Have you been feeling blue for a while? Do you find yourself avoiding people or activities that you formerly loved?
We all face feelings of sadness and anxiety at times in our lives, but if these feelings seem to be staying with you over time, you may want to consider whether something more serious is affecting you. Read on for information about depression and how to deal with it, head-on.
Depression is An Illness
Depression is a medical condition, with physical, mental and emotional facets. There are many potential causes of depression, including one’s biology, genetics, and stress level, and the symptoms of depression are many and varied. Individuals suffering from depression may have trouble concentrating or focusing on activities. They may feel constantly fatigued, even though they get sleep, or they may suffer from insomnia. Weight changes are reported, in addition to physical pain, such as head- or stomach-aches. Sadness, anxiety, guilt, or worthlessness are common feelings of those affected by depression.
To evaluate clinical depression, a doctor will look at the duration and severity of a patient’s symptoms. The way a person describes his experience is also important in directing him toward an appropriate treatment path. Antidepressant medications may be prescribed, which alter brain chemistry in an attempt to regulate mood. Seeking the help of a therapist, in addition to or instead of medicine, may be recommended to help patients better understand life factors which may be contributing to their depression.
Getting Help is Key
If you suspect you are depressed, the first step toward relief is to consult with your physician. If you are diagnosed with depression, your doctor will work with you to develop an action plan for improvement. If medicine is prescribed, take it exactly as directed. Never stop taking powerful antidepressant medication without consulting your doctor first. Even if a doctor advises a patient to stop taking an anti-depressant, all medications are different, and some may require the patient to decrease doses over time instead of quitting cold turkey.
Know Your Options
Be aware, also, that medication is not your only option. Because of the complex and individual nature of depression, you may discover different, yet equally successful, methods of improving your symptoms. Working with a professional therapist may help you to learn to think differently about your situation, which may, in turn, help lessen your suffering and lead you away from experiencing depression. Exercise, diet, and relaxation lead, for some people, to the same improvements facilitated by medicine or other therapy. Some patients may require a combination of treatments to deal with depression.
Look to family, friends, a trusted therapist, or a support organization for the assistance you will need in getting and staying better. Research shows that talking about one’s experience with depression is an extremely successful avenue toward lessening depression’s negative effects. Set aside regular time to spend with people with whom you can express your emotions and be honest about what you are feeling. Above all, do not isolate yourself when you feel depressed, and talk with someone immediately if you have suicidal thoughts or feelings.
Take steps to help if you notice symptoms of depression in yourself or someone you love. Addressing the feelings caused by depression — and getting help for their causes — are the best avenues for healing.