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Depression is an Illness, Not a Shortcoming

Conditions > Depression is an Illness, Not a Shortcoming

Millions of Americans – about 18 million – suffer from depression in some form. About one in eight of those need treatment. People who are depressed are not weak or flawed, they suffer from a serious illness than can be managed with therapy, a strong support system and in some cases medication.

Anyone can get depressed. There are no gender, racial, national, occupational, geographic or social boundaries for depression. Unfortunately, depression is a recurring illness and if you have one episode, there is a 50 percent chance you will have another. The more episodes a person has, the higher the chances that the illness will recur.

It depression is not treated it can last six months or longer. It is critical that people with depression get treatment. About 15 percent of people with chronic depression commit suicide. The social stigma that has clouded people with depression for so long is beginning to lift. Still, that stigma remains and prevents many from seeking and accepting help.

Despite its overwhelming consequences, depression is a medical illness and clinical depression is treatable. Psychotherapy and medication can work alone or together to help the depressed person. If depression is treated, it is not as likely to return or to return with such severity.

Yoga, exercise and medication are also used to treat depression and relieve stress. Diet also plays a role in improving a depressed individual’s overall well-being.

How to Help Someone You Love through Depression

How to help a loved one with depression.

If someone you love is suffering from depression, you can be of great help, but you are not responsible for the depression or for that person’s ability to get better.

Many symptoms are associated with depression. Sometimes people around a person suffering from depression realize what is happening before the patient recognizes it. Depression occurs when five or more of the following symptoms persist for more than two weeks. If suicide is a serious concern or if symptoms are sever enough to interfere with daily activities, encourage your loved one to go to the doctor.

It is hard to deal with a depressed person. Take a minute to evaluate the person about whom you are concerned. Is that person demonstrating five or more of these symptoms:

  • Withdrawn from people and activities the individual once enjoyed
  • A negative attitude
  • Crying spells and unexplained sadness
  • Anger, excessive and/or inappropriate displays of anger
  • Stops taking care of personal hygiene and appearance
  • Has a hard time making decisions, concentrating of completing tasks
  • Suffers from unexplained pain in the head, low back or abdominal area
  • Appears overwhelmed by daily stress that seems normal to others
  • Avoids responsibility

People suffering from depression need help and your support is an ingredient to the recipe that will help your loved one feel better. Depressed people often blame themselves for their condition, minimize positive experiences and blow negative experiences seemingly out of proportion to the person who is not depressed.

Patience and kindness is called for here. Do not admonish a depressed person to “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” or “get yourself together” because he or she probably does not have the ability to do so. Encourage your loved one to get help and continue a treatment program that works until he or she feels better.

Conditions > Depression is an Illness, Not a Shortcoming