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There's help available for depression

There's help available for depression

September 06, 2014

The Weekend Edition – Ionia Sentinel-Standard

Written by: Allison Mandley

Depression is a feeling for some people, but for others it is a lifelong struggle. It can be an intense emotional response to something, or it can be a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is not good to be depressed, but there is something good about depression – it can be treated.

Anyone can get depression, and it can happen at any time in life. Sometimes depression is situational, based on current stressors in life such as financial or medical issues, hard times at home or the loss of a loved one. Other times depression is long lasting, due to continued and repeated stressors or a chemical change in the brain.

There are many different symptoms of depression. Some are easy to recognize like crying, and feeling sad, worthless, or guilty. Other common symptoms are wanting to be along, loss of interest or pleasure in things that used to make you happy, irritability, and thoughts of death or suicide. Some symptoms can be harder to recognize. These include increased or decreased appetite, sleeping too much or too little, having no energy or motivation, feeling restless and trouble concentrating. Sometimes people who are depressed turn to drugs or alcohol to try to numb their pain. Substance abuse can be common with depression, but can also worsen with depression.

You may know someone who is suffering from depression. If you do, it is OK to ask them if there is anything you can do to help. A serious depression can cause someone to lose the desire to look for help. Others may be afraid to ask for help. Knowing about depression could help you be a voice of reason to someone else, and help them get the help they need. If you yourself are feeling depressed, it is important to realize you are not alone. A study done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2012 estimated there were 16 million people in the United States that year who had at least one episode of depression.

Often times the first step toward getting help is asking for it. Some people feel comfortable talking to friends or family members, but for those who don’t there are many other people who can help. Community Mental Health Centers are great places to go and often have same-day services, meaning you can talk to someone the very day you show up at the door. Other good places to ask for help are your doctor’s office or the health department.

There are many different treatment options for depression. The first step in treatment is meeting with someone to have a screening done about the symptoms you are having and possible causes of depression. Both therapy and mediations are important tools in treatment, but specific treatment plans are based on each individual’s need. If you would like more information about depression, contact Ionia County Community Mental Health on Apple Tree Drive. We can be reached at 616-527-1790 and have a 24-hour, toll-free crisis line at 888-527-1790.

Allison Mandley is a physician assistant who works at Ionia County Community Mental Health. She attended Ferris State University for her undergraduate education majoring in pre-medicine and nuclear medicine technology. Allison received her physician assistant degree from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois.