One of the biggest problems for people affected by depression is that the things that give immediate relief to the symptoms (quick fixes) tend to make the condition worse in the long term. On the other hand, the things that promote sustained recovery tend to have little effect in the short term.
A quick fix can be anything that makes you feel better in the short term but makes your depression worse in the long term. One of the most common types of quick fix is substance abuse. Commonly available substances that offer temporary relief from the symptoms of depression include:
Some people may even turn to illegal drugs to provide temporary relief from their symptoms.
The problem with these substances is that they carry significant risks to your health in the long term. They also carry a risk of addiction/dependency in which you find yourself having to use more of the substance to achieve the same effect, and in which the withdrawal effects get progressively worse.
Each of us can find quick fix behaviours to engage in. Again, these provide short term relief, but only at the cost of greater problems later on. Common quick fix behaviours include:
- avoidance behaviour (e.g., not opening the post or answering the phone)
- comfort eating
- “being busy” (i.e., doing lots of trivial things as a way of avoiding addressing important problems)
Most often, a quick fix is less about the behaviour than the reasons behind it. Someone might, for example, engage in a large amount of exercise because they are training to run a marathon. Someone else might be doing less exercise, but doing it solely to avoid tackling their immediate problems.