Thursday, May 23, 2024

What To Do When You Think You Have Depression

I Think I Have Depression What Should I Do

How To Tell If You’re Depressed

I Think I Have Depression. What Should I do?

Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide. So if you are depressed, you must get treatment.

First you need to make appointments with a doctor and a therapist so you can be assessed. Do not assume that you know everything that is going on with your body. You could have a medical condition that is causing your depression. So please do not try to do a self-diagnosis. Depression is a serious disorder that needs to be assessed by professionals so, again, please make appointments with a doctor and a therapist.

If you are diagnosed with depression, you have a chemical imbalance in your brain. And the treatment for your depression will work to rectify that imbalance.

You may be prescribed an antidepressant. These medications work very well for most people, moderately well for others, and not at all for others.

But please note that antidepressants require several weeks to become effective. So consult with whoever prescribed the medicine to you so you will know how long, on average, it will take for you to feel better.

Also, you want to be aware of all of the possible side effects, and if you experience any of them you will want to contact your doctor or psychiatrist immediately.

If the first antidepressant that you take does not work for you, you may be prescribed a different one. Please be patient. Sometimes it takes a while to determine which is the best medicine or medicines for any individual.

Increased Fatigue And Sleep Problems

Part of the reason you might stop doing things you enjoy is because you feel very tired. Depression often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, which can be among the most debilitating symptoms of depression. This could lead to excessive sleeping.

Depression is also linked with insomnia, as one might lead to the other and vice versa. They can also make each other worse. The lack of quality, restful sleep can also lead to anxiety.

Depression can affect the sexes differently. Research shows that men with depression may have symptoms such as irritability, escapist or risky behavior, substance abuse, or misplaced anger.

Men are also less likely than women to recognize depression or seek treatment for it.

Take Care Of Yourself

When you care about someone whos living with depression, its tempting to drop everything to be by their side and support them. Its not wrong to want to help a friend, but its also important to take care of your own needs.

If you put all your energy into supporting your friend, youll have very little left for yourself. And if youre feeling burned out or frustrated, you wont be much help to your friend.

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries can help. For example, you might let your friend know youre available to talk after you get home from work, but not before then.

If youre concerned about them feeling like they cant reach you, offer to help them come up with a contingency plan if they need you during your work day. This might involve finding a hotline they can call or coming up with a code word they can text you if theyre in a crisis.

You might offer to stop by every other day or bring a meal twice a week, instead of trying to help every day. Involving other friends can help create a bigger support network.

Practice self-care

Spending a lot of time with a loved one who has depression can take an emotional toll. Know your limits around difficult emotions, and make sure you take time to recharge.

If you need to let your friend know you wont be available for a while, you might say something like, I cant talk until X time. Can I check in with you then?

Also Check: Can You Overcome Depression Without Medication

You Feel Sad Empty Or Hopeless Most Of The Time

Your emotional life changes significantly when you have depression. Typical symptoms include the inability to anticipate happiness or pleasure, and an overarching feeling of emptiness.

However, irritability or increased anger can also be signs of depression. Your self-esteem might be low, too, with feelings of worthlessness or misplaced guilt creeping into your everyday life.

Causes And Risk Factors

Think You Have Postpartum Depression? Here

While some illnesses have a specific medical cause, making treatment straightforward, depression is far more complicated. Certain medications, such as barbiturates, corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, opioid painkillers, and specific blood pressure medicine can trigger symptoms in some peopleas can hypothyroidism . But most commonly, depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors that can vary wildly from one person to another.

Despite what you may have seen in TV ads, read in newspaper articles, or maybe even heard from a doctor, depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, having too much or too little of any brain chemical that can be simply cured with medication. Biological factors can certainly play a role in depression, including inflammation, hormonal changes, immune system suppression, abnormal activity in certain parts of the brain, nutritional deficiencies, and shrinking brain cells. But psychological and social factorssuch as past trauma, substance abuse, loneliness, low self-esteem, and lifestyle choicescan also play an enormous part.

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Seeing A Doctor About Depression

Big changes in your life, like bereavement, losing a job, or even having a baby, can cause symptoms of depression. You’re also more likely to experience depression if you have a family history of depression. However, it’s also possible to become depressed without there being an obvious reason.

You can learn more about depression causes here.

