Helping A Suicidal Friend Or Relative
If you see any of the above warning signs:
- get professional help for the person
- let them know they’re not alone and that you care about them
- offer your support in finding other solutions to their problems
If you feel there is an immediate danger, stay with the person or have someone else stay with them, and remove all available means of committing suicide, such as medication.
Over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers can be just as dangerous as prescription medication.
Also, remove sharp objects and poisonous household chemicals such as bleach.
How To Tell If You Have Depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.
They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.
There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains.
The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.
Most people experience feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.
How Is Depression Treated
Depression treatment typically involves medication, psychotherapy, or both. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, brain stimulation therapy may be another treatment option. In milder cases of depression, treatment might begin with psychotherapy alone, and medication added if the individual continues to experience symptoms. For moderate or severe depression, many mental health professionals recommend a combination of medication and therapy at the start of treatment.
Choosing the right treatment plan should be based on a persons individual needs and medical situation under a providers care. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you. You can learn more about the different types of treatment, including psychotherapy, medication, and brain stimulation therapies on the NIMH’s depression webpage. For information on finding a mental health professional and questions to ask when considering therapy, visit NIMHs psychotherapies webpage.
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How To Get Help
About 2.6% of the U.S. population have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It usually comes on at about age 25, but it can happen earlier. There are different types, too. Symptoms can happen — or not happen — along a wide spectrum.
A âlife chartâ is a good way to track your moods and help your doctor diagnose whether you have bipolar disorder. Youâll record details about your moods, sleep patterns, and events in your life. If youâre on a manic swing, you might feel âupâ and capable, but a look at the big picture will show you how a âdownâ will follow. The info also will give your doctor a window into your day-to-day — even hour-to-hour — life to decide how best to proceed with treatment if needed.
Special phone apps can help you keep up, too. There are quite a few available to help you track your moods, medications, sleep patterns, and more. One even analyzes how you type on your phone: your rhythm and speed, mistakes, corrections, and other dynamics, but not your content. It then uses this data to gauge your mood and predict bipolar episodes. Just remember that these apps donât take the place of following a treatment plan under your doctorâs care.
How Can I Find Help
If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider. This could be your primary care practitioner or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Visit the NIMH Find Help for Mental Illnesses if you are unsure of where to start.
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What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor to see if they can suggest changes,
- get an advocate to help you speak your doctor,
- ask for a second opinion if you feel it would help,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
An advocate is independent from the NHS. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. They arent available in all areas.
You can ask an advocate to help you make a complaint. Advocates that do this are called NHS complaints advocates. They are free to use and don t work for the NHS. They re available in all areas.
You can search online to search for a local advocacy service. If you cant find a service you can call our advice service 0808 801 0525 . You can email us too at . We will look for you.
Talk to your doctor about your treatment to see if you can resolve the problem with them first. If you dont agree with their decisions about diagnosis or treatment, you could ask for a second opinion. You are not legally entitled to a second opinion, but your doctor might agree to it if it would help with treatment options.
- Advocacy by clicking here.
Help Yourself Help Others
Build a Support Network
Depression is, by nature, isolating. Connecting with others who understand can be an important step toward a new, healthier life. Share your feelings and gain strength by being part of a supportive group.
Connect When You Need To
Being a part of our community connects you with a sympathetic, nonjudgemental peer group that can help you get through tough times, any time. We’re here all day, every day, to support each other.
Knowledge is power! Our members enjoy a convenient and safe place to share and learn. Knowing more about how to help yourself and help others is one of the most important steps you can take toward a happier, healthier life.
Be There for Others
Supportive communities are only successful when there is mutual care. It feels good to share what you know with those who can use it, and to express your appreciation for their help. Together, we find hope and happiness.
