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Depression Advocacy Sheet

By EmpowHER

If you were depressed, would you know it, recognize it, and get help? What would it take for you to say, “Enough is enough, this isn’t right, I’ve got to talk with someone about this."?

Feelings of depression may include sadness, feeling pitiful, being blue, unhappiness, feeling miserable, in a funk, and/or just being “down in the dumps”. The key is, are the feelings persistent? Clinical depression is a mood disorder where these feelings may disrupt your ability to perform everyday tasks like doing your job, taking care of yourself, or handling home duties.

If you think you or someone close to you is suffering from depression, contact a doctor. Some things you might want to discuss with him or her may include:

  • Who gets depressed? Anyone can get depressed, but there are certain factors that may make you more susceptible to developing depression. Those things include family history (genetic or learned behavior), trauma, abuse, chronic stress, disappointment, nutritional deficiencies, medical conditions, poor social skills, sleeping disorders, isolation, and negative thoughts.
  • What should I look out for to know if it could be depression?
  • Your doctor may ask you some questions, particularly about your experience related to the following:
    • Feelings of sadness, or foreboding
    • Tiredness
    • Irritability
    • Loss of appetite
    • Aches and pain
    • Insomnia
    • Increased alcohol or drug (including over-the-counter medications) use
    • Loss of focus
    • Emotional numbness
    • Worthlessness
  • How is depression treated? There are many forms of treatment, including psychotherapy, group talk therapy, prescription medication, and medical procedures (for example, electroconvulsive therapy, or vagus nerve stimulation). Medical procedures typically are reserved for extreme cases of depression where medication or therapy has proven ineffective. However, sometimes all that is needed is some counseling and four to six months of prescription medication to get over a bout of depression.
  • Is there a stigma of having a mood disorder? Much of the perceived stigma may lie inside of you. A mood disorder is a real medical condition, that can be helped if treated. You are not alone. It is a sure show of strength to recognize a problem and get help when needed.
  • Is treatment covered by insurance? Many health insurance programs now cover (even if in a limited capacity) mental health support as part of overall medical coverage.
  • Can depression be prevented? It always is a good idea to proactively work on improving your health with exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, watching your finances, and limiting caffeine and alcohol use. You also can try opening up to trusted friends, clergy, or family about your troubles. They may be able to provide insight and allow you to lean on them during rough patches.
  • Will I always be depressed? In some cases, being treated can give you the tools you need so you can better deal with new or recurring symptoms in the future. Treatment can mean less symptoms in the future, or at least knowing how to recognize symptoms faster and knowing what to do to control your condition in a positive manner.

This information is not meant to be a replacement for discussing concerns with your doctor. It is meant to be a catalyst, a spring board to help you advocate for your health or the health of someone close to you.

If you have more questions about depression, visit EmpowHER's Depression Page. Post a question, read some articles, join a group, or connect with women like you concerned about a particular topic. Be your own best advocate, be EmpowHERed!

<a href=http://health.yahoo.net/channel/depression.html”>Yahoo! Health: Depression Basics</a>
<a href=http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/MH00103_D>Mayo Clinic: Depression Self-Assessment</a>

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. She started a women’s group, The Wo-Hoo! Society, in the interests of friendship, networking, and philanthropy. The group meets separately on a monthly basis in the Phoenix and Kansas City areas. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.



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