Why Changes Are As Important As The Symptoms Themselves

Beyond what to look for, its important to attend to changes in your mood as compared to what is normal for you. It can be helpful to think of whats the DIFF?:

Duration clinically, psychologists consider symptoms sustained for most of the day over every day of a two-week period.

Intensity keep track of your symptoms using a simple 0-10 ranking . The more high-ranking numbers can highlight the biggest areas of concern.

Frequency how often are your noticing issues with your mood is it just in the morning, all day, in the middle of the night, every day, all week?

Function what is the change in your capacity to go about your daily responsibilities like getting out of bed, eating, attending to your baby and leaving the house?

Knowing your fingerprint for your own wellbeing will best help you to track how you are travelling.

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Common Causes And Risk Factors

Depression can be caused by a number of factors. Though a single cause cannot always be found, experts recognize the following as possible causes:

  • Genetics: Depression and other mood disorders can run in families, though family history alone does not mean a person will get depression.
  • Life events: Major life changes and stressful events may trigger depression. These events include divorce, the death of a loved one, job loss, or financial problems.
  • Hormonal changes: Depression and low mood are often
  • cultural expectations
  • differences in experience

One study of twin brothers and sisters published in The American Journal of Psychiatry found that personality and relationships with others were more likely to play a role in the onset of depression.

In particular, the study stated that marital problems, the relationship with parents, and lack of social support were more likely to cause depression in women than in men.

Neuroticism, or being in a negative emotional state, was also a primary cause of depression in the women studied.

A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders also found that womens symptoms of depression were different. The women studied were more likely to have panic and anxiety disorders in addition to their depression.

Other studies have indicated that women may be more likely to gain weight and have excessive sleepiness than men.

Womens hormone changes may also play a role in how and when depression affects them.

Research on this hormonal link has found:

When Should I Seek Help

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If your symptoms of depression are causing problems with relationships, work, or your family — and there isn’t a clear solution — you should see a professional.

Talking with a mental health counselor or doctor can help prevent things from getting worse, especially if your symptoms stay for any length of time.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, get help right away.

It’s important to understand that feeling depressed doesn’t mean you have depression. That condition involves not only changes in mood, but also changes in sleep, energy, appetite, concentration, and motivation.

If you have physical symptoms like these and find yourself feeling depressed much of the time for days or weeks, see your doctor.

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Read Also: How To Deal With A Depressed Spouse

More Than Sad: Depression Affects Your Ability To Think

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

When you think of clinical depression, you probably think of feeling sad and down for long periods of time losing your energy and your interest in things you used to enjoy sleeping too much or too little, or eating too much or too little. But besides these, depression can actually change your ability to think. It can impair your attention and memory, as well as your information processing and decision-making skills. It can also lower your cognitive flexibility and executive functioning .

For people with severe depression, medications can provide some relief of low mood and energy, bolster the motivation to engage in enjoyable and important activities, and help people return to normal sleeping and eating patterns.

But we dont know whether antidepressant medications treat cognitive impairment related to depression. Recently, an international research team attempted to answer this question as part of a larger study on depression treatment. Their results were published in The Lancet last month.

Reach Out For Support

Theres safety in numbers, and we all need the people we love to come to our aide. When you are struggling with postpartum depression, you are going to need your friends and familys support.

This is sometimes difficult because mental health is still a highly stigmatized area. You definitely cant go screaming from the rooftops about your postpartum depression because sometimes people dont understand. Try not to take it personally. They have been exposed to extreme news stories along with their own prejudices about mental illness, and they dont know any better.

You already have a pretty good idea of who you can trust. Take those chosen few and talk with them about what you are experiencing and how they can help support you at this time.

Postpartum depression is not an easy illness to come face to face with. Remember, you are not alone.

Seek the help of your doctor and the people who love you. They are going to help you get through this, and onto the joy of motherhood in no time.

Rachel Fink is a blogger at Parenting Podand a mom of 7 kids. She is passionate about spreading awareness for mental health issues such as postpartum depression and ADHD.

Read Also: Postpartum Depression In Teenage Mothers

What To Do When You Are Depressed

There are millions of people who struggle with depression each year. Imagine how much lives could be saved if depressed individuals knew what to do and how to work through their depression. This type of mental health issue is very serious, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be overcome. One of the best ways to beat depression is to know how to handle it. In order to make that happen, you have to know what to do when you are depressed.

