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Feeling Depressed - Prevention

Life is full of changes. Everyday events and our reactions to them sometimes interfere with our sense of well-being and peace of mind. While it is common to get the "blues" or to feel sad occasionally, you may be able to prevent feelings of depression.

  • Have a regular checkup with your health professional. Your health professional may evaluate your thyroid function and other factors. Many other diseases, such as coronary artery disease and diabetes, can increase your risk of feeling depressed.
  • Talk to your health professional about light therapy if you think that you feel worse during the winter months. Just 30 minutes of light therapy each day improves mood in many people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For more information, see the topic Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
  • Maintain regular sleep and eating patterns. Do not skip meals.
  • Try to get some exercise every day. Walking is a good way to start.
  • Get involved in social groups or volunteer to help others. Being alone makes things seem worse than they are.
  • Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines, or heroin, to "self-treat" your symptoms. A treatment plan that includes prescription medicine and regular visits to a health professional is much safer and more effective.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Smoking increases your risk of developing coronary artery disease. The use of smokeless (spit) tobacco increases your risk for developing cancer of the mouth, neck, throat, and digestive tract. Your risk of developing depression increases if you have coronary artery disease or cancer.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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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