internationally since 2006 through .com

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Depression – What is It?

Depression is a serious mental illness that affects your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It causes a change in your mood that lasts for 2 weeks or more, and makes you feel bad about yourself or the world around you. It can cause you to withdraw from family and friends, avoid activities you normally enjoy or over-indulge in alcohol and drugs. It can also make it hard to think clearly and make decisions.

Depression can be treated, but it may take time and you need to commit yourself. Treatment options include therapy, exercise and other lifestyle changes. It may also include medication, which can help relieve the symptoms but doesn’t cure the problem by itself. If you are considering taking medication, talk to your doctor about your concerns and ask what the risks are.

It is not yet known what causes depression, but several different things can often combine to trigger it. Stressful events, such as a relationship breakdown, bereavement or illness can sometimes make you more vulnerable to depression, as can having a family history of the condition. Hormonal changes, which can happen during pregnancy or in the weeks and months after a baby is born, or as a result of thyroid problems or menopause, are also linked to depression.

Many people who are depressed find they feel better when they have good social support. Try to get help from friends and family, a community health worker or a counsellor. You can also join a depression support group or read self-help books to learn more about the condition and how it is treated.

A doctor will be able to tell you if you have depression and will refer you to a therapist or counsellor if needed. Psychotherapy can be helpful in treating depression and helps you understand your feelings, develop coping skills and improve relationships. It can also be useful to identify and manage triggers for depression.

Antidepressants are medicine that can help to improve your mood. It can take 4 to 6 weeks for the medication to start working and it is important that you continue to take it as prescribed. Some people need to switch medications or add new medicines to get the best results.

Depression can be very distressing and some people may feel suicidal (wanting to kill themselves). If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, it is important to seek help immediately. Call 911 or your local emergency number or text TALK to 741741 to speak with a crisis counselor.

Depression is a treatable illness and most people recover with the right help. It’s important to seek help if you have any of the symptoms for 2 weeks or more. It’s also important to remember that depression is different from feeling down or having the blues. Depression is a medical condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated like any other illness. The more you learn about the condition and how to help yourself, the faster you will feel better.

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