Depression is no mere slump in mood. Unlike "the blues," which tend to clear up in a few days, depression is often both prolonged and recurring. It doesn't just go away on its own.
Signs of Depression
People with depression usually feel sad most of the time. They may also experience the following:
- Lose interest or pleasure in life, even when something good happens
- Cry often
- Not eat enough, or eat too much
- Have problems sleeping
- Feel tired all the time
- Feel that they aren't good enough
- Be forgetful
- Have trouble thinking or making simple decisions
- Feel hopeless
- Think about killing themselves
- Lose interest in sex
A person with mild depression may have some of these symptoms for a short time or the symptoms may linger on for a longer period of time. If the depression keeps the person from doing normal daily activities, it may be indicative that the depression is more serious. Fortunately, though, depression is one of the most treatable of all medical illnesses. As with many illnesses, however, the earlier treatment begins, the more effective it can be. Early treatment also increases the likelihood of preventing serious recurrences.
The first step in overcoming depression is recognizing the symptoms.
Take the Self-Assessment for Depression
Take the Self-Assessment for Bipolar Disorder
Healthy Steps Towards Relieving Depression
- See a doctor: Seeing a doctor helps rule out any medical problems and determine the cause of depression.
- Seek counseling: Talking out problems with a mental health professional can be helpful in treating depression. No matter how trivial you consider your problems to be, or how hopeless you feel in doing anything about them, a mental health professional takes your problems seriously and gives you undivided attention and direction. Call the EAP at 240-314-1040 to schedule an appointment or for more information on depression and helpful resources.
- Get support: Talk to a trusted loved one or friend. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Talking out the feelings of hopelessness and isolation is the first step to recovery.
- Medication can help: Some types of depression respond well to medication. This should be decided by a doctor, usually a psychiatrist.
- Exercise regularly: Getting regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise such as walking, bicycling or swimming, helps relieve depression. Research shows that exercise releases "feel-good" hormones in the brain that, in turn, lift your spirits and help you feel more optimistic and in control.
- Do something you are good at: Even a small success can make you feel better about yourself.
- Take care of yourself: Getting plenty of rest and eating healthy food will give you more energy to deal with the depression. Avoid alcohol and other drugs. Since alcohol is a depressant, using it will make you feel more depressed.
- Find out all you can about depression: Understanding it can help you help yourself.