10 things you should know about Depression

Posted by wendy on February 10, 2010 under Uncategorized | Comments are off for this article

1. Depression affects your mind and your body.  Depression affects your thoughts, feelings, actions and health.  It affects the way you sleep and eat.  Depression makes it hard to go to work, school or social events.  Depression can also affect your relationships with other people.

2.  There is no single cause for Depression.  Depression can be triggered by changes in your brain.  It can also be caused by stress, illness or a painful life event.  Depression can run in your family.  The cause of depression is not always clear.

3.  Depression is not a simple change of mood.  If not treated, depression can last for weeks, months or years.  When you are depressed, you cannot “make” it better. 

4.  Anyone can become depressed.  Depression can affect men, women, children and the elderly in every ethnicity and economical background.

5.  Some people have only a few symptoms of depression, while others may have many.  Symptoms can come on suddenly or happen gradually over time.  Some common symptoms include: 

Feeling sad or irritable for no specific reason – Extreme tiredness – Changes in sleeping and eating habits – A loss of energy or enthusiasm – Trouble thinking, concentration and remembering – Lack of interest in activities that once brought you pleasure – Physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, stomach problems, and pain – Feelings of guilt and despair – Thoughts of death or suicide – If symptoms persist for longer than a few weeks, depression may be the cause.

6.  Talking to a health care provider is the first step in treating depression.

The health care provider will give you a physical exam and ask about your symptoms.  A physical exam can rule out other causes, such as illness or medications that can cause depression like symptoms.

7.  You can find relief from depression.  There are a variety of treatment options.  Sometimes, more than one approach is needed.  Common treatments include:  Counseling can help people change thought patterns and manage stress.  Antidepressant medication are helpful in many cases, you will need to work with a health care provider to find the medication that works best.  It may take several weeks or longer for the antidepressant to start working.  The best results are usually seen when counseling and medication are used. 

8.  Healing from depression takes time.  While you cannot make your self better, you may be able to help the process.  Set small goals for your self, break big tasks into smaller ones.  Stay active, physical activity can help to lift your mood.  Eat three meals a day, get plenty of sleep, and stay away from alcohol and other drugs.  Try to surround your self with supportive people. 

9.  Family and friends can help.  The most important thing anyone can do for someone with depression is to help him or her with treatment.  It is important to show care and concern.  Do not ignore comments about suicide.  Stay with the person until he or she gets help.  If your are depressed, the hardest thing may be to reach out for help.  However, this is the first step to feeling better. 

10.  For more information talk with your health care provider or contact Healing Path Counseling at 501-327-7224.  Visit these websites:

National institute of Mental Health www.nimh.nih.gov

National Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org

Mental Health America www.mentalhealthamerica.net

If you are in crisis or afraid you may hurt your self, call 1-800-273-8255

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