If you believe you are depressed, there is help to feel better.
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.
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
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
is effective treatment for depression and people do recover their
“ 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
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
- Loss of interest in normal daily activities. You
lose interest in or pleasure from activities that you used to
- 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
- 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
- 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.
If you think
you are depressed, the first step is to reach out and talk with
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.
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
A local source of for treatment is Riverside Community
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.
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
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.
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