All of us experience problems and unhappiness at times. Experiences of failure and loss can result in temporary feelings of worthlessness, disappointment, sadness and self-blame; these feelings are normal, and they usually pass after a short time. Depression becomes an illness when these feelings last for several weeks, are severe, and interfere with someone's work and social life.
Symptoms of Depression
- Feeling worthless, helpless, hopeless, unreasonably guilty or sad
- Having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Loss of energy or decreased sex drive
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Signs of Depression
- A sad overall demeanor or a loss of interest in activities
- Looking fatigued or unkempt
- Changes in sleeping patterns or appetite
- Decreased or disorganized performance.
- Frequently missed appointments, classes, or assignments
- Repeated requests for extensions on work or academic considerations
Treatment can include counselling, medication and exercise.
- Take medications as prescribed. Get your doctor's advice before you take over-the-counter herbs
- Drugs and alcohol can cause or worsen depression and make medicines for depression less effective.
- Eat healthy foods. Eat at regular times
- Get some physical activity every day
- Talk to someone who will listen to the tensions and frustrations you are feeling.
- Do things you enjoy. Draw. Paint. Write your thoughts in a diary or journal
- Avoid stressful situations or taking on added commitments when you feel depressed
- Keep an emergency number handy (e.g., crisis hotline, trusted friend's number, etc.) in case you feel desperate
To Help A Friend Who Is Depressed
- Help your friend get an appropriate diagnosis. Make an initial appointment with a professional and offer to take your friend
- Do not ignore remarks about suicide. Report them, immediately, to a student advisor, teacher, or health care provider
- Be aware of the type of medication your friend needs to take and when it should be taken.
- Be supportive. Depression is no different from any other physical illness. It requires patience, understanding, love, and encouragement.
- Listen with care. Point out your friend's successes and attributes when he or she feels worthless, helpless, or down about the future.
- Encourage your friend to go out and do things with you or with others, such as to see a movie or to do things your friend enjoyed in the past.