Depression is more than just "the blues." Nearly everyone has spells when they feel sad for several days, or experience a period of mourning or grieving over the end of a relationship or the loss of a friend. Depression, on the other hand, is a serious illness that often goes unrecognized even by those who have the illness. And there are physical reasons that cause the symptoms to occur.
Depression varies from person to person. Frequently there are symptoms such as: feeling empty or sad, being angry or irritable all the time, being restless or slowed down, feeling worthless, loss of interest or pleasure in activities which you would usually enjoy, significant gains or losses in weight, difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, lack of energy, or thoughts of death or suicide. If these feelings last nearly every day, almost all of the day, for two weeks or more depression may be present.
Consequences of Depression
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.
What To Do
Depression is very treatable. If the depressive feelings last only a brief time, follow these simple steps:
- 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.
Seek help, if your depression is longer lasting or causing distress:
- 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.
Learn More About Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital
Please call the Outpatient Clinic with questions, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 918-491-3700
. Laureate Hospital is available 24 hours/7 days for all emergencies at 918-481-4000