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Warning Signs of Depression

November 23, 1998|BARBARA J. CHUCK

Depression isn't just the blues but a deep sadness that doesn't fade over time. It can affect not only your mood but also your entire life.

What brings it on? There are different reasons for different people. For some, the holiday season is a trigger. For others, it can be personal loss, such as the death of a loved one or divorce. Chronic pain or illness, side effects of some medications, and situations beyond one's control are other causes.

The Signs of Depression

If you know some of the signs of depression, you may be able to help yourself or someone close to you. These signs include:

* Sleeping more or less than usual.

* Eating less or more than usual.

* Feeling restless.

* Having trouble concentrating and making decisions.

* Easily hurt feelings, crying a lot.

* Abusing alcohol and other drugs.

* Losing interest in activities that used to bring pleasure.

(Don't be fooled by people who exhibit some of these behaviors and say they're happy; often, people who are depressed hide their feelings and appear to be cheerful.)

Taking Steps

Sometimes making some changes in your life can help. Exercising, for instance, can give you a sense of well-being. Spending time with people you enjoy, as well as confiding in people you trust, can also make you feel better. Another way is to volunteer your time and skills. Helping others can make you feel better about your life.

If your depression persists, seek professional help. Counseling or support groups may help, as might medication. Seek help immediately if you are having thoughts of suicide or have an overwhelming feeling of worthlessness or hopelessness.


* National Institute of Mental Health, (800) 421-4211.

* National Mental Health Assn., (800) 969-6642.

Source: StayWell Co.

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