Red Flags That You May Be Slipping Back Into Depression
If youve overcome a period of depression you will know how scary it can be when you start feeling blue again. There is always that fear that you will slip back into that black hole but it doesnt have to be that way.Learn how to spot a depression relapse and prevent a full-blown episode.
Many people who suffer a bout of serious depression do not experience such a severe episode again. In fact, research indicates that 50 percent of people who experience an episode of depression will recover and live a relatively normal life when it comes to their mental health. But half of those who suffer from an intense episode will find that they relapse sometimes more than once during their lifetime.
The good news is that if you are able to spot the red flags of a depression relapse, you stand a better chance of preventing a full-blown episode or at least coping better with your depression when it hits.
Triggers Of A Depression Relapse
Knowing what symptoms to watch for is only one part of recognizing a depression relapse. Understanding your triggers, or those things, moments, and events in life that may cause a relapse, are also important.
Triggers can be different for everyone. For you, isolation may be a significant factor. Maybe youve noticed that youd rather lie on the couch than be as active as you once were. Or maybe you may have a new family crisis youre facing.
In some cases, there may not even be an obvious trigger. One day you may simply realize you dont feel like yourself.
Here are some common relapse triggers.
What Causes Depression Relapses
Depression relapses can happen at any time, even if youre already receiving treatment or are on medication for depression. Its like any other condition if you have it once, you may be predisposed to it and are more likely to experience it again.
Sometimes people will experience relapses caused by specific triggers, even when the treatment would have otherwise worked. Possible triggers include:
- the death of a loved one
- ruminating on negative experiences, mistakes, and painful memories
- stressful life events, like a medical exam coming up or knowing that your company is laying off a large number of employees
- changes to the family structure, like divorce or having a child move away to college
- hormonal changes, like going through puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
The most common cause of relapses, however, is not maintaining treatment after a depressive episode. Most people benefit from sticking to their treatment plan, even if theyre not currently experiencing depressive symptoms. This includes coping mechanisms learned in therapy to combat the depression.
If youre experiencing symptoms of depression relapse, get treatment as soon as possible.
Treatment can include a combination of different types of therapies and medications. This includes:
Cognitive behavioral therapy : CBT can help you identify all the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors you have that contribute to your depression. Your therapist can help you develop strategies to manage these behaviors.
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How Does The Body Respond During Stress
The body responds to physical, mental, or emotional pressure by releasing stress hormones that increase blood pressure, speed heart rate, and raise blood sugar levels. These changes help a person act with greater strength and speed to escape a perceived threat.
Research has shown that people who experience intense and long-term stress can have digestive problems, fertility problems, urinary problems, and a weakened immune system. People who experience chronic stress are also more prone to viral infections such as the flu or common cold and to have headaches, sleep trouble, depression, and anxiety.
A Note On Medications
If you take medication, it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations even when you feel well. You may need to continue the medication for several months or longer, depending on your risk factors. Stopping medication too early is a major reason for relapse. It’s also important to talk to your doctor if you want to make any changes to your medication plan, such as reducing your dose or stopping your medication. For more on talking to doctors or other health care professionals, see the module Working With Your Doctor When you Have Depression at www.heretohelp.bc.ca.
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What Role Does Stress Play In Chronic Drug Use
Depression is a critical decision whether people become addicted. Other trials found that stress from negative social events such as family breakdown, delayed stress due to physical or sexual abuse, and total stress resulting from differences such as gender, financial status, and race can be debilitating. One study found that the two most important components of the recurrence of mice with a history of autoimmune diseases were re-exposure to medication and environmental stressors. It has been found that a work tool caused by relapses was not the same as a drug reversal.
Human studies have yielded comparative results, with one scientist finding that for about a month, alcohol abusers had significantly higher levels of cortisol and extended tissues compared to non-alcoholics and that exposure to pressure would indicate increased alcohol cravings. Alcoholics also showed a higher allostatic load than heavy drinkers, which would mean that their enthusiastic response was less controlled than in non-alcoholic.
This increased stress or relapse response can be explained by the way many handmade drugs follow neural pathways such as depression to the point that they can be considered drug pressures. As the cerebrum is continuously introduced to these it prepares them forcibly, which at that time changes the way they respond to relapse and stress if not treated with drugs. One release of this level is narcotic drugs, which cause a decrease in cortisol.
