While no one wants to admit they are suffering from a mental illness, discovering that your problem is bigger than a simple case of melancholy can be the first step towards recovery. With 6.7% of Americans experiencing depression each year, it is clear this “Western illness” is certainly on the rise. While the causes can be anything from genetic to circumstantial, treatment is usually necessary in order to see improvement. Experts agree that the key to successful depression management is in early diagnosis and treatment. Included here are few steps to take if you fear you are suffering from depression.
Analyze Your Symptoms
Most doctors agree that everyone has the tendency to feel a little blue sometimes. You may find yourself down in the dumps and bummed out because of life circumstances. While it is completely normal to have occasions of melancholy, the difference between normal bouts of sadness and depression lie in duration and severity.
Many professionals believe depression is a possibility if you have continuous symptoms for more than two weeks consecutively. There is also an issue of the severity of your symptoms. Anyone who is considering harming themselves or committing suicide should seek help immediately. Normal bouts of sadness do not result in taking such extreme measures.
People who are depressed often begin to exhibit a change in behaviors and social awareness. Activities that previously held enjoyment for you may seem pointless and you may begin to let your physical appearance go. If you no longer value experiences or personal care for an extended period of time, often two weeks or longer, you may be suffering from depression.
If you have taken the time to look into your symptoms and believe you are suffering from something bigger than an “off” week, it is time to seek treatment. For most sufferers, you may be able to simply visit a local psychiatrist and begin therapy and an antidepressant regimen. This is often enough of an outlet that you will begin to see improvement immediately.
However, if your symptoms are more severe and you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, it may be wisest to remove yourself from your situation and go to a rehab facility. They will be able to work with you to manage your depression symptoms away from the stressors at home. For your success at rehab to be lasting, however, you are going to need to make changes that last after returning home.
Make Life Changes
The key to successful depression management is in long term change. This can mean avoiding situations that throw you into a depressive episode and building yourself a social support system. You also may need to make daily changes to your routine, such as eating a healthier diet and exercising each morning.