6 Facts About Depression and Finding Help

Depression is a mental health condition that is marked by a litany of symptoms that can affect daily functioning. It's estimated that nearly seven percent -- or about 16 million people -- had an episode of depression at least once in the past year. Depression, like many other medical conditions, doesn't necessarily look the same for everyone.

1. Irritability can be a symptom of depression
While everyone gets mad sometimes, if you find yourself constantly angry with the world, your loved ones or your life, it could be that you're depressed. Being in state of anger often can cause you to lash out at others or withdraw from those who care about you.

2. Depression isn't a choice but...
... your method of coping is. Depression is a medical condition that has a spectrum of symptoms as well as options for treatment. Choosing a route of inaction won't make your depression go away and could be the fuel that makes it worse.

3. Self medication can backfire
In spite of its reputation for bringing people out of their shells, alcohol is a depressant. Using it -- as well as marijuana and other street or recreational drugs -- can exacerbate depression and make it worse in the long term.

4. Depression and anxiety are linked
According to Psychology Today, in 65 percent of cases, people who have depression experience it as anxiety. Getting the right diagnosis is crucial to developing an effective treatment plan. Any medications you're taking should be coupled with therapy.

5. Distorted thinking is a hallmark of depression
When you're depressed, thoughts that you never dreamed of having can infiltrate your mind. These can distort your perceptions and make it seem like suicide or harming someone else is the only answer. Keep in mind that these thoughts and feelings are temporary. If suicide crosses your mind, reach out to someone immediately.

6. Depression's origins vary
In spite of what you might have heard, most major depressions occur during the summertime, not around the holidays. Situational depression that is mild to moderate, such as that which occurs after a job loss, can be helped with counseling. Moderate to severe depressions whose origins are rooted in biochemical causes are best treated with a psychotherapy-medication combination.

6 Ways to Help When You're Depressed

1. Exercise
Though it can be difficult to get started, you'll feel better for having exercised. Look for a counselor who combines walks with talking time.

2. Address chronic pain
Being in pain continuously can spiral into depression. Revisit your treatment options for any chronic pain you have. Consider changing physicians if you aren't getting satisfactory answers.

3. Arm yourself with knowledge
Take the first step in getting help and read about depression as well as methods of treatment.

4. Be patient
Sometimes a counselor or support group isn't a good fit. Maybe your medication doesn't seem to be working. Give it more time but then consider your other options.

5. Get into the light
Consider light therapy as a method of regulating melatonin, a crucial hormone.

6. Consider self management
Being aware of how your daily habits affect your mental health means you can manipulate them to serve you better. For example, get enough sleep and use prayer or meditation to comfort yourself.

With Support Groups throughout Connecticut, we can help you or your loved one cope with depression.  To find your local NAMI Support Group, click Get Support below.

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