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How to Understand Depression

Many people experience depression in their lifetime; do you know what you need to know about depression?

By
Rob Lamberts, MD,
September 28, 2010
Episode #065

Page 3 of 3

How to Cope with Depression

So what should you do if you think you or a loved one might be depressed? Here are my 5 quick and dirty tips:

Tip# 1: Don’t be ashamed.  Nearly 20% of the US population has an episode of major depression in their lifetime.  It’s a problem that needs help, and that’s just part of being human.

Tip# 2: Talk to your doctor.  Hopefully he or she won’t just throw pills at your problem, but actually figure out whether you are depressed and determine what is the best approach.

Tip# 3: Talk to someone. Talk to a counselor, close friend (especially one who has been depressed in the past), or someone else you trust.  Figuring out what is beneath the depression is a big part of overcoming it.  Counselors don’t wave a magic wand over you, they work with you to figure out what core struggles or past trauma are causing your depression.  It takes a lot of work on your part to really make progress in this area.

Tip# 4: Consider medications.  I see medications for depression as being like supports you would put up on a wall that’s falling down.  They keep the wall from falling and they allow you to work to fix the wall, but they are not a solution.  Medications work wonderfully, but should always be only part of the solution.

Tip# 5: Get help immediately if you think you or your loved one is at risk of self harm, suicide, or physically harming others.  It’s hard to see straight when you are in the depths of despair.

An Important Message

Let me finish with a statement to those thinking about killing themselves.  A lot of people who are depressed think they are a burden on their friends and family.  They rationalize that killing themselves will free their loved ones from that burden.  That is a lie.  There is absolutely nothing worse you could do to your loved ones than to kill yourself.  Suicides wreak havoc in the lives of those close to the person.  Suicide is never a selfless act.  If you have thoughts of suicide--of really going through with killing yourself, not just fleeting thoughts--remind yourself of the pain you would put your loved ones through and seek help immediately.

If you have topics that you want me to cover, send them to housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com, or you can submit them to me on twitter (@housecalldoc) or my Facebook page.

Let me once again remind you that this podcast is for informational purposes only.  My goal is to add to your medical knowledge and translate some of the weird medical stuff you hear, so when you do go to your doctor, your visits will be more fruitful. I don’t intend to replace your doctor; he or she is the one you should always consult about your own medical condition.

Catch you next time!  Stay Healthy!

Depressed Man image courtesy of Shutterstock

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