What are depression and anxiety?

  • Depression and anxiety are illnesses that affect your mood and feelings so that it becomes difficult to cope with everyday life.
  • A person with depression and anxiety cannot control their symptoms. They are not lazy or weak.
  • The goal of treatment is to lift your mood and feelings so that you are able to cope with everyday life.

What can help you reach your goal for depression and anxiety?

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Get enough sleep.

  • Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, fizzy drinks) and smoking for several hours before bed.
  • Try to have regular bedtime and wake-up times.
  • Avoid afternoon naps.
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Get active.
Regular exercise can help your mood.

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Avoid alcohol and drugs.
If you need help to quit, ask your healthcare worker.

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Do relaxing breathing exercises every day.

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Find a creative or fun activity to do.

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Spend time with supportive friends and family.

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Talk to someone you trust.
Talk to a friend, join a support group or phone a helpline.

Keep a check on your condition

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  • Keep a diary of your moods and how you are coping with everyday life. Expect a gradual improvement with treatment over 4–6 weeks.
  • Record any side effects of your medication.
  • If you have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, know that these occur commonly in depression and anxiety. Talk to a person you trust and seek healthcare on the same day.

Take your medication as instructed

Antidepressants can treat both depression and anxiety.

  • They usually take 4–6 weeks to start working. You may have some side effects during this time.
  • Antidepressants are not addictive. Keep taking the medication even if you feel well.
  • Most people take antidepressants for about a year. Only stop or change the medication in discussion with your healthcare worker.
  • If you are unsure how to take your medication, ask your healthcare worker for help.
  • Check the medication list to understand how your medication works and what side effects it might cause.
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Know when to seek healthcare

If you have any of the following, seek healthcare the same day:

  • You have persistent thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  • You have run out of medication.
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