Hints for Speeding Your Recovery from Depression

By, Ivan K. Goldberg, M.D.

In addition to psychotherapy and medication, he following are some simple things which may help speed your recovery from depression. The more of them that you make yourself to do, the faster you are likely to feel better.

1. Do not remain in bed or sleep for more than 8-hours a day. Over-sleeping has been shown to increase depressed feelings.

You ahould have a fixed time at which you go to bed, and a fixed time at which you get out of bed in the morning. It at all possible your bed time should be no later than 1 AM and you should be out if bed not more than 8 hours later.
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2. Get outside for at least 1/2-hour between 11 AM and 2 PM. Bright light has been shown to have an antidepressant effect. Getting out of doors even on a moderately overcast day gives you the light your require.
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3. Walk briskly, or get some other exercise, for at least 30-minutes every day. Taking a walk out of doors between 11 AM and 2 PM takes care of both your need for bright light and you need for exercise.
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4. Totally abstain from the use of alcohol and recreational drugs. . Alcohol and street drugs both induce depression and prevent antidepressants from working effectively. If you must drink, limit your intake of alcohol to not more than three units of alcohol PER WEEK. (A unit of alcohol is a 12 oz. bottle of beer, a 4-oz. glass of wine, or a 1-1/2 oz. shot of whisky.) Totally avoid the use of street drugs.
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5. Increase the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. . There is highly suggestive evidence that increasing one’s intake of EPA, one of the Omega-3 fatty acids, helps recovery from depression. This can be done most easily by taking a supplement that contains 600 mg. of EPA in each capsule. The total daily intake of EPA should be about 1,800 mg., and it should be divided into one or two doses each day. Capsules containing EPA can be purchased in any “health food” store. Make sure that the EPA content of each capsule is 600 mg. per capsule.
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6. Avoid the use of products that contain aspartame (Equal® or NutraSweet®). It has been shown that many people with depression become more depressed when they use these products.
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