What Happens To A Depressed Brain
Most people can give you an expression of stress and relapse, but what happens inside your lump to create those feelings? As mentioned earlier, a small amount of stress and relapse is widespread and is not a cause for concern about your average person.
Also, actual relapse and stress can affect the victims physical and emotional health, for example, increased cortisol1 levels, depression, weight gain, real mind changes, and toothache to name a few. The Whist cerebrum is a specific organ, it is best to be considered a continuation of the equipment associated with each part that makes a person exhibit. By the time a person has secreted the amygdala, which is part of the cerebrum that controls the bodys war or airplane, it carries a message to deliver more cortisol from the adrenal organs. This controls the heartbeat, helps a person by training to use glucose effectively, reduces inflammation. In any case, while doing so, the energy is directed from different parts of the mind, which is why it is believed that ongoing relapse is linked to so many diseases. Cortisol depletion is similarly linked to stomach-related problems, sleep deprivation, and a weakened immune system that can increase the risk of disease.
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What Is Psychological Stress
Psychological stress describes what people feel when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. Although it is normal to experience some psychological stress from time to time, people who experience high levels of psychological stress or who experience it repeatedly over a long period of time may develop health problems .
Stress can be caused both by daily responsibilities and routine events, as well as by more unusual events, such as a trauma or illness in oneself or a close family member. When people feel that they are unable to manage or control changes caused by cancer or normal life activities, they are in distress. Distress has become increasingly recognized as a factor that can reduce the quality of life of cancer patients. There is even some evidence that extreme distress is associated with poorer clinical outcomes. Clinical guidelines are available to help doctors and nurses assess levels of distress and help patients manage it.
This fact sheet provides a general introduction to the stress that people may experience as they cope with cancer. More detailed information about specific psychological conditions related to stress can be found in the Related Resources and Selected References at the end of this fact sheet.
Identifying The Mental Relapse Early Makes A Difference
The sooner you or your loved one determines that relapse is a possibility, seek out help. The sooner this happens, the more likely it is that you can get it back under control quickly, reducing the risks of complications later. Men and women who experience any of these triggers or other changes in their lives should know that means they need a bit more help.
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Possible Mechanisms Underlying Stress Effects On Addiction Vulnerability
As evidence using diverse approaches has accumulated in support of a significant effect of stress on risk of addiction, this section examines research on neurobiological links between stress and reward pathways activated by abusive drugs. It is well known that the reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse involve their activation of the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways, which include dopamine neurons originating in the ventral tegmental area and extending to the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex . This pathway is also involved in assigning salience to stimuli, in reward processing, and in learning and adaptation., Human brain imaging studies also support the role of these systems in drug reward, as psychostimulants, alcohol, opioids, and nicotine all activate the mesolimbic DA systems, in particular, the ventral and dorsal striatum, and such activity has been associated with the drug ratings of high or euphoria and craving.
How To Prevent A Depression Relapse
Commit to treatment If you have been prescribed antidepressants it is vital that you take the full course of your medication and follow your doctors advice. It can be tempting, when you start to feel better, to stop taking your meds but that increases your risk of relapse. If your treatment involves counselling and therapy sessions make sure you keep going to them until your psychologist advises that you are okay to stop.
Meditation Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation, practiced a few times each week, can reduce your chance of relapse by up to 50 percent within a year. You dont have to spend hours crossed-legged on the floor to achieve this. It is all about taking a moment to be completely present each day rather than allowing your mind to dwell in the past or future.
Accept help Friends and family can provide support when it comes to noticing the warning signs of depression. If you open yourself to their help, you can reduce your chances of falling back into depression.
Have a plan Always discuss with your therapist the best plan of action when it comes to acting on the warning signs of depression. Consider writing out a plan so that you feel empowered to deal with symptoms if they return.
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Adhere To Therapy Recommendations
If you were already in therapy for depression, it’s likely that you received some homework and/or recommendations on how to move forward after the last session. Reflect back on your time in therapy and what you learned.
Are there strategies you could start using again? Are there workbooks or tracking logs that your therapist gave to you? Anything that was helpful to you in the past will likely be helpful to you again as you face a depression relapse.
What You Can Do About It
Be mindful of your basic needs. In recovery circles we refer to this as HALT
Making sure you eat and sleep right, that you surround yourself with sober friends, and that you deal with your resentments.
