If you experience the symptoms of depression, don't isolate yourself. Reach out and find the help you need.
Major depression, also called clinical depression, goes way beyond being stuck in a "blue mood." Getting help for depression is serious business because the disease can change you mentally and physically. People with major depression — about 8 percent of Americans — should know that it is an illness, not a weakness.
Despite the overwhelming effect that depression can have on your life, statistics show that about 80 percent of people with depression are not getting any treatment, a regrettable situation because help for depression is available and treatment works. In fact, the success rate is 80 to 90 percent.
Getting Help for Depression: How to Know if You Need Help
Depression is not a normal part of getting older or having a chronic illness. Anyone can get depression. One of the symptoms of depression is withdrawing from people and isolating yourself, which may make it even harder to ask for help for depression. Symptoms of depression to be aware of include:
- A depressed mood almost every day
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Changes to appetite and sleep
- Change in ability to think clearly
- Loss of energy
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Being anxious or angry
- Thinking about suicide
If you are experiencing these symptoms more often than not, you need to seek help. Also, if you are thinking about harming yourself, you need to tell someone right away.
Getting Help for Depression: How to Find Help for Depression
Because depression can drain you of energy and hope, taking the first step can be hard. Start getting help for depression by telling someone how you feel. If you don't have the will to call your doctor and make an appointment, a friend or loved one can do it for you. Your own doctor is usually the best place to start because many medical conditions can cause symptoms similar to depression. Your doctor can also decide if you have clinical depression or if your depression is due to another medical condition. Often your doctor will refer you to a mental health professional.
Getting Help for Depression: Therapists and Professional Support
There are many types of mental health professionals and facilities that can help you get through your depression. They include:
- Social workers
- Mental health counselors
- Community mental health centers
- Hospital outpatient clinics
- Family social service agencies
Getting Help for Depression: Support Groups
Many people get help for depression from support groups. A support group may meet in person or online. Although a support group is not a substitute for professional treatment, it is a way to share your experience of depression with others. The benefits of support groups that can help with depression include:
- Sharing information about treatment and resources
- Sharing coping strategies
- Meeting people and being less isolated
- Helping you to understand that it does get better
- Being part of a supportive community that cares and understands
Getting Help for Depression: Other Resources
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance can help you find an in-person depression support group and also offers online support groups and discussion boards.
The federal government offers a service to help you locate mental health treatment and resources nationwide through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
If you ever think about harming yourself, immediately call 911 or the 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Finally, don't forget that the most important support may come from your own friends and family members. If you are feeling the overwhelming symptoms of depression, the worst thing you can do is isolate yourself. Getting help for depression starts with reaching out.