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Mental Health Topics

© 2001 Wilmington Family Counseling Service, Inc.

Many people suffer from depression without realizing it. Up to 24% of women and 15% of men experience significant depression in their lifetimes. While some people are more susceptible than others, everyone has the potential to become depressed if faced with great loss of family, friends, status, or self esteem.

How would you know if you were suffering from depression? Do you have:

If you find yourself answering "yes" to these questions, it is important for you to take steps to improve your mood since untreated depression tends to worsen. A recent American Heart Association study also found that people who are depressed with otherwise normal hearts are 40% more likely to develop heart disease.

What can you do?
Since increased stress is often a cause of depression, identify those stressors and take steps to reduce them. Also, make sure you find time for yourself each day to relax and to exercise. Avoid alcohol and drugs including over-the-counter medications for sleep or other alleged benefits. Check the side effects of prescribed medications which can affect mood and cause fatigue. It also is clear that to overcome depression, you need to fight tendencies to withdraw and isolate yourself by reaching out to friends and planning fun activities.

In addition to these self-help activities, most people find they will rebound much quicker if they seek professional help. Dragging along for an extended time feeling miserable is unnecessary suffering. Find a licensed psychotherapist who understands your particular situation and has experience helping others overcome depression. Along with psychotherapy, medication may be indicated to give a jump-start to your efforts. Psychotherapy alone helps 65% of people recover from depression and adding anti-depressant medication increases that improvement rate to 80%.

More information about depression also can be found on the internet at:

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