What is depression?
Depression is an illness that negatively affects how you feel, act and think. It is a constant feeling of sadness or loss of interest which stops you from going about your normal everyday routine and activities. Depression affects everyone differently and is the reason
Why there are different types of depression such as:
Major depressive disorder
Persistent depressive disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Seasonal affective disorder
In Feelings: constant- sadness, anger, guilt & hopelessness
In Behaviors: social withdrawal, lack of energy, low motivation, poor concentration, sleep problems, significant changes in appetite, and significant weight change
In Thoughts: Poor self-esteem, thoughts of suicide, loss of interest
(Symptoms come and go)
It is difficult to recognize depression because it is invisible. It’s a disorder defined by internal thoughts, behaviors and feelings rather than physical symptoms like coughing or vomiting.
Some signs are:
– Significant weight changes
– Dis-interest in hobbies
– Distance from others/ Disengagement
– Change in Sleep habits
– Alcohol or drug use,
– Loss of concentration
Cycle of depression
Who does it affect? (different populations)
Women are 2x more likely to develop depression
About 1 in 10 people will experience depression during their life
Risks for depression- Family history of depression, poverty, unemployment, social isolation, and other stressful life events, regular drug and alcohol use.
How to support someone with depression?
Depression doesn’t just affect one person it can also affect those around them. Families can sometimes feel lost on where to start to help their loved one but below is a table providing a few tips.
Recognize that depression is an illness.
Just like the flu or a cold a person cannot just “get over it”. Depression can affect anyone and a person can develop depression even if they seem to have a good life.
Make a point to reach out
Many people with depression will isolate themselves. CHeck-in regularly, invite them to talk and reemphasize your support.
Just listening can help
You don’t have to fix their problems or convince them that their negative feelings are wrong. Even if you disagree, respect and acknowledge that these experiences are real to them.
Be supportive of healthy habits
Exercise, healthy sleep habits, and socializing all contribute to mental health and help combat depression. Support these activities by giving encouragement and offering company.
Encourage Professional Help
Mental Health counseling and medication are effective in treating depression. If your loved one is unsure of where to start, offer to help them find the right provider such as a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
Connect your loved one with social support
Your loved one may benefit from other sources of support. These include community organizations, religious groups or mental health support groups.
Take any mention of suicide seriously
Thoughts of suicide are a symptom of depression. If you feel someone is in danger don’t hesitate to call 911, take them to an emergency room or call the nation’s suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for free and confidential support 24/7.
Psychotherapy and medication are both ways to treat depression, but in combination therapy and medication prove to be the most effective.