Depression Should Not Lead To Suicide

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Many Are Suffering, But Depression Should Not Lead To Suicide

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) there are 16 million adults suffering from depression in the United States.  That number seems to be growing. The statistic says there are at least this many people who have at least one episode of depression each year. Of course, there are some who never really have relief, only the severity may vary.  If having so many suffering from depression isn’t enough, there are also 3.3 million people who suffer from anxiety on a regular basis as well.

It is quite possible these numbers are higher than the statistic shows as many don’t take surveys or go to the doctor.  They just try to deal with this often debilitating depression on their own.  Chances are if you don’t have depression, someone you know does.  Still, despite its prevalence, many don’t like to talk about it.  It continues to have negative connotations for some.  There are still those people who really don’t understand depression. There are an archaic few that think you should just be able to pull up your bootstraps and be fine.

If depression is ignored and severe, it can lead to suicide. Suicide is a common result across the country and is on the rise, 28-49%.  In the State of Oregon suicide was the 2nd most common cause of death in 15- to 34-year-old American males and the 2nd most common cause 25- to 34-year-olds overall.

For many, no outward signs are given, but for some you may notice these things, which may indicate they may be dealing with depression.

Are you depressed?

If you identify or see in a loved one several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, it may be clinical depression.

  • extreme irritability over minor things
  • anxiety and restlessness
  • anger management issues
  • loss of interest in favorite activities
  • fixation on the past or on things that have gone wrong
  • thoughts of death or suicide

Physical symptoms include:

  • insomnia or sleeping too much
  • debilitating fatigue
  • increased or decreased appetite
  • weight gain or weight loss
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • unexplained aches and pains

In children, depression may cause clinginess and refusal to go to school. Teens may be excessively negative and begin avoiding friends and activities.

Depression may be difficult to spot in older adults. Unexplained memory loss, sleep problems, or withdrawal may be signs of depression.

A progression of these symptoms that may be warning signs that someone might be having suicidal thoughts might include:

  • giving away valued possessions
  • withdrawing from friends and family
  • a pattern of substance abuse
  • sudden calmness

If you are feeling this way or you know someone who is, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline to get some help and/or advice.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

Relieving Your Depression

There are choices to treating depression, but the starting point is really understanding your depression. Determining that underlying cause, whether it is physical, emotional, mental or situational. Knowing that can help you decide which form of treatment is best for you. A trusted family member or friend may be able to help you with this or a counselor. If depression is severe, you may want to consider an anti-depressant, while you work out the details and implement healthy lifestyle changes that can help your overall mental outlook.

Basic Lifestyle Changes That Can Help

Lifestyle changes can help alleviate depression and keep it at bay. Here are a few lifestyle changes that can help:

  • Exercise. Consistent exercise can help on many levels, but it can help your mood as well. Exercise releases some “feel good” brain chemicals such as serotonin, endorphins and others. It sets in motion some growth of new brain cells and connections. Just a short walk every day can make a huge difference.
  • Nutrition. Of course, getting good daily nutrition can help you feel good all around. It has to be a conscious effort though these days as it is too easy for us to eat poorly in today’s society.
  • Sleep. There are also many studies on sleep in this country and should I say, the lack thereof. Not getting enough sleep every night can contribute to depression symptoms as well as contribute to other health problems.
  • Social support. Feeling like you are alone in this world can make your depressive symptoms worse. If you do not have any friends or family that you feel you can spend time with, then maybe joining a an enjoyable class with people of like-minded interest can help.  Some recommend volunteering. It can help you with some of this social support and you can also help others. It is easy when we get depressed to withdraw and basically become self-focused, which often makes depression worse. Helping others can bring us out of that. Volunteering is a wonderful way to get social support and help others while also helping yourself.
  • Reducing Stress. Stress can wreak havoc on our health in many ways including our mental health. Effective stress management is critical to good overall health.

Starting The Healing Process

If you are someone you love is suffering from depression, it is not to be taken likely. If you are reading this article, then you are on your way to getting help because you are seeking to understand whether you are depressed and how to help yourself.  A good place to start is with your doctor, not necessarily for antidepressants unless you feel that is necessary, but to rule out possible physical causes that may need correcting.

If you are feeling you can’t wait for help, please call the The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

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