Many people who experience depression also have other mental health conditions. Smoking is much more common among adults with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, than in the general population. More research is needed to determine this. Getting help for your depression and anxiety and quitting smoking is the best way to feel better.
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Many helpful treatments for depression are available. Treatment for depression can help reduce symptoms and shorten how long the depression lasts. Your doctor or a qualified mental health professional can help you determine what treatment is best for you. Quitting smoking will not interfere with your mental health treatment or make your depression worse. In fact, research shows that quitting smoking can actually improve your mental health in the long run.
Some people who are depressed may think about hurting themselves or committing suicide taking their own life. The following resources can help:. Rebecca , age 57, struggled with depression and had a few wake-up calls as a smoker. She felt depressed and smoked cigarettes to help her cope with her feelings. The more Rebecca smoked, the harder it seemed to quit. Rebecca finally quit smoking after getting care for her depression and realizing that she had to take care of her own health.
She now leads a new, smokefree life. Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link. Section Navigation. Facebook Twitter Email Syndicate. They also may become frustrated, discouraged, irritable, angry, and sometimes abusive. Some men may throw themselves into their work to avoid talking about their depression with family or friends, or behave recklessly. And although more women attempt suicide, many more men die by suicide in the United States.
My son Timothy used to be an outgoing 9-year-old who loved school. Now he frequently complains of stomachaches and refuses to go to school. He yells at his younger sister a lot. He quit the soccer team and instead has stayed in his room playing video games. Before puberty, girls and boys are equally likely to develop depression.
A child with depression may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die. Most chronic mood disorders, such as depression, begin as high levels of anxiety in children. I was constantly bullied, my heart was in the midst of being broken, and my grades were falling. The pain I suffered day after day, night after night was unbearable.
I felt as if I was drowning. I hated myself. My mom was worried and took me to the doctor. My doctor diagnosed me with depression at the end of my junior year in high school. I needed help. The teen years can be tough. Teens are forming an identity apart from their parents, grappling with gender issues and emerging sexuality, and making independent decisions for the first time in their lives.
Occasional bad moods are to be expected, but depression is different. Older children and teens with depression may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative and irritable, and feel misunderstood. Teens with depression may also have other disorders such as anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse. They may also be at higher risk for suicide. Children and teenagers usually rely on parents, teachers, or other caregivers to recognize their suffering and get them the treatment they need.
Some teens worry what other people will think if they seek mental health care. Depression often persists, recurs, and continues into adulthood, especially if left untreated. If you suspect a child or teenager in your life is suffering from depression, speak up right away. She has trouble sleeping at night and snaps at the grandchildren more than usual. She used to be pretty outgoing, but now she keeps to herself a lot.
Having depression for a long period of time is not a normal part of growing older. Most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, despite having more illnesses or physical problems. But depression in older adults may be difficult to recognize because they may show different, less obvious symptoms. Sometimes older people who are depressed appear to feel tired, have trouble sleeping, or seem grumpy and irritable. Older adults also may have more medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer, which may cause depressive symptoms.
Or they may be taking medications with side effects that contribute to depression. Some older adults may experience what doctors call vascular depression, also called arteriosclerotic depression or subcortical ischemic depression. Vascular depression may result when blood vessels become less flexible and harden over time, becoming constricted.
Those with vascular depression may have or be at risk for heart disease or stroke. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish grief from major depression. Grief after loss of a loved one is a normal reaction and generally does not require professional mental health treatment. However, grief that is complicated and lasts for a very long time following a loss may require treatment.
Older adults who had depression when they were younger are more at risk for developing depression in late life than those who did not have the illness earlier in life. My daily routine was shot. I got up because the dog had to be walked and my wife needed to go to work. I wanted to get back to normal. I just wanted to be myself again. I talked to him about the time he had been really depressed and had gotten help from his doctor. Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier treatment begins, the more effective it is.
Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, talk therapy psychotherapy , or a combination of both. If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider.
12 Steps To Overcome Depression
This could be your primary doctor or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions psychologist or psychiatrist. Certain medications, and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. A doctor can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. If the doctor can find no medical condition that may be causing the depression, the next step is a psychological evaluation.
How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care.
Depression: What You Need To Know
Whether you just moved to a new city, changed insurance providers, or had a bad experience with your doctor or medical staff, it is worthwhile to spend time finding a doctor you can trust. Your doctor or health care provider will examine you and talk to you at the appointment. Your doctor may do a physical exam and ask questions about your health and symptoms.
There are no lab tests that can specifically diagnose depression, but your doctor may also order some lab tests to rule out other conditions. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or mental health counselor, who should discuss with you any family history of depression or other mental disorder, and get a complete history of your symptoms.
The mental health professional may also ask if you are using alcohol or drugs, and if you are thinking about death or suicide. If your doctor does not refer you to a mental health professional or you feel your concerns were not adequately addressed, call or visit the website for your health insurance provider, Medicare www. Remember: No two people are affected the same way by depression. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you. I called my doctor and talked about how I was feeling.
