The main diagnostic tool is an in-depth conversation with a psychologist. The thoughts and feelings of the patient and their typical behaviour patterns are the subject of this conversation. Together they discuss how the symptoms are affecting the patient’s life, or even making it harder. Blood and laboratory tests can also be used to help identify whether the causes are medical.
If this does actually lead to a diagnosis of depression, self-help and professional support should go hand-in-hand. It is particularly important that the patient does not isolate themselves, but rather stays in contact with family and friends. People with depression should talk about their condition and confide in those they are close to. This feeling of closeness, understanding and support can accelerate their recovery.
Expressing one’s own fears and worries to oneself is also helpful. Finding the courage to talk openly with a confidant can help those with depression to recognise that their fears are unfounded.
It is also important to look after one’s physical health. When dealing with a mental illness, it tempting to neglect one’s physical health. Above all, a balanced diet that provides the body with everything it needs in order to function optimally is essential.
Physical activity is also important. This does not necessarily have to be a challenging work-out. Even regular walks have been proven to have a positive effect on mental and physical well-being.
It goes without say that the mind must not be blurred with alcohol or drugs in order to shut out thoughts.
Routines are another valuable support, even during leisure time. Concentrating on following a fixed schedule helps to reduce the time spent occupied by fears and worries. Crossing completed items off a to-do-list helps those with depression to keep in mind what they have already achieved. This can help to improve their feelings of self-worth.