Set Plans

Setting plans may sound basic and redundant, but planning is an excellent way of giving yourself something to look forward to. One of the best ways to set plans is either using a virtual calendar on your phone or a physical calendar. Taking notes of what needs to be done when is always helpful and it can also prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or unsure of what to tackle next. Following through with plans has a way of keeping people focused and busy having something to do can furthermore take your mind off depression or additional triggers.

Interact with Other People

Exercise

Soak up Some Sunlight and Fresh Air

Take it One Day at a Time

Embrace Positive Thoughts

Seek Professional Help

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. However, if and when you are ready to seek therapy from BetterHelp, we will be here to support and guide you.

Taking A Stance On Medication

What You Should Do if You Think You Have Depression

Medication can be very helpful for depression, but it doesnt work well for everyone.

Some people dislike its side effects and prefer to treat depression with therapy or natural remedies. Even if you think your friend should take an antidepressant, remember that choosing to take medication is a personal decision.

Likewise, if you personally dont believe in medication, avoid the subject when talking with them. For some people, medication is key in getting them to a place where they can fully engage in therapy and start taking steps toward recovery.

At the end of the day, whether or not someone with depression takes medication is a very personal decision thats generally best left to them and their healthcare professional.

Depression can increase a persons risk of suicide or self-injury, so its helpful to know how to recognize the signs.

Some signs that might indicate your friend is having serious suicidal thoughts include:

  • frequent mood or personality changes
  • talking about death or dying
  • purchasing a weapon
  • getting rid of belongings or giving away treasured possessions
  • talking about feeling trapped or wanting a way out
  • pushing people away or saying they want to be left alone
  • saying goodbye with more feeling than usual

If you think your friend is considering suicide, urge them to call their therapist while youre with them or ask your friend if you can call for them.

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How Can I Help The Doctor Make A Proper Diagnosis

Before your appointment, write down your concerns about depression and specific symptoms of depression you might have. Itâs also helpful to get an in-depth family history from relatives before meeting with your doctor. This information can help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis and ensure effective treatment. Before your visit, think about and write down:

  • Your mental and physical health concerns
  • Symptoms you’ve noticed
  • Causes of stress in your life
  • Questions you have about depression and depression medications

Tip : Get A Daily Dose Of Sunlight

Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day. Remove sunglasses and use sunscreen as needed.

  • Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, or spend time gardening.
  • Double up on the benefits of sunlight by exercising outside. Try hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf or tennis with a friend.
  • Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
  • If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.

Recommended Reading: What Medication Is Given For Depression

How Do I Know When To Seek Help

The biggest hurdle to diagnosing and treating depression is recognizing that someone has it. Unfortunately, about half of the people who have depression never get diagnosed or treated. And not getting treatment can be life threatening: More than 10% of people who have depression take their own lives.

  • When depression is hurting your life, such as causing trouble with relationships, work issues, or family disputes, and there isn’t a clear solution to these problems, you should seek help to keep things from getting worse, especially if these feelings last for any length of time.
  • If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, seek help right away.

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You Can Play A Role In Research By Joining A Clinical Trial

Why Do You Feel More Depressed At Night?

Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.

In addition to volunteer research opportunities for the patient groups listed above, research opportunities for healthy volunteers are also available. Healthy volunteers play a critical role in our studies.

For more information about clinical research and how to find clinical trials being conducted around the country, visit NIMH’s clinical trials webpage.

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Ways To Help Yourself Through Depression

If you are going through depression, it’s best to get help from a therapist. To get the most from your therapy, you can do things to help yourself, too.

Here are five things you can do to feel better. They may seem simple, but they can help a lot.

  • Exercise. Take a 15- to 30-minute brisk walk every day. Or you can dance, stretch, or do yoga. People who are depressed may not feel much like being active. But get yourself to do it anyway. If you need a push, ask a friend to do it with you. Getting any activity started helps boost your mood. Keep it going.
  • Eat healthy foods. Some people with depression don’t feel much like eating. Some may overeat. But what you eat can affect your mood and energy. So with depression, you need to be sure to eat right. For most people, that means plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit simple carbs and foods with added sugar. Don’t go for too long without eating. Even if you don’t feel hungry, eat something light and healthy.
  • Don’t dwell on problems. It can feel good to talk through a problem with a caring friend. But depression can lead people to complain, blame, and rehash problems too much. It can keep you focused on what’s wrong. It’s OK to air your thoughts and feelings with people who care. But don’t let problems be all you talk about. Talk about good things too. This can help your mood become more positive.
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