Your loved one or friend doesn't seem the same. You thought it was
the blues, but it's been going on for weeks. And it seems much worse than that.
Is your friend
grieving over something? Or could it be
If you want to learn more
about grieving, see the topic
Grief and Grieving. If you think someone close to
you is depressed, urge him or her to see a doctor.
will give you the tools to do so.
Depression is a disease. It's caused by changes in the chemicals in the
brain. Depression isn't a character flaw, and it doesn't mean that the person
is bad or weak. It doesn't mean that he or she is going crazy.
causes a person to feel sad and hopeless
much of the time. It's different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low
energy. The person may lose interest in daily activities and may feel sad and
grouchy for a long time. Other
symptoms of depression include losing or gaining
weight and always feeling tired.
Depression is common.
Men and women of all ages, ethnic groups, and economic groups can have it. It
often runs in families. But it also can happen to someone who doesn't have a
family history of depression. A person can have depression one time or many
Medicines, counseling, and self-care can all
help depression. Many people don't get help because they are embarrassed or
think that they'll get over depression on their own. But most people need
treatment to get better.
Depression can't be treated. You have to get over it
on your own.
Depression can be treated. Medicines,
counseling, self-care, or a combination of these can help you feel
Continue to Why?
Many people think that depression isn't
serious and that they can get over it on their own. But depression is a disease
and is hard to get over. If someone you care for has symptoms of depression,
it's important for the person to see a doctor, because:
If you think that someone you know is depressed, the best
thing you can do is to get the person to see a doctor. The sooner someone with
depression gets treatment, the sooner he or she will feel better.
Most people need treatment to recover from
Most people cannot get over depression on their
own. Without treatment, depression probably will continue.
Continue to How?
If you're worried about a loved
one or a friend, you probably want to talk to him or her about your concerns.
Here are some things you can do:
Many people have reasons why they don't want to
see a doctor. Talk about these barriers, and help the person find
"See a shrink? I'm not crazy."
"People will think I'm weak."
"What will my family and friends think?"
"It might hurt my career."
"I've had counseling before and didn't like it."
"Aren't medicines for depression addictive?"
"These medicines make you crazy or uninterested in sex."
"Someone might get into my medical records and see this."
"It's hard to schedule and find time for an appointment."
"I can't get there."
"I've tried to talk to people. They just don't get it and don't care."
"I can't afford it."
If someone gives you a reason why he or she should not
get treatment, you should just accept it.
There are many reasons that people don't want
to get help for depression. These include not having the time, worrying about
what people will think, and thinking that treatment doesn't work. The best
thing you can do is to gently point out that treatment is important and offer
to help the person get treatment.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you are better prepared to help someone decide to get treatment
If you know someone who has been diagnosed with
depression, you can help.
If you would like more information on depression, the
following resource is available:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a national
self-help and family advocacy organization dedicated solely to improving the
lives of people who have severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar
disorder (manic depression), major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder,
and panic disorder. NAMI focuses on support, education, advocacy, and research.
The mission of the organization is to "eradicate mental illness and improve the
quality of life of those affected by these diseases."
Return to topic:
January 11, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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