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Facts about depression

Wed 6 Sep 2006 In: Living Well View at Wayback View at NDHA

Have you lost interest in almost all your usual activities? Are You Feeling: Down? Unhappy? Sad? Has there been a change in your appetite and/or change in your weight, without planning? Are you constantly tired? Do you sleep a lot more, or a lot less than usual? Do you feel constantly worthless; useless; or guilty? Do you have difficulty concentrating? Are you tired of living, or feel that you have no future? If you have answered 'YES' to at least FOUR of the above questions.... you may be DEPRESSED. It has been described as the 'common cold' of mental health. But it can seriously affect your life! In some depressions there is no apparent cause - for no reason people are depressed. In some depressions there is a cause - a major life event that has brought on sadness. A close friend or relative has died and sadness and grief stay heavy. HOWEVER. .. There are lots of other things, mainly physical illnesses, that seem like depression. For instance, after the flu many people feel down for a long time. IT IS IMPORTANT TO: Have a physical checkup at your local health or medical centre All personal history must be considered before a diagnosis of depression can be made! HOW LONG DOES DEPRESSION LAST? It is normal to be down, unhappy, sad, or depressed at times. Feeling depressed occasionally, or for a day or two is normal and is usually related to what is happening in your life at the time. Depression must last at least two weeks before a diagnosis of depression can be made. From then on the duration depends on the type of help available and accepted. DO NOTHING... AND DEPRESSION MAY LAST A LIFETIME. DO SOMETHING... AND DEPRESSION CAN BE CURED. Start by checking the things you can do: Look at your diet - is it adequate? Do you exercise regularly? Do you do something for fun and relaxation regularly? Do you have someone close to you to talk with about what is bothering you FIND SOMEONE YOU CAN TALK TO: A friend Your doctor Local community health service Local counselling agency Local community groups: e.g. Mental Health Association, Community Health Service Health Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau POSSIBLE TREATMENTS THERAPY/COUNSELLING Therapy or counselling is very useful for most depressed people. All therapists/counsellers work in different ways, so find someone you can trust, and with whom you feel comfortable. This person may be called "Counsellor, Therapist, Social Worker, Doctor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist". It is important that the person have some recognised training and supervision. Ask them about this ! The therapist/counsellor may look at what happened before the depression and any apparent causes of depression. They will work with you to help you find ways to avoid becoming depressed again in the future. MEDICATION Your doctor may suggest a course of anti-depressant medication. Medication can sometimes have side-effects. Ocasionally it can react with other medication you are already taking. So talk to your doctor about this. Common side-effects can be dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness while standing or getting up too quickly, sweating, shaky hands. These only occur while the drug is being taken. However any anti-depressant will take several weeks to really work. It is very important that it is taken properly as prescribed. If you are having side-effects see your doctor immediately! Throughout any form of treatment it is important that you ask questions about the treatment. Treatment will change as you make progress: e.g. If you are on medication the dosage should be reviewed regularly. You may not need to see the counsellor/ therapist so frequently. REMEMBER..... THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO: Have a physical checkup. Find books at your local library that may help. Visit your local mental health centre or women 's health centre (if you have one in your area). See what they have to offer Find something small but significantly different to do in your life. Do Something Now, And Begin The Journey Back To Wellness! Here are some books you could read... 15 Steps to Curing Anxiety and Depression Iris Barrow You Can Heal Your Life Louise Hay When Am I Going to be Happy? Penelope Russianoff Depression Dr Greg Wilkinson; British Medical Association Family Doctor Guides The Silver Lining How to conquer depression - A New Zealand perspective Margaret Mourant. OUTline NZ's telephone crew are there to listen - get in touch on 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUT LINE) free from anywhere around New Zealand. - 6th September 2006    


First published: Wednesday, 6th September 2006 - 11:57am

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