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How Does A Doctor Make A Depression Diagnosis
We’ve gotten used to doctors using special blood tests or other complex laboratory tests to help them make a conclusive diagnosis. But most lab tests arenât very helpful when it comes to diagnosing depression. In fact, talking with the patient may be the most important diagnostic tool the doctor has. The recommendation is that doctors routinely screen everyone for depression. This screening might take place during a visit for a chronic illness, at an annual wellness visit, or during a pregnancy or postpartum visit.
To effectively diagnose and treat depression, the doctor must hear about specific symptoms of depression. They may use a series of standard questions to screen for depression. While a physical examination will reveal a patient’s overall state of health, by talking with a patient, a doctor can learn about other things that are relevant to making a depression diagnosis. A patient, for example, can report on such things as daily moods, behaviors, and lifestyle habits.
A depression diagnosis is often difficult to make because clinical depression can show up in so many different ways. For example, some clinically depressed people seem to withdraw into a state of apathy. Others may become irritable or even agitated. Eating and sleeping patterns can be exaggerated. Clinical depression may cause someone to sleep or eat to excess, or almost eliminate those activities.
What Is Treatment Resistant Depression And Is There Any Help For It
If youve tried at least two different antidepressants and your depression hasnt improved, you may be diagnosed with treatment resistant depression . TRD is a serious condition that has been highly associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Nearly 33 percent of people with TRD attempt suicide in their lifetime, more than double the rate of their treatment-responsive peers, according to a recent report in Psychiatry Advisor. It is not, however, a hopeless condition. A number of alternative treatment approaches are available, including:
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Depression Statistics: Disturbing Trends Helpful Treatment
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who, like Kashuk, know exactly what it means to be depressed. An estimated 17.3 million, or 7 percent, of adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, making it one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States.
Whats more, a recent report from Mental Health America, a nonprofit founded in 1909, offers startling statistics pertaining to one of depression’s most disturbing symptoms: thoughts of suicide.
According to its 2021 State of Mental Health in America report, suicidal ideation among adults increased by 0.15 percent between the 2016-2017 calendar year and the 2017-2018 calendar year, the most recent years for which statistics are available.
There is a bright side. Although there is no one-size-fits-all cure for depression, there are many effective treatment options, one of which is bound to help you heal if youre struggling with the illness. This cannot be emphasized enough, given that roughly two-thirds of people living with depression do not receive the care they need, according to a report in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, published online February 22, 2019.
Your Depression Goes Way Deeper Than Just Feeling Down
Bipolar depression shows up in different ways for different people. You might have trouble sleeping. Or you might sleep too much, and even find it hard to get up. The smallest decisions can seem huge. Overwhelming feelings of failure, guilt, or deep loss can trigger suicidal thoughts.
Other signs to look for:
- You feel like you canât enjoy anything.
- You find it hard to focus.
- You eat too little or too much.
- Youâre weary, and your movements seem slow.
- Youâre forgetful.
For a bipolar disorder diagnosis, you must have several depression symptoms that make it hard for you to function every day for at least 2 weeks.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of irritability, frustration or restlessness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and that do not ease even with treatment
- Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
You Have Bouts Of Over
This is mania. Itâs a high that goes way beyond âhappyâ or âjoyful.â Some people have it often, others hardly ever.
Hypomania is a milder form of this feeling. It doesnât turn into psychosis like mania can, but itâs part of a bipolar diagnosis. You might feel great and get a lot done, but those around you might see changes in your mood and activity levels.
To get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, you must have had at least one manic or hypomanic experience.
Signs of manic behavior include:
- Your mood isnât comfortable. It might feel good at first, especially after depression. But it quickly becomes erratic and out of control.
- Your judgment swerves way off. You take extreme risks. You make bad decisions with no thought for what might happen. For instance, you might spend money recklessly or have risky sex.
- You get bad-tempered and angry.
- You feel strung-out or edgy.
- You find it hard to sleep.
- You feel like your mind is a freeway. You might talk super-fast and hop subjects, or think you can do too many things at once.
Some episodes can mix mania and depression. For example, you might feel hyper-energetic and full of despair at the same time.
