People with depressive issues do not all have the same symptoms. However, the major signs include:
– Feelings of hopelessness
– Irritability and restlessness
– Persistent sad or an “empty” feelings
– Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
– Decreased energy or constantly feeling tired
– Trouble concentration and making decisions
– Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
– Weight loss or gain (caused by overeating or loss of appetite)
– Aches or body pains
– Thoughts of suicide or a suicide attempt
Depression is more than just being sad — it is a treatable illness. It appears to be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors. Some types tend to run in families. However, trauma, loss of a loved, one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode. Other episode may occur with or without an obvious cause.
There are several different forms of depression:
Major depression – severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once is a person’s life but more commonly, a person has several episodes.
Persistent depressive disorder – depressed mood that lasts for a year or more.
Bipolar disorder – also called manic-depressive illness. It is characterized by cycling mood changes that range from extreme highs to extreme lows.
Depression, even the most severe cases, can be effectively treated. The earlier that treatment can begin the more effective it is.
The first step to getting treatment is to connect with a mental health specialist. Once diagnosed, a person with depression can be treated in several ways. The most common treatments are medication and psychotherapy.
If you have depression, you may feel exhausted and hopeless. It may be really hard to take any action to help yourself. But as you begin to recognize your depression and begin treatment, you will start to feel better.
If you are thinking of harming yourself – seek help NOW! Do not allow yourself to be alone.
If you are only mildly depressed – do not wait too long to get evaluated or treated. There is research showing the longer one waits, the greater the impairment can be down the road.
Before your treatment starts, there are things you can do:
-Try to be active and exercise. Go to a movie, a ball game, or another event or
activity that you once enjoyed.
-Set realistic goals for yourself.
-Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can.
-Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
-Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly “snap out of” your depression. Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.
-Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced or changing jobs, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
-Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.
-Continue to educate yourself about depression.
-Contact me if you can’t find a resource to help.
There are many different resources
Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
Health maintenance organizations
Community mental health centers
Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
State hospital outpatient clinics
Family services, social agencies, or clergy
Peer support groups
Private clinics and facilities