What to do if you feel extremely depressed

September 17, 2014

Depression is a serious illness so if you feel extremely depressed, don't wait to seek help. Here are some things you can do to help cope.
What is depression?

Depression is an illness that affects millions of people. Feeling depressed is not a sign of weakness and it is not something that one can just snap out of it. Depression is a lifelong condition that needs treatment. Once treatment for depression is started, most people begin to feel better.

Depression may start in the teenage years and continue throughout life. The disorder may wax and wane. While some people may feel depressed once in a while, others may feel depressed every day. Classic symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Feeling sad, unhappy or having a feeling of emptiness for no apparent reason.
  • Developing anger outbursts, irritability or frustration at minor things.
  • No interest in sex or finding no pleasure in normal activities such as reading, social activities or sports.
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Always tired and no energy to perform even minor tasks.
  • Having reduced appetite associated with weight loss.
  • Agitation, anxiety, or restlessness.
  • Slowed body movements, speaking and thinking.
  • Feeling worthlessness, guilty and fixated on past failures.
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts.
  • Numerous physical problems with no explanation.

In some people, the symptoms of depression are severe and obvious, but in others, the symptoms of depression may be mild and the diagnosis is delayed.

When does depression begin?

Depression often begins in the teenage years, but it can happen at any age. More women are diagnosed with depression than men, but this may be due in part because women are more likely to seek treatment.

What do I do if I feel extremely depressed?

It is important to seek help when one feels depressed for no apparent reason. There are two basic depression treatments that include use of medications and psychotherapy. Most patients are treated as outpatients, but if the depression is severe and associated with suicidal ideations, one may be admitted to a hospital.

Do anti-depressants work?

There are many types of antidepressant medications that do work. The medications do not work immediately, but take several weeks. Once the antidepressants have been started, most people see marked improvement in their mood and behaviour. Often, one needs to go through several antidepressants to find out which one works. These medications should never be abruptly discontinued, as the symptoms may reappear and one may develop withdrawal symptoms. More important, the antidepressants are not addictive and do not cause physical dependence.

What else can I do to help treat depression?

There are several things one can do at home to treat depression. Educate yourself about the disorder and stick to the treatment plan. Pay attention to the warning signs and contact your healthcare provider if the symptoms worsen. Perform some type of physical activity such as walking, swimming or gardening. Avoid use of illicit drugs and alcohol, because in the long run, these agents worsen depression and are addictive.

Finally, get ample sleep and eat healthy.

What to do if you feel extremely depressed
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