How to Be Patient when Trying Depression Treatments

Опубликовал Admin
2-08-2021, 17:10
You may feel frustrated by the treatment plan for your depression and wonder why it’s taking so long for you to feel better. Perhaps you’re frustrated with the amount of time and money you’ve put into treatment with minimal results, or feel like your medications are not working. It’s important to remember that treatment takes time and there’s no “one size fits all” when treating depression. Stick with it, adjust your plan if necessary, and know that your efforts will pay off.

Practicing Increased Patience

  1. Re-evaluate your feelings of discomfort. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable. If you’ve ever injured your body, you know it takes time to mend, and that movements can be difficult for a while. It’s the same with emotional health. If you’re noticing that you are not improving or healing as fast as you’d like, remind yourself that you’re experiencing discomfort, and that’s okay.
    • Say to yourself, “I am not where I’d like to be. I feel uncomfortable, yet this is not intolerable. I can get through this.”
  2. Notice when impatience arises. You may be so solution-focused that you don’t notice what causes or contributes to your impatience. Next time you start to feel impatient about treatment, notice what’s going on. Focus on what’s happening inside of you and around you. This can give you clues as to when you feel impatient, what brings on the impatience, and how to better cope with it.
    • What led up to feeling impatient? What does it feel like to be impatient, and how are you dealing with it?
  3. Calm your anger, frustration, and irritation. Feeling impatient can increase other negative emotions such as anger, rage, frustration, and general upset. When you feel uncomfortable, it’s natural to react to not getting your way and let negative emotions creep in. Yet, these emotions can become addictive and begin to hurt your thoughts and emotions. If you notice your impatience becoming anger, frustration, or irritation, recognize the emotions and find ways to soothe them.
    • Recognize when impatience leads to other emotions. Then, take some deep breaths to help your body and mind calm down.
    • A mantra that might help is: "I accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can."
    • Even telling yourself, “I am safe, I am safe,” repeatedly can really help you relax and stay calm during turbulent moments.
  4. Watch your self-talk. If you feel impatient or let down by your current treatment, it’s easy to turn your dissatisfaction into a story. You may think, “Well, I tried therapy, but it didn’t work. And the pills didn’t work either. I must be a hopeless cause and I am doomed to be depressed forever.” If you catch yourself in some negative thought patterns, flip the script and instead, say, “I didn’t find my first therapist effective, but I’m willing to try a different therapist. Even though I’m frustrated with my medications, I’ll talk to my doctor and see what I can do to adjust them.” Changing your thoughts can help you manage your depression and give you a new perspective.
    • If you catch yourself in the middle of a negative or impatient thought, try to replace it with a different, more productive thought. For example, say, “This isn’t going how I’d like it to go, and I know it’s not my fault or anyone else’s fault. Treatment can be tricky, but I’m committed to sticking with it.”
    • Keep in mind it may take up to six months for your anti-depressive treatment to be effective.
  5. Transform impatience into patience. When you notice you are impatient, take a moment and reflect on outside things. For example, if you’re feeling impatient, find something in your immediate surroundings that arouses curiosity or interest. You may be waiting in your therapist’s office or drudging through another difficult day at work. Stop for a moment and notice something, like a bird outside the window, a cloud moving by, or an object you find interesting. This helps take your focus away from impatience and onto the present moment.
    • Do this practice any time you are feeling impatient. Remind yourself that you have the power to change your attitude and are free to do so.

