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About Depression

Depression is a serious mental health condition that impacts how we feel, think and behave. Fortunately it is a condition that can be effectively treated. Depression is more than feeling sad, which is usually a temporary reaction to a loss or setback; rather, depression is a more constant negative mood accompanied by changes in appetite, loss of interest in activities and relationships, poor sleep, increased fatigue, feelings of worthlessness and difficulty concentrating or making decisions.

If you have experienced these feelings for two weeks or more, consult with your doctor about treatment options. You may want to consider taking this brief screening tool, https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/screenings (scroll down to click on Depression link for Patient Health Questionnaire -9, which can be downloaded and printed.) Show your results to your doctor to discuss the best treatment options for you.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 7% of U.S. adults have had at least one episode of depression. Depression and its challenges are captured in this compelling video, a collaboration between writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone and the World Health Organization (WHO) that tells the story of overcoming “the black dog” of depression:
 
 
A short video on the signs, symptoms and treatment of depression, from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):
 

How is depression different from grief?

The loss of a loved one or the ending of a marriage or relationship results in intense feelings of sadness and can feel overwhelming. These are normal reactions and often come and go, varying in intensity over time. Depression, however, is experienced as a constant state and unlike grief, is often accompanied by low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness.

 

Treatment for Depression

Depression is a treatable mental health condition; 80% of the time people find relief with psychotherapy or medication, especially when these treatment methods are combined.

Psychotherapy (or counseling) using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be very useful. CBT can help people learn healthier ways of coping with depression by challenging the thoughts, feelings and behaviors connected to the depressed mood, and developing new, healthier ways to interpret and manage those thoughts and feelings. There are additional therapy options for depression; ask your doctor what might be best for you.

Medication options include the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac or Zoloft, and the Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SSNIs), such as Pristiq and Effexor. Consult with your doctor to see if medication is right for you.

For more information about treatment methods, visit: https://adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/therapy

Exercise and Meditation/Mindfulness are very helpful in overcoming depression. Even moderate amounts of exercise can boost energy and well-being, and it also improves sleep quality and self-esteem https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-is-an-all-natural-treatment-to-fight-depression

Meditation and mindfulness exercises can also help; watch this video by Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and leading expert in the field:
 
 
 

For additional information, see https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-meditation-helps-with-depression and also https://www.mindful.org/using-mindfulness-to-treat-depression/