How Common Is Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the US reported having at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows.
Thats 7.1% of all adults ages 18 and older. Women have a higher prevalence of experiencing a major depressive episode than men .
Depression is especially crushing for the workforce: Its the number one leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The total economic burden of MDD is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year in the United States alonea figure that reflects costs associated with missed days, reduced productivity, treatment for depression, and suicide.
Recognize You Are Not Alone
If 22% of Americans constantly feel lonely, know that if you’re feeling isolated, you’re sharing the same experience with millions of other people.
” I remind myself just how pervasive loneliness is and I imagine being connected to ‘all of the lonely people out there’. Sometimes I listen to Eleanor Rigby to hammer that point home,” says Megan Bruneau, therapist and executive coach. “Loneliness is a healthy emotion, revealing places we yearn for connection.”
Share A Good News With A Friend
Well, we have mentioned above to connect with others to battle off your feelings of loneliness but this point in this list of things to do when you feel sad and alone is unique on its own.
Generally when we call a closed one or a friend we are subconsciously involved in complaining about our lives but take a moment and share one piece of happy information with your pal. It will deepen your relationships and feed your brain with positive hormones.
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Coping With Depression Tip : Reach Out And Stay Connected
Getting support plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When youre depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate so that connecting to even close family members and friends can be tough.
You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking. Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it wont mean youre a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to turn to, its never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
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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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Get Your Thyroid And Vitamin D Levels Checked
Two major causes of depression can be thyroid hormone levels that are off and low vitamin D.
When your thyroid hormone levels are off, a variety of symptoms can arise. One of them is depression.
Vitamin D deficiency is also one of the major causes of depression. Because of the prevalence of sunscreen use and a significant shortage of sunshine during some parts of the year, many Americans dont get enough sun.
The sun is the only way for a human being to get Vitamin D so sun deficiency means a vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D deficiency leads to depression.
Fortunately, in both cases, testing is easy a simple blood test and the treatment involves taking a pill.
So, if you’re suddenly feeling depressed for no reason, call your primary care doctor and get yourself checked right away.
Information For Family Carers And Friends
You can get support if you are a carer, friend or family member of someone living with depression.
Being a carer might mean you can claim certain benefits that might help you and the person you care for. For more information, please see the Mental Health and Money Advice services website:www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/en/welfare-benefits/what-benefits-are-available-for-mental-health-carers/
You could also get in touch with carer support groups or sibling support groups. You can search for local groups in your area online or ask your GP.
You can ask your local authority for a carers assessment if you need more practical support to help care for someone.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. There are rules about information sharing and confidentiality which may make it difficult for you to get all the information you need in some circumstances.
You can find out more information about:
How can I support the person that I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with depression if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills. You can use this to support them to get help and stay well.
Below are some initial suggestions for providing practical day to day support to someone with depression.
You can find out more information about:
You can find more information about:
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Talking To Someone About Depression
It may seem like theres no way your parents will be able to help, especially if they are always nagging you or getting angry about your behavior. The truth is, parents hate to see their kids hurting. They may feel frustrated because they dont understand what is going on with you or know how to help.
- If your parents are abusive in any way, or if they have problems of their own that makes it difficult for them to take care of you, find another adult you trust . This person can either help you approach your parents, or direct you toward the support you need.
- If you truly dont have anyone you can talk to, there are many hotlines, services, and support groups that can help.
- No matter what, talk to someone, especially if you are having any thoughts of harming yourself or others. Asking for help is the bravest thing you can do, and the first step on your way to feeling better.
Make Someone Else’s Day A Little Better
“One of the coping skills I use with my bipolar depression is to take five minutes and make someone else’s day better. Uplifting another person instantly makes you feel better. You never know what someone else is going through, so a smile, compliment, or act of kindness can go a long way on both ends.”
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Perceptions Can Affect Treatment And Outcomes
Looking at the causes helps people understand that being depressed is a medical condition, not a choice.
Depression can be, needs to be, and deserves to be treated. However, there are many different ways to treat the condition. What works for one person may not work for another, and some people have to try many different options before finding something effective.
Its also not unusual for people to need to try different treatments throughout their lives to manage depression, as the condition can change and evolve in response to changes in a persons life .
If you are depressed but dont understand why, you may recognize that you need help and may want it, but may also be struggling with the feeling that you dont have the right to ask for help.
Know this: Every person with depression deserves treatment.
Check Your Social Media Usage
While the jury is still out on whether or not the rise of social media is driving loneliness and depression, it doesn’t hurt to reevaluate the influence it has on your life.
Are you using it to make meaningful connections? Are you spending too much time on it? Is it causing you to withdraw in unhelpful ways?
“If we feel dissatisfied with our face-to-face relationships, we retreat into the world of social media, which only exacerbates the problem,” says Professor Floyd of the University of Arizona. “On social media, it seems as though everyone else has better jobs, better houses, better vacations, and better relationships than we do. That isn’t actually true, of course.”
If Instagram and Facebook are dragging you down, it might be time for a temporary screen detox.
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Adhere To Medication Plan
If you were prescribed antidepressant medication as part of your treatment plan, it is very important that you adhere to the medication schedule that you were prescribed. Do not abruptly stop taking medication if you do not like how it is making you feel.