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How To Know If I Have Clinical Depression Symptoms
For many people, grief over the loss of a loved one is their first brush with depression. Most anyone can have a short period of depression. If youve just found out that you have a serious illness, you may experience depression. Those who have a thyroid problem may experience a bit of depression due to hormonal changes. A bad breakup or divorce can bring on depression symptoms. Youll be happy to know that none of these situations necessarily leads to clinical depression. However, if your feelings of sadness start to go deeper and darker, and it last for months, you may have clinical depression symptoms.
The only way to know for sure is to have an evaluation by a therapist. No one has to go through clinical depression because its a mental health disorder where treatment can be quite effective.
How To Treat It
The main ways to treat and manage bipolar disorder include:
- Medications, like mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and sometimes antidepressants
- Action plans to educate you about the disorder. These can help you manage it on your own by helping you know when an episode is coming on.
- Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and family-focused therapy
- Activities that support your treatment, such as exercise and spiritual practices
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What Your Teen May Be Experiencing
- Depressed, irritable, sad, or empty mood for at least two weeks
- Changes in appetite, eating too much or too little, significant weight gain or loss
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Physical agitation
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of guilt or not being “good enough”
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Recurrent suicidal thoughts or behavior
Risk Factors That Can Make You More Vulnerable
Depression most often results from a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. For example, if you went through a divorce, were diagnosed with a serious medical condition, or lost your job, the stress could prompt you to start drinking more, which in turn could cause you to withdraw from family and friends. Those factors combined could then trigger depression.
The following are examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible:
Loneliness and isolation. Theres a strong relationship between loneliness and depression. Not only can lack of social support heighten your risk, but having depression can cause you to withdraw from others, exacerbating feelings of isolation. Having close friends or family to talk to can help you maintain perspective on your issues and avoid having to deal with problems alone.
. While a network of strong and supportive relationships can be crucial to good mental health, troubled, unhappy, or abusive relationships can have the opposite effect and increase your risk for depression.
Recent stressful life experiences. Major life changes, such as a bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or financial problems can often bring overwhelming levels of stress and increase your risk of developing depression.
Chronic illness or pain. Unmanaged pain or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
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Where Do I Go From Here
If you’re having a hard time coping with your diagnosis, you may want to consider outside help. Here are some places to look:
Your family doctor
A mental health organization like the Mood Disorders Association of BC or the Canadian Mental Health Association
A trusted friend or family member
An online support group
A private psychotherapist or counsellor
Your local mental health clinic or centre
Your doctor or mental health professional can recommend resources in your community. In addition to professional resources, you may find non-professional support helpful. Here are some other places to look for help:
BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information
Visit www.heretohelp.bc.ca for more info sheets on depression and mood disorders, self-tests and personal stories. You can also find fact sheets on working with your health care provider and preventing relapse from depression.
Support groups are an important way to find support and information. They may help you feel less alone and more connected, even if you havent told many others about your diagnosis. You can find support groups in your community through the Mood Disorders Association of BC online at www.mdabc.net or by phone at 604-873-0103. You can also find support groups online. For more on choosing the right support group for you, see the fact sheet Choosing the Support Group that’s Right for You.
Common Causes Of Depression
Scientists do not yet know the exact cause of depression. However, many experts think that several factors play a role in its onset, including:
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. Having a close relative with the condition can raise a persons risk of developing it themselves.
- Biological and chemical differences: Physical changes or chemical imbalances in the brain may contribute to the development of depression.
- Hormones: Hormonal changes or imbalances in the body may cause or trigger depression. For example, many people experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
- Trauma or stress: Periods of high stress, traumatic events, or major life changes can trigger an episode of depression in some people.
- Personality traits: Having low self-esteem or being pessimistic, for example, may increase the risk of depression.
- Other illnesses: Having another mental or physical health condition or taking certain medications can increase the risk of depression.
People who believe that they may have hidden depression should contact a doctor or mental health professional. These professionals can help make a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment.
Other steps to manage depression might include:
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