Depression

Depression

Twenty percent of all adults (1 in 5) will experience depression during their lifetime. Women are diagnosed with depression almost twice as much as are men. Fewer than 30% of the people suffering from depression will seek treatment, although over 80% of those who do seek help will experience significant improvement.

How Do You Know If a Person is Depressed?

If you or someone you know exhibits four or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, professional help should be considered.

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Frequent wakening in the middle of the night
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Inability to function at work or school
  • Headaches, digestive disorders, nausea, pain with no medical basis
  • Excessive crying
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Lack of energy, constant fatigue
  • Slowed thinking
  • Difficulty in concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness
  • Restlessness, agitation, irritability
  • Feelings of inappropriate guilt or worthlessness

How to Help Someone Who is Depressed

  • Be supportive and patient; let the person know that you are concerned and you care
  • Don’t blame the person or get angry
  • Don’t be overly cheerful, try to make the person smile, or give false assurances
  • Tell the person that depression is not a sign of weakness
  • Encourage the person to seek professional help

How to Help Yourself

  • Change your normal routine — take a break and do something fun, even if you don’t feel like it
  • Exercise; do something active
  • Avoid stress
  • Avoid making major changes or decisions until you feel better
  • Seek professional help if symptoms persist
  • Relax and enjoy (or tolerate) your feelings of sadness
  • Talk your feelings out with someone you trust
  • Have a good cry
  • Analyze the situation; try to pinpoint the source of your depression
  • Eat right; especially focus on increasing your intake of B vitamins
  • Write — or draw — your feelings
  • Check out the assumptions you are making which are leading to your depression
  • Treat others with respect
  • Avoid shopping or eating binges