|Clinical depression: there is hope|
We’ve all felt sad or blue at times, but clinical depression is different. It’s not a passing, temporary sadness -– the kind you might feel after a bad day at work or an argument with a friend. Clinical depression is a medical condition that affects your thoughts and feelings and ability to manage your life and relationships.
People who are clinically depressed tend to feel down almost all day for two weeks in a row or longer. They often feel sad, down, hopeless, or irritable most of the day, almost every day. They may also lose interest in their usual activities or feel as though they just don’t enjoy things anymore.
Other symptoms of depression can include:
• Feeling tired or lacking energy.
• Having difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
• Feeling agitated or moving more slowly than normal.
• Having a significant increase or decrease in appetite, or losing or gaining weight without trying to.
• Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or oversleeping.
• Feeling worthless or guilty, or having low self-esteem.
• Having thoughts of death or suicide.
Treatment options for clinical depression
If you have clinical depression, you may be convinced that you will never feel better again. You may even blame yourself for your condition. But know this: depression is a biological condition, not a character flaw, and it can be successfully treated. What’s more, you have a choice about whether to be treated and what kind of treatment to have.
People with milder symptoms sometimes try to manage their depression using self-help techniques, such as exercise and relaxation, while also checking in regularly with their doctor. Those who want active treatment can choose:
• Prescription antidepressant medications,
• The herbal medication, St. John’s Wort,
• Depression counseling, or
• Combination therapy, which combines antidepressants with depression counseling.
The approaches to treating depression differ in their availability, cost, and side effects, and not all of them work for all types of depression. Depending on how severe your symptoms are and how long you’ve had them, some choices are more likely than others to help you feel better.
A health coach can help
If you have clinical depression and are trying to choose between the different treatment options, help is just a phone call away. A health coach can help you work with your doctor to understand your specific circumstances and find the treatment that is best for you.
Health coaches are specially trained healthcare professionals, such as nurses, dietitians, and respiratory therapists. They are available by phone, anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no charge to you. To talk to a health coach, call 1-800-658-2750. You can also get information online at www.thedialogcenter.com/bcbsnd.
-- Amanda Eickhoff, Coordinator of Wellness, Wellness Center, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-0210