The pandemic has drawn more attention to depression rates in teenagers and other demographic groups due to increases in reported symptoms. Medical professionals and policymakers are worried about the long-term impact of increased depression in youth and people of working age. People are reporting feelings of sadness, loss, and lack of motivation that threaten the social fabric and often drive people toward substance abuse and other escapes.

So, what is depression and why does it seem to be taking hold of so many people these days? Are there ways to combat feelings of loss and loneliness?

Understanding depression is a great first step for anyone who is struggling with depression or knows someone dealing with these challenges. Here are some things you should know about depression and some possible solutions that could help limit its effects.

What Is Depression?

Depression is typically characterized as a prolonged feeling of sadness or lack of interest. Everyone feels sad from time to time, but depression indicates something deeper that is often not rooted in reality. People want to shake the symptoms that they are experiencing, but hormone imbalances, hereditary conditions, and other factors play into the severity of the experience.

If depression gets in the way of someone’s ability to function at work, school, or maintain social connections, they can seek help from medical and mental health professionals. There are also things everyone can do to fight off the symptoms of depressions and get the help that they need to move forward.

Strategies for Dealing with Depression

If you or someone you love is dealing with depression, the most important thing that you can do is recognize that it is there and it is real. Too frequently, people shrug off the symptoms of depression by saying things like, “This is who I am.” A lot of self-blame occurs in conjunction with depression. People feel – unjustifiably- that they deserve to feel sad or did something wrong or are otherwise flawed.

Seek Professional Help – First and foremost, if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression that prevent them from going outside, lose a job, fluctuate significantly in weight, and other symptoms, they should seek professional help. There may be some medical or therapeutic means of controlling symptoms to ease depression. It’s flawed thinking to suppose that people should simply fight through a severe depression. Find the help you need.

Peptides & Depression – Peptides, like the popular research peptide Semax, are offering good insights into how to deal with depression. In research done on mice, Semax was found to increase the BDNF hormone, which is known to regulate the function of the brain when depression is setting in. What’s more, Semax is likely to have a more immediate effect, and could also improve the efficacy of popular depression treatment drugs known as SSRIs.

Semax has not yet been approved by the FDA for human use. Semax is still undergoing more scientific research in order to determine its vast number of future medical possibilities.

Exercise – Physical health is closely tied to mental health. Your body affects the brain and vice versa. One of the best things you can do to fight off the symptoms of depression is to get outside and exercise. Just going on a walk outside will boost your serotonin levels, increase Vitamin D, and give you other health benefits that will improve your mood.

Reach Out to Friends & Family – Every day, thousands or even millions of people are suffering in silence. They think that depression is their cross to bear and don’t reach out for help with symptoms set in. People who experience chronic depression need to know that it is ok to ask for help when they are feeling down. Call friends or family you are close to and ask them to spend time with you or just have a chat on the phone. Being around other people who uplift us is a great way to overcome depressive episodes.

Get Enough Sleep – Feeling rested and giving your brain and body the time they need to recharge is very important to ward off depression. Be careful, though, because it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to stay in bed for hours longer than you should when you are feeling depressed. Listen to your body and get as much sleep as you need to feel energized for the day.

Learn the Early Warning Signs of Depression – One thing that many people who are successful at coping with depression do is learn the early warning signs that indicate depression is coming. Whether it’s being around certain people, receiving negative feedback at work, listening to sad music, or several other things, knowing how you react to different scenarios will help you manage depression. You can still watch a sad movie, just know that you will probably need a pick-me-up after the show, so maybe arrange to watch it with friends.

For many people, fighting depression is a lifelong effort. It’s not easy, but with a support system around you and the right nutritional, medical, therapeutic, and physical health strategies, it doesn’t have to be debilitating. You can live a normal life and have the success and fulfilling relationships you deserve. Get the help you need sooner rather than later and try different things to find what works for you.