Coping With Depression


Do you sometimes feel sad or
have the blues? This is normal
and a part of every day living. It’s also normal to feel depressed after a loved one dies or after a serious illness diagnosis. We may cry, have trouble sleeping
or lose our appetite, but what’s not normal is to feel this way for long periods of time. Depression is a mood disorder
that effects how you feel and think and how you manage daily activities. Depression can happen at any
time in your life. Major depression can effect
more than your mood; for example, you
might be sleeping a lot or not sleeping enough. You could lose weight or
gain weight and generally lose interest in your life. You may even have thoughts
about your own death. Sometimes depression happens when a person has other serious
conditions like cancer, heart disease or PTSD. Also a person may be abusing
drugs or alcohol or withdrawing from them and could also be suffering from depression. It’s important that Veterans seen at
VA facilities are screened every year for depression. Depression can be
difficult to diagnose, especially when a person has a tough time talking about their feelings. It can be a sensitive topic to bring up with a healthcare provider. However sometimes a
spouse or partner will mention their loved one is
having trouble sleeping and is
grouchy all the time. With these symptoms there’s often a problem with depression
going on too. Some other signs and symptoms of
depression may include feeling anxious or having an empty mood that won’t go away, feeling hopeless or worthless,
losing interest in hobbies or activities you once
enjoyed, feeling aches or pains
that don’t have a clear cause even after they’ve been treated. The good news is that depression can be treated successfully so you can return to feeling more
like yourself. If you are a Veteran enrolled in VA
healthcare and you or your loved one suspects you may have depression contact
your VA primary care provider, a patient aligned care team member or a mental health professional for help. If you are diagnosed with depression your treatment may include medication and
psychotherapy, which is also called cognitive
behavior therapy or a combination of both. Psychotherapy helps by teaching you new ways of thinking and
behaving and changing habits that can add to
your depression. People usually do best when
they receive both kinds of treatment. Gradually with proper
treatment you’ll start to feel better, during this time continue
to do things you enjoy but go easy on yourself. Be active and be with
other people, get good rest, eat at regular times, ask for help from your family, friends and your healthcare team. Put off making any major life
decisions until you feel better. Remember don’t use alcohol or drugs that are
not prescribed to you because they can make your depression worse and harder to treat. If you are concerned about a loved one who is talking about suicide or death, always take them seriously. If they refuse to get help, get help for them anyway. Call the Veterans Crisis Line; it’s a confidential toll free hotline, online chat or text. It’s available 24 hours a day,
7 days a week, 365 days a year. Veterans or their loved
ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text a message to 838255 to get immediate help and support. Or to have an online chat, visit www.veteranscrisisline.net. Do you have more questions about depression and how to cope with it? Talk with your VA healthcare team or you can visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/depression. There you can find out about many programs
and services to help. Remember depression can be treated if you think you have depression
seek help, the VA wants you to have the best care possible so you can get back to feeling like yourself again.

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