Its absolutely essential that you take care of yourself. Its not always rigorous psychotherapy delving into the dark recesses of your past.
Most of the time, its merely taking care of yourself in the present. If you are not in fit condition youll simply lack the capacity to yield fruit from psychotherapy.
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How To Recover From An Anxiety Disorder Relapse
This article was co-authored by Rebecca Ward, LMFT, SEP, PCC, MA. Rebecca A. Ward, LMFT, SEP, PCC is the Founder of the Iris Institute, a San Francisco, California-based business focusing on using somatic expertise to teach individuals and groups the skills to deal with dilemmas using interventions, including her own Original Blueprint® method. Ms. Ward specializes in treating stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist , a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner , and a Professional Certified Coach accredited by the International Coach Federation . Rebecca holds an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University and an MA in Organizational Leadership from The George Washington University.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 18,911 times.
You may feel like your anxiety is under control, then be blind-sided by a sudden onset of symptoms. If youre not prepared for anxiety lapses you may fall into a relapse, which can leave you feeling helpless, guilty, and ashamed. It can be hard to pick yourself up from a relapse, yet keep in mind that you can learn from these experiences. Moving forward, its important that you know how to prevent relapses and seek treatment as necessary.
Three: Seeking Outside Help When Needed
At times, you may need extra outside help. Warning signs may come up very suddenly or you may feel that your self-management strategy isnt enough. Seeking outside help doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong and it isnt a sign of weakness. In fact, asking for help when you need it is a sign that you understand how depression affects you and want to take action.
Talking with your health care professional is a good first step. You may schedule more frequent visits, and your health care professional may adjust your treatment, such as adding or changing medication, or adding psychotherapy. Loved ones and members of your support network can also help, even if you just need to talk to someone.
Planning for relapse
You can plan ahead for times you need extra help. Planning ahead may help ease worries of what might happen if you experience a relapse because you know there is a plan if you need it. Your plan may be a formal agreement with your health care professional, or it may be an informal plan among loved ones or other members of your support network. Whatever you choose, your plan will outline what will happen if you or others notice warning signs and what each person should do. It might include:
Your action plan may also include practical steps that your loved ones agree to take. For example, a loved one may contact your employer and keep everything in order if you need to spend time in the hospital.
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Causes Of Depression Relapse
If you are experiencing a depression relapse, you might be wondering why your depression has returned. It’s true that depression can return at any time, even if you are taking medication or receiving therapy. It can also return without any obvious outside trigger or stressor.
However, sometimes depression relapse follows an external event. Below are some potential triggers or causes of a depression relapse.
- Experiencing the death of a loved one or other significant loss
- Going through a stressful life event
- Hormonal changes related to your life stage
- Failure to use coping strategies or discontinuing their use
- Changes in the medication that you are taking
- Sleep disturbances
Preventing Relapse Of Depression
When you feel well, the last thing you want to think about is a relapse of depression. But you can do a lot to lower the risk of relapse if you plan ahead. Try thinking of it this way: if you injure yourself, you would likely do things to prevent the injury from happening again. If you injured your knee running, for example, you might prevent another injury by seeing a physiotherapist or doing strengthening exercises regularly. Preventing a relapse of depression isnt that different. In this sheet, you will learn a systematic way to monitor your well-being and take action when you need it.
On this page:
Symptoms of a mental illness may come back or worsen at times. People use terms like “relapse,” “dips,” and “blips” to describe this experience. While you can’t guarantee that you’ll never feel unwell again, you can take a lot of steps to help prevent or reduce the impact of a relapse or worsening symptoms. You can look for early warning signs, create a plan to help with difficult situations, and take care of yourself. These steps may help you take action before symptoms become a major problem and help lessen the effect they have on your day-to-day life. This is based on the principles of “self-management,” which means you take charge of your health. It may sound daunting, but self-management is really about building small, practical strategies into your day.
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The Importance Of Focusing On Yourself
At our tranquil riverfront property, surrounded by picturesque rice fields and traditional Thai villages, you are completely removed from your triggers the people, places and things that contribute to your condition and immersed in a safe and soothing environment where you can focus wholly on healing. If you are slipping back into depression, please feel free to reach out to us at anytime for a consultation.