Instead, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your medication and possible changes that you could make. Abruptly stopping your medication could lead to withdrawal effects instead, follow the advice of your doctor before stopping or changing any medication.
Get Curious Ask Questions Find Answers
Do you know what is unlimited and never-ending in life? Knowledge! So, when you feel lonely, set your thoughts free to wander in different directions, get curious about things around you, ask yourself questions , and get engaged in finding answers. This will not keep your lonely feelings at bay but will also help you expand your knowledge bubble.
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How Is Depression Diagnosed
To be diagnosed with depression, an individual must have five depression symptoms every day, nearly all day, for at least 2 weeks. One of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. Children and adolescents may be irritable rather than sad.
If you think you may have depression, talk to your health care provider. Primary care providers routinely diagnose and treat depression and refer individuals to mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists.
During the visit, your provider may ask when your symptoms began, how long they last, how often they occur, and if they keep you from going out or doing your usual activities. It may help to make some notes about your symptoms before your visit. Certain medications and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same depression symptoms. Your provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests.
Read NIMHs Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.
If Youre Experiencing Symptoms
- Recognize if youre starting to slip. If you are struggling with new or worsening symptoms, dont hesitate to seek help. If you already have a therapist, reach out to them right away. If you do not have one, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP for a free, confidential referral for treatment. If youre considering harming yourself, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 .
- Ignore incorrect attitudes. The old idea of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is not only outdated, but also not based in science. If you feel depressed, there is no cause for guilt, says Dr. Solomon.
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Getting Out Of A Funk: How To Help Yourself Through Depression
Everyone has off days where they feel tired, irritable, and sad. Its normal to feel sadness as a response to challenging life events, loss, or changes, but sometimes these feelings can stick around for a while if left unaddressed and make it difficult for you to get through each day.
Heres how you can tell when youre in a funk or maybe even experiencing a mild depression as well as what you can do to help yourself feel better.
What If I Don’t Know What To Say
Don’t wait to talk just because you’re not sure what to say. You can keep it simple. You can start just by saying, “Got a minute? I need to talk.” Then say what you’re going through. For example, “I’ve been feeling down a lot lately. I think I might be depressed.” The person you’re talking to might ask you to tell them more. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get started talking.
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Sleeping On Your Belly
Do you like to sleep on your tummy, but experience problems oftentimes? The position might not help you. If you experience insomnia, chances are that youre not comfortable sleeping in this position. It can tense your neck and your lower back. But if this is how you like to sleep, you might consider using a very soft cooling pillow to keep your neck comfortable.
Do What Makes You Feel Good
When we are feeling depressed, isolated and lost, our inclination is to collapse into our life. We stay in bed, we dont shower or eat well and cut off contact with those we love.
Let me tell you: if you are feeling depressed, collapsing is absolutely the worst thing that you can do. Instead, it is important to do things that make you feel good.
For me, I keep a list of things to do when I am feeling depressed. 1. Take a long, hard walk . 2. Do yoga. 3. Watch The Walking Dead. 4. Take a bath. 5. Go to the movies. 6. Have sex. 7. Eat Pad Thai. When I am depressed I do one, or all, of those things and my depression is often lifted.
So, what makes you happy? Write out a list, when you arent depressed, of what makes you happy so that when you are depressed you are ready.
Volunteer To Help Others And Yourself
For a moment let us shift our mental focus from our needs and sad thoughts to the needs of others . Building a social connection is definitely one of the best things to do when you feel lonely and topping it with acts of giving back to your community just makes it even better. Just by doing something selfless on its own is a great way to deal with loneliness.
Engage In Meaningful Activities
One of the hallmarks of depression is a loss of interest in pleasurable activities. Even if youre not motivated to do the things you normally enjoy, try going through the motions anyway.
Volunteer. Engage in creative pursuits like writing, painting or playing music. Participate in your faith community.
As you move the focus off yourself and onto the activity and start connecting with others, your spirits will lift.
Theres no surefire way to stop a depressive episode in its tracks. But having a plan to address depression when it strikes can make it more manageable and help you to feel better sooner.
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Take Some Steps On Your Own
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Get organized. “Less clutter in your physical surroundings, email inbox, and to- do bucket will help your mind be more at ease,” Braslow says. You dont have to tackle it all at once. Make a plan to work on one area at a time.
Make new goals. Is there something youve always wanted to do, or a place you want to go? Create a step-by-step, realistic plan to make it happen.
Do something meaningful. Get involved in an activity that feels important to you. It may be athletic, political, spiritual, or a social cause where you can volunteer. Look for something that gives you a sense of purpose.
Be creative. Direct your focus into something constructive. Rediscover your strengths. If you have a long-lost talent or interest, dive back into it. Braslow suggests trying poetry, music, photography, or design.
Read a good book. It’s a great way to relax. Theres even research that shows that reading books on spirituality or psychology may boost your mood.
Causes And Treatments Of Depression
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Depression can have many causes, all of which are complex and can be difficult to understand. In some cases, feelings of depression can be clearly connected to an experience in someones life, such as a tragic loss or a violent event. Other people may be aware they have a family history of mental illness and, as a result, may not be caught off guard by a diagnosis of depression.
However, some people become depressed and dont know why. They may feel they do not have a reason to be depressedespecially if they perceive their life as being good or easy compared to others.
The pressure to explain or justify how they feel can make depression worse and may prevent people from getting necessary treatment.