Presbyterian | Your Story | Centennial Care | Summer 2020

10 Is it depression? Don’t stay silent This may be the most important thing to know about depression: It’s not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It’s a real and serious medical condition that’s linked to an imbalance of brain chemicals and can suck the joy out of life. And no matter what someone might insist, you can’t just snap out of it. Like heart disease, diabetes, or other medical conditions, depression needs treatment. Left untreated, it can linger for weeks, months, or even years. But treatments such as talk therapy and antidepressants can help you feel like yourself again. The sooner treatment for depression starts, the better. Early treatment can keep depression from getting worse or lasting a long time. And it can help keep depression from coming back. Know the warning signs It’s important to talk to your doctor if you think you might be struggling with depression. Depression doesn’t look or feel the same for everyone. But you may: ● Cry easily or for no reason ● Feel guilty or worthless ● Feel restless, irritated, and easily annoyed ● Feel hopeless or numb ● Feel very tired all the time ● Lose interest or pleasure in things you once enjoyed, including sex ● Lose your appetite or overeat ● Sleep too much or have trouble sleeping ● Lose weight without trying to or gain weight ● Have aches and pains that don’t get better with treatment ● Have trouble paying attention, recalling things, or making decisions Be sure to tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are disrupting your life. If you’re depressed, treatment is crucial. Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians; The Joint Commission; National Institute of Mental Health Antidepressants: Three ways to make themwork for you Depression is an illness that can make you feel very sad. But there are ways your doctor can help. One is to give you a medicine called an antidepressant. These pills change chemicals in the brain that affect your mood. And they can help you feel like yourself again. To get the most out of these pills, there are three important things you can do: 1. Take them every day. Don’t skip a dose or stop taking them without your doctor’s OK. If you stop your medicine too soon, depression can come back. Or you might have side effects. 2. Speak up. If you have problems taking your meds or they cause side effects, talk with your doctor. If your depression gets worse, say something right away. A different medicine or dose could help you feel better. 3. Consider talk therapy. Medicine and talk therapy may work better together. Therapy can help you learn better ways to cope with your feelings. Source: HelpGuide