She had me come in for a checkup and gave me the name of a specialist who is an expert in treating depression. Because information about medications is always changing, the following section may not list all the types of medications available to treat depression. Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression. They may help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. Although all antidepressants can cause side effects, some are more likely to cause certain side effects than others. You may need to try several different antidepressant medicines before finding the one that improves your symptoms and has side effects that you can manage.
Most antidepressants are generally safe, but the U. Food and Drug Administration FDA requires that all antidepressants carry black box warnings, the strictest warnings for prescriptions. In some cases, children, teenagers, and young adults under age 25 may experience an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressants, especially in the first few weeks after starting or when the dose is changed. The warning also says that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first few weeks of treatment. Other more serious but much less common side effects listed by the FDA for antidepressant medicines can include seizures, heart problems, and an imbalance of salt in your blood, liver damage, suicidal thoughts, or serotonin syndrome a life-threatening reaction where your body makes too much serotonin.
Serotonin syndrome can cause shivering, diarrhea, fever, seizures, and stiff or rigid muscles. Your doctor may have you see a talk therapist in addition to taking medicine. Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of adding talk therapy to your treatment.
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Sometimes talk therapy alone may be the best treatment for you. If you are having suicidal thoughts or other serious side effects like seizures or heart problems while taking antidepressant medicines, contact your doctor immediately. The medication should be taken in the right dose for the right amount of time. It can take 3 or 4 weeks until the medicine takes effect. Some people take the medications for a short time, and some people take them for much longer periods. People with long-term or severe depression may need to take medication for a long time.
Once a person is taking antidepressants, it is important not to stop taking them without the help of a doctor. Sometimes people taking antidepressants feel better and stop taking the medication too soon, and the depression may return. When it is time to stop the medication, the doctor will help the person slowly and safely decrease the dose.
If a medication does not work, it may be helpful to be open to trying another one. Antidepressants are generally considered safe, but some studies have suggested that they may have unintentional effects, especially in young people. The warning says there is an increased risk of suicidal thinking or suicide attempts in children, adolescents, and young adults up through age Possible side effects to look for are depression that gets worse, suicidal thinking or behavior, or any unusual changes in behavior such as trouble sleeping, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations.
Families and caregivers should report any changes to the doctor. Serotonin syndrome is usually associated with the older antidepressants called MAOIs, but it can happen with the newer antidepressants as well, if they are mixed with the wrong medications. The benefits of antidepressant medications may outweigh their risks to children and adolescents with depression.
To find the latest information, talk to your doctor and visit www. You may have heard about an herbal medicine called St. Its flowers and leaves are used to make medicine. It is one of the top-selling botanical products in the United States. But St. The FDA has not approved its use as an over-the-counter or prescription medicine for depression, and there are serious concerns about its safety and effectiveness.
For more information on medications for depression, please visit the FDA website at www.
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There are several types of psychotherapies that may be effective in treating depression. Examples include cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy. Without treatment, I felt like everything was dark—as if I was looking at life through tinted glasses. Treatment is helping it clear. CBT can help an individual with depression change negative thinking.
It can help you interpret your environment and interactions in a positive, realistic way. It may also help you recognize things that may be contributing to the depression and help you change behaviors that may be making the depression worse. IPT is designed to help an individual understand and work through troubled relationships that may cause the depression or make it worse.
When a behavior is causing problems, IPT may help you change the behavior. In IPT, you explore major issues that may add to your depression, such as grief, or times of upheaval or transition. It is an effective treatment option, particularly for older adults with depression. Using a step-by-step process, you identify problems and come up with realistic solutions. It is a short-term therapy and may be conducted in an individual or group format. For mild to moderate depression, psychotherapy may be the best option.
However, for severe depression or for certain people, psychotherapy may not be enough. For teens, a combination of medication and psychotherapy may be the most effective approach to treating major depression and reducing the chances of it coming back. Another study looking at depression treatment among older adults found that people who responded to initial treatment of medication and IPT were less likely to have recurring depression if they continued their combination treatment for at least 2 years.
More information on psychotherapy is available on the NIMH website at www. Meredith made a cup of coffee and settled into the living room sofa, then she clicked on an icon on her laptop. Your therapist could be only a mouse click or email away. There are many therapy programs available online or on the computer e. But results can vary from program to program, and each program is different. But they may be in different formats. For example, you might learn from materials online and get support from your therapist by email.
It could be a video conferencing session that progresses much like a face-to-face session. Or you may use a computer program with video, quizzes, and other features with very little contact with a therapist. Sometimes these therapies are used along with face-to-face sessions. Sometimes they are not. There are pros to receiving therapy on the Internet or on the computer. Also, tech-savvy teens who feel uncomfortable with office visits may be more open to talking to a therapist through a computer screen. There are also cons. For example, your health insurance may only cover therapy that is face-to-face.
And although these various formats may work for a range of patients, they also may not be right for certain patients depending on a variety of factors. If you are interested in exploring Internet or computer-based therapy, talk to your doctor or mental health provider.
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
You may also be able to find an online mental health care provider on your own. Speak with your provider first to see if he or she can provide a recommendation or trusted source for more information. Sometimes you may need to have a conversation with more than one provider to find the right one for you. Some of these apps aim to provide treatment and education.