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Depression: Moving Forward
Recognize and Overcome Depression
Overcoming a difficult time in your life can be hard. Everyone gets a little down sometimes amidst life’s challenges. But there are times when sadness, loss of interest in life, and trouble with sleep or appetite can hang on for weeks. These problems may get in the way of the things you normally do. When this is the case, depression may be the cause.
Depression is more than just feeling bad or upset after a troubling event. It is a serious medical condition. And it’s very common. Each year, millions of Americans suffer with depression.
People who are depressed often get better—and continue to improve over time—with treatment.
It’s important to remember, though, that depression is one of the most treatable illnesses. Treatment works in about 80 to 90 percent of depression cases. And this often happens in just a few weeks, given the right care.
This issue of Your Source, you'll learn about:
- The different types of depression
- Recognizing the warning signs of depression
- How to help a family member who may be depressed
- How treatment—often including professional counseling and medication—can help beat depression.
If you, a family member or a co-worker suffer with depression, don’t try to go it alone. Get help from a health professional. There are many tools you can access to help you cope with depression and move forward.
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When a Family Member has Depression
Depression can strike anyone at any time, in good times or bad. Although external factors such as a tough economy can appear to be likely causes, in truth the source of depression isn’t always known.
Seek Help as Soon as Possible
If you think that someone in your family—young or old—is suffering with depression, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and assist the person in getting help. Children, adolescents and elders will need the most help and guidance.
Your family member may not agree to get treatment right away. They may need to hear from you and others—more than once—that that they deserve to feel better, and that proper treatment will help. Be persistent in getting help for them!
Learn About Treatment and Services
Try to learn as much as you can about depression and the services available to you through your organization’s health benefits. Psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists diagnose depression and provide counseling or psychotherapy. The most common treatments for depression are professional counseling, anti-depression medication, or a combination of the two. Encourage your family member to stick with the treatment plan. This includes taking prescribed medicine exactly as directed. Improvement may take several weeks.
You can support your family member’s mental health in the following ways:
- Give emotional support by listening carefully and offering hope.
- Make sure your family member keeps all therapy appointments.
- Accept the occasional feelings of frustration or helplessness you may have—they are quite normal.
- Remember to take seriously any threats to self or others the person may express. Seek professional advice.
- Finally, take care of yourself. Supporting a depressed person can make you feel “down in the dumps.” Make sure you get out and do something for yourself.
Remember that additional information, self-help tools and counseling resources are available to you through your program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.