This leaflet is for anyone who is depressed, or has been depressed, or who has a friend or family member who is depressed.
We all feel fed up and upset at times, yet usually these feelings do not last more than a week and most importantly, they do not stop us from practicing our daily activities.
I. What does depression feel like?
- Unhappy most of the time
- Feeling irritable
- Loss of interest and joy in previous interests
- Difficulty coping with things that you used to
- Sense of tiresome
- Sense of restlessness and agitation
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Loss of sex drive
- Lack of self confidence
- Sense of uselessness and hopelessness
- Avoiding socialization
- Suicidal thoughts or death wishes
II. Why do some people get depressed?
Research on depression has shown that the major causes are
- Biological causes, where people with depression show major changes in the shapes of their brains when compared to people who do not suffer depression
- Changes in brain chemistry; the changes in the naturally occurring neurotransmitters and their interaction with the circuits that are involved in maintaining mood stability has a major role in developing depression
- Hormonal imbalances may trigger depression, such as thyroid disorders, pregnancy and delivery, and menopause
- Genes; depression runs in families
Depression is not a form of weakness or a disease , it is a disorder like any other metabolism disorders , ex: Diabetes.
III. What are the treatment modalities at LWHCC for depression?
- Antidepressants, which are usually prescribed when patients have been suffering with depression symptoms and are interfering with daily activities.
- You may start sleep better and feel less anxious after a few days of starting antidepressants.
- Psychotherapy plays an important role in treating depression. It can help you relieve your chest, think clearly, develop new ways of thinking and behaving, and develop problem-solving skills.
Psychotherapy is a process that takes time. You may feel bad during the process because some unresolved issues from the past, but psychotherapy will help cope and overcome these feelings, and it will help you develop new helpful ways of thinking and behaving. There are many options in Psychotherapy treatments .Please talk to our experts for more details.
Neurotransmitters are tiny chemicals that help transfer messages between brain cells. In depression, two neurotransmitters are majorly affected, Serotonin and Noradrenaline. Antidepressants work by increasing the concentration of those two neurotransmitters.
Your psychiatrist and/ or mental health nurse will educate you about the expected side effects of the prescribed antidepressant, which include dry mouth, constipation, and sleepiness (old type antidepressants), and increased appetite, weight gain, and insomnia (newer antidepressants). Usually those side effects wear off in a week or two. Your mental health provider will follow up on your side effects and work up a plan to relieve these side effects.
Which treatment modality is better for me?
At LWHCC, we will provide you with free triage service with a professional mental health nurse who will carry on a brief mental health assessment, either over the phone or during a face-to-face interview, and guide you to the appropriate service based on your mental health status and individual needs.
IV. What can you do to help yourself?
- Talk about your depression to your trusted friends or family. Don’t be ashamed to cry; it is the brain’s natural way of healing
- Be active; go for a walk, do some housework, and any activity of your daily routine
- Eat well
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Sleep well; if you cannot sleep properly, try not to worry about it. Follow some sleep hygiene tips; listen to soft music while lying in bed.
- Try to write down your thoughts and feelings on a piece of paper, and try to think of ways to tackle them
- Remember that depression affects many people, and you can get out of it, stronger and more capable of coping.
V. What can you do to help a close one who has depression?
- Listen; even if you have to listen to the same thing over and over, and try not to give advice unless asked for
- It is helpful to spend time with this person and encourage him/her to talk; you may reassure him/her that they will get better
- Make sure that this person is eating and sleeping well as much as possible
- Help him/her stay away from alcohol/drugs
- If they start talking about ideas of not wanting to live, take it seriously and make sure they tell their psychiatrist
- Encourage them to get help. Do not discourage psychotherapy or taking medication if it is prescribed. If you have worries or concerns about your close one’s treatment, do not hesitate to discuss them with their medical team.