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The black dog is back: 4 keys to manage a depression relapse

September 26, 2012

One of the most devastating things about experiencing depression is when you experience it for the second time.

That’s right – the second time.

Unfortunately, depression is not something we can be vaccinated against.  If you have experienced major depression, there is a 40 per cent likelihood that the symptoms will return again at some point in your life.

Knowing this is one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal.  While you might not be able to immunise yourself against the return of depression, Dr Chris Iliades cites four things you can keep in mind to recognise when a storm may be coming:

  • Recognise the symptoms of a depression relapse – everyone has unique triggers, and learning what yours are so you can tell your doctor or psychologist about them is key.  Changes in sleep patterns are often the most obvious sign.
  • Trust your friends and family – they may be the first to recognise changes in your behaviour and can guide you towards further help.
  • Stick to your treatment – keep seeing your doctor, keep your appointments with your psychologist or counsellor, and if you’re taking medication, do not stop taking it without medical advice.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle – tricky at the best of times, but keeping up regular exercise, a good diet, limiting alcohol, and learning how to deal with stress.

Your psychologist can help you come up with a plan to stay healthy and deal with any potential relapses.  There is a way through depression, whenever it may occur in your life.

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