Depression can feel like an unwelcome guest that overstays its welcome. It’s more than just feeling down or having a bad day; it’s a complex mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. By raising awareness, we can help break the stigma surrounding depression and encourage open discussions about mental health.
Depression is an illness that affects your ability to function and cope with life. The typical symptoms are:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, irritable, anxious or angry
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities, including sex
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating, making decisions or remembering details
- Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
- Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
There are many factors that can cause and contribute to depression, all of which are real and treatable. The first step to getting the right treatment plan is to reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional. By getting properly evaluated, other health conditions can be ruled out and you can receive the correct diagnosis. Although your individual plan is up to you and your doctor, many people find that therapy, medication, or a combination of both are the best forms of treatment for depression.
Therapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is a widely recognized and effective treatment for depression. CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to depression. Through regular sessions with a trained therapist, individuals can gain insight into their emotions, develop coping strategies, and acquire valuable skills to manage their depression. Therapy provides a safe and supportive environment to express emotions, leading to increased self-awareness and personal growth.
Antidepressant medications are commonly prescribed to individuals with moderate to severe depression. These medications work by restoring balance to brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) involved in regulating mood. It is important to note that medication should always be prescribed and monitored by a qualified healthcare professional. While medication can be incredibly helpful in alleviating symptoms, it is generally considered most effective when combined with therapy or other forms of treatmen
In addition to therapy and medication, making certain lifestyle changes can significantly impact the experience of depression. Regular exercise has been shown to release feel-good hormones, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. Engaging in activities that bring joy and purpose, practicing mindfulness or meditation, maintaining a healthy diet, and ensuring adequate sleep are all key elements in managing depression.
Suicide & Crisis Lifeline ➡️ Call 988: Available 24/7, this lifeline provides free and confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or someone you know.
Crisis Text Line: Sometimes, expressing your feelings through text can feel more comfortable than speaking over the phone. By texting “HOME” to 741741, you’ll be connected with a trained crisis counselor who will provide you with support and resources. Remember, you don’t have to face your struggles alone; help is just a text away!
Call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room if you or someone you know are in immediate crisis.