Depression is a serious medical illness. It’s more than just a feeling of being sad or “down” for a few days. Depression occurs in more than 19 million teens and adults in the United States, and for them, the feelings do not go away, they persist and interfere with everyday life.
Although depression may occur only once during a lifetime, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include;
- Feeling sad or “empty”
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Overeating, or not wanting to eat at all
- Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
- Feeling very tired
- Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression is a disorder of the brain. There are a variety of causes, including genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Depression can happen at any age, but it often begins in teens and young adults. It is much more common in women. Women can also get postpartum depression after the birth of a baby. Some people even get seasonal affective disorder in the winter (can’t imagine that around these parts, right?).
Depression is a serious disorder that can take a terrible toll on you and your family. Depression often gets worse if it isn’t treated, resulting in emotional, behavioral and health problems that affect every area of your life.
There’s no sure way to prevent depression. However, these strategies may help.
- Take steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and boost your self-esteem.
- Reach out to family and friends, especially in times of crisis, to help you weather rough spells.
- Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent depression from worsening.
- Consider getting long-term maintenance treatment to help prevent a relapse of symptoms.
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or a mental health professional as soon as you can. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust. If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
Pharmacy Clinical Program Manager