Depression: When Should You Get Help?

Depression affects as many as 1 in 10 adults in the U.S., reports the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention. You may be depressed if you have these symptoms:

  • Have little interest or pleasure in doing things,
  • Can’t work or have trouble with doing routine activities
  • Feel down, very sad, or hopeless
  • Have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or find you are sleeping too much
  • Feel tired or have little energy
  • Can’t eat or are overeating
  • Feel bad about yourself or that you are a failure or that you let yourself or your family down
  • Have trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television
  • Find that you are moving or speaking so slowly that other people have noticed…or the opposite: you are so fidgety or restless that you can’t be still

Some people fear seeking mental health care.  But seeking professional help is often the best way to get well. Mental health is just like physical health, sometimes we need to get treatment and care to get better.

Depression is often associated with other chronic diseases, like arthritis or heart disease, and can make managing those conditions more difficult. For many people, physical conditions can contribute to problems with their mental health—problems that are often ignored and untreated.

Who Do You Call if You Are Feeling Depressed?

If you feel you are depressed, it may make sense to start with your primary care physician (PCP). Your primary care physician can usually rule out physical causes for the problem and prescribe medications for treating depression - and may be able to refer you to a good therapist. If you have a chronic illness, they can also monitor your medications for adverse mental health effects.

What Treatments Are There for Depression?

Research shows that medication and certain talk therapies are about equally effective - and using both together is better for some (but not all) people. If you’ve had depression for a long time or multiple times, a combination of therapy and medication is usually recommended.

Online Resources about Depression

Resources reviewed June 2013

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