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Feeling Depressed - Home Treatment

If you are thinking about suicide, talk to someone about your feelings, such as your health professional or a close friend or family member you trust. Don't wait. If you are not able to talk with your health professional immediately, call your local suicide hotline or this suicide hotline (Canada and U.S.): 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255.

Positive actions and feelings can help lift your spirits. Although thinking positively may be very difficult when you are feeling depressed, try to consider the positive side of situations and events in your life.

Appreciate any moments when you have positive thoughts. The following tips may help.

  • Practice actionset.gif positive thinking. Make statements that promote good thoughts. Replace negative self-talk with positive comments.
  • Take action to put more fun into your life:
    • Exercise. Running, brisk walking, and other forms of aerobic exercise improve symptoms of mild to moderate depression.
    • Work in the garden or play with a pet. Plants and pets can be very therapeutic. When you pet an animal, your blood pressure goes down and your heart rate slows. Filling the needs of animals and plants can help you feel useful.
    • Visit a friend. Spending time with a good friend may help you forget about your problems for a while and help you see the brighter side of life.
    • Have a massage or a manicure, or get your hair cut.
    • Rearrange your furniture.
  • Talk with your health professional about nonprescription medicines, such as St. John's wort or SAM-e.
    • Talk to your health professional or pharmacist before taking St. John's wort if you are taking any other medicines. St. John's wort may change the way other medicines work. In some cases, it may decrease how well medicines work. In other cases, it may make medicines poisonous.
    • Do not use alcohol or other mood-altering drugs while you are taking a nonprescription medicine.
    • Follow the directions on the label. Do not exceed the recommended dose.
    • If you are or could be pregnant, talk with your health professional before taking any medicine or supplement.
    • For more information on dietary supplements, visit the website of the Office of Dietary Supplements, within the National Institutes of Health, at
  • Take a class or go to a free lecture at the public library or local hospital.
  • Take a vacation. Sometimes just getting away for the afternoon will brighten your mood.
  • Go to the movies or rent a funny movie.
  • If nothing feels fun, try doing something that you used to enjoy.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • You feel sad, lonely, or unhappy for weeks.
  • Your symptoms become more severe or frequent.
  • You are not getting better as expected after starting treatment for depression.

If you think a friend or loved one is depressed, you may feel helpless. But there are still actionset.gif things you can do to help the person, such as talking with him or her about getting treatment. You can actionset.gif offer support and be a caring friend.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 27, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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