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DEPRESSION

Introduction

If you feel that you are depressed, you may wish to talk about your feelings with a family member or a close friend. Communication is one of the keys to early diagnosis and treatment. People close to you may have felt you were depressed. With their encouragement, you should call your health-care provider.

If you feel someone else is depressed, talk to the person.

You may notice a person showing the signs of depression mentioned under Symptoms. If you see worthlessness, excessive guilt, hopelessness, or any suicidal thoughts, contact a health-care provider immediately.

With mild or moderately severe symptoms of short duration (weeks), it may be reasonable to contact a health-care provider for an appointment.

It is often helpful to accompany a family member or friend to the medical office and offer support as needed.

If the person has severe symptoms, cannot care for himself or herself, or is threatening to harm himself or herself, seek immediate treatment in a hospital emergency department.

After you are diagnosed with depression, your health-care provider will usually want you to be in frequent contact. You (or your family) may need to contact your primary-care provider, psychiatrist, or psychologist if any of these events occur:

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  • You are experiencing any unexpected or serious medication side effects.
  • You develop additional symptoms of depression.
  • You feel that you are having setbacks and your present therapy is ineffective.
  • You have trouble coping with your feelings and are starting to feel as if you are losing control.

With severe depression, hospitalization may be necessary. You may choose to come to the hospital for evaluation, or your family or friends may need to bring you to the hospital for evaluation in these circumstances:

  • You have thoughts of hurting yourself.
  • You have thoughts of hurting someone else.
  • You are no longer able to care for yourself.
  • You refuse to follow through with important treatment recommendations, such as taking your medication.

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Self-Care at Home

Once you are being treated for depression, you can make lifestyle changes and choices that will help you through the rough times and may prevent depression from returning:

Try to identify and focus on activities that make you feel better. It is important to do things for yourself. Don't isolate yourself. Take part in activities even when you may not want to. Such activity may actually make you feel better.

Talk with your friends and family and consider joining a support group. Communicating and discussing your feelings is an integral part of your treatment and will help with your recovery

Try to maintain a positive outlook. Having a good attitude can be beneficial.

Regular exercise and proper diet are essential to good health. exercise has been found to increase the levels of the body's own natural antidepressants called endorphins.

Try to get enough rest and maintain a regular sleeping pattern.

Avoid drinking alcohol or using any illicit substances.

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