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Lifestyle Tips for Treatment-Resistant Depression

How you live can help support expert medical care.

Lifestyle and Treatment-Resistant Depression

Unfortunately, when it comes to the benefits of lifestyle changes, many people with depression draw the wrong lesson. Rather than focusing on the potential they have to help themselves, they focus on a darker possibility.

"People with depression can start to feel like they're causing their illness," says Cook. "They blame themselves for not doing enough. They start to think that if only they ate better, or exercised more regularly, or meditated with enough dedication, they wouldn't be depressed."

But that's not the case, Cook says. Treatment-resistant depression is a real illness, and blaming yourself for it is a mistake. It's not something that can be conquered through force of will alone.

Instead, you should see lifestyle changes as another potential tool -- just like therapy and medication --that could help. Try a few out. If they help, that's great. If they don't, try something else. The point is to keep using different approaches -- whether types of medication, or types of therapy, or types of exercise -- until you find the approach that works for you.

Whatever you do, don't give up on treatment, MacKinnon says -- and don't let your doctor give up either. If your health care provider has run out of ideas for your treatment-resistant depression, get a referral to an expert.

"There's always a treatment for everybody with treatment-resistant depression," says MacKinnon. "Eventually, we find something that works."

Reviewed on April 29, 2011

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