Depression is a disorder that can be treated. Treatment improves more than your mood. It can improve your physical health, too.
National Depression Screening, October 11, 2001.
Do you have any of the common signs of depression?
- A change in eating or sleeping habits,
- Feeling tired all the time,
- A loss of interest in people or activities that brought you pleasure,
- Restlessness or irritability,
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions,
- Thinking about death or suicide.
- Thinking your friends will laugh at you for seeking help.
It isn’t a weakness, it isn’t normal…
Some might consider it “normal” to be depressed in response to a medical illness. And, of course, feelings such as sadness are part of life. But it is never normal to be depressed for long periods, usually defined as two weeks or more. Depression is a treatable, biologically based illness caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.
It May Not Be “All In Your Head.”
It appears there may be physical reasons that depression often accompanies other medical illnesses. For example, studies suggest that depression and other diseases, such as heart disease or dementia, may be interrelated. Sometimes, the biological mechanisms of depression can be linked to, or triggered by, the chemical changes brought about by another illness. Other studies suggest that depression may be a risk factor for illness.
Treating depression is good for your health.
The good news is that treatment works. Treating depression is shown to improve the co-existing illnesses and extend life. Treatment also improves quality of life -- for both patients and their families.
So remember, ongoing depression is never normal and there are many important reasons to treat it.
At best, half of the people with depression and co-existing illness are diagnosed.
The symptoms of other medical illnesses can mask or mimic the symptoms of depression, making it complicated to identify. The side effects of some medicines can do the same thing. And it is difficult for some people to talk about their feelings, thus making diagnosis a challenge.
So, if you or someone you care about could be depressed, see your SOSU Counseling Department or Student Health Services.
There Is Hope
Traditionally, treating co-existing depression has been complicated. Medicines can interact, and side effects in people with co-existing illness have been of particular concern.
Newer treatments (called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs) are less likely to interact with other medications. And, when taken as directed, they are safe, effective, and more easily tolerated.
Still, the potential for drug interactions is an important consideration when taking more than one medication. And some SSRIs are more likely than others to interact with common medicines.
When illnesses co-exist, it’s smart to think about potential drug interactions.
Here’s a way to minimize the risk of drug interactions before they start: Put all the medicines you take regularly into a bag (both prescription and over-the-counter drugs). Bring it with you to show the nurse so she can report the information to the doctor.
So, if you think you or a loved one may have depression, visit the SOSU Counseling Center or visit Student Health Services located on your campus. You’ll be glad you did.
Take an on-line mental health screening It’s free for all SOSU Students.
If the doctor thinks an antidepressant will help, here are some things to discuss:
- Is there one that is easier to tolerate than the others?
- Is there one that isn’t likely to interact with other medicines?
- Will the dose change over time?
- How long until it starts working?
- How long will I have to take this medicine?