Depression is serious but can be treated. More than a blue mood, depression can change thoughts, feelings and actions, and also how your body feels. Depression is a disease, and it takes more than just “toughening up” to manage it. Without treatment, symptoms can last for months, years or one’s whole life.
Depression comes in many forms:
· Depression can occur all of a sudden for no clear reason.
· Some people feel depressed once in their life; others feel that way often.
· Some people’s symptoms are so strong they cannot function as usual.
· Other people can still function but do not feel well.
· Some people have bipolar disorder (also called manic-depressive illness). They feel “low” at times and “high” other times.
Depression can lower your ability or interest in getting help. You may feel tired, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. For that reason:
· You may need help from family and friends to find treatment.
· You may be so depressed that someone must take you for treatment.
· Don’t ignore suicidal thoughts, words or acts.
· Seek professional help for depression.
The signs of depression
The following are some of the symptoms you may feel.
· Sadness for longer than two weeks
· Frequent crying
· Guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
· Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
· Chronic aches and pains that don’t feel better with treatment
· Eating problems (loss of appetite or weight, or weight gain)
· Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
· Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
· Problems sleeping (insomnia, early-morning waking or oversleeping)
When should you seek help
Call your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or talk to your primary care doctor if you have been feeling any of the above signs of depression for more than two weeks, or if they are hurting your work or family life. You can use the checklist as a starting point with your doctor or EAP for identifying depression. A good diagnosis involves a total physical checkup and a review of your family’s health history.
Depression often co-exists with other medical, psychiatric or substance abuse disorders. In those cases, depression is often not treated or even recognized. Even when depression occurs with other problems, it can usually be treated. The effective treatment of depression often seems to help other conditions to respond better to treatment as well.
This article is for informational and self-help purposes only. It should not be treated as a substitute for financial, medical, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice, or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified professional.
MHN Member Pulse Digest March 2015