Working with Professionals

  1. Work through therapy. Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is an effective approach to treating depression, including depression that has not responded to other treatments. CBT focuses on specific goals and teaching you new ways to approach your thoughts and behaviors. If you’ve been disappointed with therapy in the past, try again. Consider seeing a different therapist or trying a new setting, such as group therapy.
    • Although CBT tends to be a brief therapy, expect that changes will occur gradually and not overnight.
    • If you’re feeling frustrated with treatment, therapy is a great place to talk through that frustration. It can be helpful to talk through your emotions and work through feelings of impatience.
    • There are many resources to help you find a new therapist if necessary. Talk to your primary care physician, ask a friend, colleague, or family member, or you can search online for resources available. Psychology Today is one site that can help you locate a mental health professional who suits your needs.
  2. Take your medicines regularly. Many people stop taking prescription medications after a week because they do not notice an improvement. If you take medication, take it as prescribed by your physician. Many medications take four to eight weeks to be fully effective, or even up to six months. If you want to make changes to your medication, discuss it with your physician first.
    • Do not make any changes to medication without consulting with your prescriber beforehand. Take only your prescribed dose and do not stop taking medication without first discussing it with your physician.
  3. Recognize that many people switch medications. It’s common to change medications and adjust dosages when you take antidepressants. It can be frustrating to take medications and not see a noticeable positive effect, or to take medication and have horrible side-effects. If you’ve tried multiple medications to treat depression with no positive outcome, discuss with your physician how to move forward. Talk openly with your physician about your concerns if you’re unhappy with side-effects or feel like the medication is not effective.
    • There are different medications used to treat depression outside of typical antidepressants. Your doctor may add another medication to increase the effectiveness of your medication.
    • Knowing that it’s common to change medications may help you stay patient in your treatment. Many people take several months to find a medication that works.
  4. Treat other disorders. If you suffer from substance abuse, an eating disorder, or another medical illness, it’s important to treat any other condition alongside your depression. Other conditions can complicate or worsen symptoms of depression. Getting proper treatment is necessary.
    • If you’re not being honest with yourself about a substance problem, eating disorder, or medical illness, take some time to evaluate how these things are affecting your life and if they contribute to your depression. Get the treatment you need.
    • Depression may take longer to treat when you have a co-occurring disorder; however, it’s important to treat any problems you have alongside depression.
    • Check out How to Know if You Have a Drinking Problem for more information.
  5. Be informed of your treatment options. If you feel like medication has not been effective and that therapy is slow going, there are other options available to treat depression. Talk to your provider about what options are available to you. Some additional therapies include:
    • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): ECT sends a current through your brain and requires anesthesia for treatment. While some are hesitant to use ECT, it has a high success rate with fast results. ECT is sometimes used by pregnant patients who cannot take antidepressants.
    • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS):This treatment uses magnetism to stimulate a certain part of the brain and is effective for mild to moderate depression.
    • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS): A device is placed in the brain to send out a mild electric impulse to the vagus nerve. Of all the treatments, this is the least studied option.

Trying Complementary Treatments

  1. Engage in a healthy lifestyle. Live a lifestyle that eases depression instead of worsens it. Get enough sleep each night and eat nutritious foods. Taking care of your body can help you cope with depression more effectively.
    • For more information, check out How to Sleep Better, and How to Eat Healthy.
  2. Exercise. Getting regular exercise is a great way to beat depression. Exercise is an effective way to boost your mood, increase your physical health, and feel good about yourself. Exercise is especially effective for mild to moderate depression. Aim to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. This could include going for a walk or a hike with your dog, jumping on the trampoline, or taking a dance class.
    • This is also a great way to reduce anxiety.
    • For more information, check out How to Exercise.
  3. Start meditating. Mindful meditation has many benefits, including boosting mental and physical health. Mindful meditation involves concentrating your thoughts and practicing acceptance. Without judging yourself, observe your sensations, thoughts, and feelings. A basic mindfulness practice is to sit and notice your inhales and exhales as you breathe. Let thoughts come and go and return to your breath whenever you become distracted.
    • Another way to mindfully meditate includes observing your emotions. Notice the emotion of impatience. Do not judge it and do not try to figure it out. Instead, relax and name the emotion.
  4. Practice relaxation. Feeling impatient and frustrated can lead to stress. Deal with your stress by practicing relaxation every day for 30 minutes. You may choose to start a practice every day to keep your stress levels low. Practicing relaxation can help you cope with depression and can stabilize your moods.
    • If you’re not sure where to start, try daily yoga, qi gong, tai chi, or visualization.
    • Deep breathing can also be helpful, as it stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and helps relax your entire body. Inhale deeply, feeling your belly fill with air, hold for a moment, then exhale. Repeat until you begin to feel calm and relaxed.
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