ACT

If you believe you are depressed, there is help to feel better.

Depression is often experienced in adults as a persistent sense of hopelessness, intense periods of anxiety, significant irritability, and diminished motivation. It can interfere with your ability to sleep, eat, work, and enjoy any part of your life. While the complexities and demands of adult life can be distressing and anxiety producing, depression is a signal that your regular coping mechanisms have become overwhelmed and you need help in order to manage and recover.

Depression is experienced differently depending on age, sex and culture. Older adults tend to have more complaints about physical rather than emotional symptoms. Depression can also be related to other illness such as diabetes, cancer, and stroke or to the loss of a significant relationship.

The National Institute of Mental Health offers a comprehensive website with information about depression, treatment, and recovery that can be found at: www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/depression.cfm

There is effective treatment for depression and people do recover their lives.

“ Men and women who have recovered from the disease – and there are countless - bear witness to what is probably its only saving grace; it is conquerable.”
- William Styron  (1990) Darkness Visible

Below are some signs of depression that might help you to understand what you are experiencing and some of the types of help available.

Signs of Depression

(source: www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression)

  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities. You lose interest in or pleasure from activities that you used to enjoy.
  • Depressed mood. You feel sad, helpless or hopeless, and may have crying spells.
  • Sleep disturbances. Sleeping too much or having problems sleeping can be a sign you're depressed. Waking in the middle of the night or early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep are typical.
  • Impaired thinking or concentration. You may have trouble concentrating or making decisions and have problems with memory.
  • Changes in weight. An increased or reduced appetite and unexplained weight gain or loss may indicate depression.
  • Agitation. You may seem restless, agitated, irritable and easily annoyed.
  • Fatigue or slowing of body movements. You feel weariness and lack of energy nearly every day. You may feel as tired in the morning as you did when you went to bed the night before. You may feel like you are doing everything in slow motion, or you may speak in a slow, monotonous tone.
  • Low self-esteem. You feel worthless and have excessive guilt.
  • Less interest in sex. If you were sexually active before developing depression, you may notice a dramatic decrease in your level of interest in having sexual relations.
  • Thoughts of death. You have a persistent negative view of yourself, your situation and the future. You may have thoughts of death, dying or suicide.

Depression can also cause a wide variety of physical complaints, such as gastrointestinal problems, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, headache and backache. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.

Support

If you think you are depressed, the first step is to reach out and talk with someone.  Professional help is available but it is also important to speak with those who are significant in your life.  Let them know about your feelings. They can be supportive and assist you in getting professional help.

Getting Help

Professional help is a very important part of recovery from depression. A good place to start is contacting your medical provider who can provide some help and refer you to mental health counseling. Your primary care provider can also help assess any physical symptoms you may be experiencing. Clergy and employers  (through their employee assistance plan) can also help you locate a professional counselor. 

A local source of for treatment is Riverside Community Care www.riversidecc.org/mentalhealth.html, which has locations in Newton 617 969 4925, Dedham 781 329 4579, and Norwood 781 769 8670. In addition, there are private group and individual practices in Needham and adjacent communities. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General and McLeans have out patient psychiatry clinics that can also provide treatment.

Treatment

There are different forms of treatment for depression. Psychotherapy or counseling are offered by licensed clinicians who specialize in different approaches. Feeling comfortable with the provider and understanding the type of psychotherapy is essential for help to be effective. Talk with a provider to make sure that he or she is a match for your needs.

Medication can also be helpful in treating depression.  Medical providers including a physician, psychiatrist or clinical nurse specialist can provide medicine as a part of treatment for depression. There is a great deal of information about medicine used to treat depression available through the media and popular venues such as advertising which makes it even more important that you discuss your concerns and get the correct information from your provider.

Other forms of treatment can include hospitalization for severe and recurrent episodes of depression. With milder types of depressive experience, stress reduction and life style changes including exercise and diet can be an effective supplement to professional help. Please review the information on the National Institute for Mental Health’s website about the treatment of depression for more detailed information. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/depression.cfm

GET HELP NOW

Hurting yourself is NEVER
the right answer.
There are people who can help.

For immediate help call
911 or

Riverside Emergency Services
781-769-8674

Newton Wellesley Hospital
617-243-6000

To talk with someone call
Samariteen Hotline
1-800-252-TEEN (8336)

Samaritan Helpline
1-877-870-HOPE (4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Support and Help Around You