Depression is more than just "the blues." Nearly everyone experiences sadness in life, but depression is a serious illness that takes hold of your day-to-day health and often goes unrecognized even by those who have the illness.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depression varies from person to person. But, it's common for the following symptoms to occur most of the day and nearly every day:
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
- Insomnia (an inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
- A sense of restlessness or being slowed down
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
It's important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life's normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they last - the more likely it is that you're dealing with depression. When these symptoms are overwhelming and disabling, that's when it's time to seek help. At Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital, our mental health professionals will create an individualized treatment plan to guide you toward improved mental and emotional health.
Consequences of Depression
Left untreated, depression leads to serious consequences. The personal pain and distress is often significant. Ability to perform at work or school can become so impaired that academic or job failure can result. Family members are often hurt as the affected person has so little energy left to relate to them in a meaningful way.
Suicide is a possible risk for those who are depressed. While not everyone who kills him or herself is depressed, the majority are. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens and young adults up to age 24, and is a major cause of death at all ages. Suicide is most common among those over age 65, many of whom are medically ill and/or lonely, and may be struggling with unrecognized depression.
Depression carries with it the risk of higher rates of medical illnesses, slower recovery from surgery and increased risks of death from heart attack. For adolescents, unrecognized depression carries with it the risk of increased use of street drugs.
Treatment for Depression
Depression is treatable. From therapy to medication to healthy lifestyle changes, there are many effective treatments that can help you overcome depression and reclaim your life.
Seek help, if your depression occurs daily for two weeks or longer or causes significant distress or impairment:
If the depressive feelings last only a brief time, follow these simple steps:
- Get an accurate, diagnosis if you are thinking about suicide or have a health condition such as substance use, heart disease or other illness
- Read and educate yourself about available treatments
- If medication is recommended, take it regularly as prescribed
- Limit your use of alcohol and stop use of street drugs
- Avoid sleep agents or use them no longer than two weeks
- Get regular nutrition and exercise
- Stay in contact with others even though you feel like hiding
- Talk with others about what worries you
- Set a time limit as to when you expect to get better, and seek help quickly if you fail to improve. Remember, part of depression is feeling hopeless. It may be hard to believe that anything can help, even treatment, though it is usually very effective.
Make an Appointment with Laureate
For questions, or to schedule an appointment, please call the Laureate Outpatient Clinic, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 918-491-3700.. Laureate Hospital is available 24/7 for all mental health emergencies at 918-481-4000.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, dial 911.