When a person is diagnosed with depression, the health care professional will discuss treatment. It will almost always include medicine (antidepressants) but also other steps that you can take to deal with the condition. You don’t have to try alternative therapies but following a few self-help steps will make a huge difference in the outcome.

Lifestyle changes are important in dealing with depression. Some of the choices you are making now could be factors in your diagnosis. For instance, some of the risk factors include: substance abuse, obesity, poor nutrition and stress.

If you want to stack the deck in your favor, here are a few lifestyle changes that it might be worth your while to make.

1. Stop substance abuse. This may require in-patient treatment or therapy to deal with.
2. Become committed to your treatment. Attend all of your therapy sessions, take medications as prescribed and seek the support of family and friends.
3. Join a support group. Local self-help centers and churches conduct support groups for a variety of conditions. Talking with others who are going through the same thing can inspire confidence and motivation in you.
4. Scale down your schedule. Stress is not going to help you to deal with depression. Cut out all unnecessary activities to streamline your life. It is not a sign of weakness; you are helping yourself to recover.
5. Maintain a personal support structure. Find people who don’t mind holding you accountable and spending time with you.
6. Reevaluate your diet. You are what you eat. Increase your neurotransmitter levels with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish. Make one change at a time and build up slowly.
7. Get moving. Exercise helps to maintain a positive mood in your life. Go bike riding or walking with others.

The best motivator is when you can help yourself. Along with your medical treatment, make lifestyle changes to stop depression symptoms.