Do you know your options for getting help with depression? A recent study showed more than 16 million people experienced at least one depressive episode in the past year.  Children and teens also experience depression with an estimated 2 out of 100 and 8 out of 100 respectively.  Many people experience symptoms of depression but are not sure how to get help. There are effective options for treatment to help manage symptoms. The following five points will help learn options so you can get the treatment you need.

Personal Physician or Family Doctor

What can your doctor do for you? When you think you are depressed, talking to your doctor is a good idea.  They can ask questions about your lifestyle and potential triggers. Your doctor can pinpoint potential issues causing symptoms you’re unsure about.  Your doctor may choose to run simple tests including checking your thyroid and taking a blood sample to ensure something else isn’t going on.  In some cases, depression symptoms could be the result of an underlying medical condition that can be explored through further testing. Many patients feel comfortable expressing personal concerns with their doctor.  From here, you may get a referral to a mental health specialist or psychiatrist. You can learn about suitable treatment options if depression is diagnosed, including medication and therapy.

Mental Health Specialists

Talking with a counselor, psychologist, or social worker is a common option.  Sometimes a referral is needed from your personal doctor. Talking with a mental health specialist is usually the next step after ruling out physical causes for your sad mood.  Such professionals can give a diagnosis and help determine the best treatment for your depression.  While many admit that they are afraid or uncomfortable about the idea of talking about their sadness with a specialist, there is nothing wrong with getting the guidance and assistance you need. These specialists are medically trained to help people deal with their emotions through personal understanding and compassion.  It is not a sign of weakness to reach out to a mental health specialist. In fact, people are commended for making such an important decision that can bring necessary change while improving their mental health.

Licensed Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are specially trained to treat people with depression and other mental health illnesses.  They have regularly scheduled visits with patients while providing medication options to help patients regulate their moods.  Patients can see a psychiatrist for as long as they need to – from weeks to months to years. It depends on the level of depression or mental illness and what the specialist recommends when determining treatment and therapy sessions.  Patients are encouraged to discuss their emotions and be open about their feelings and things that are bothering them. Sometimes it is a matter of seeing things from another perspective. For others, a life changing event can be difficult to work through alone, and guidance from a psychiatrist makes going through change a little easier.

The Internet

Millions of people use the internet daily to get answers about what they are going through. You can learn about local places to get help from and other useful resources providing detailed knowledge to help you make informed decisions. Look for credible websites providing user-friendly, reliable, and current information about depression such as the following:

Use such sources to learn types of depression, how they affect daily activities, treatment options, and more.  Internet sources can help you plan questions to ask your doctor or mental health specialist about depression. Some use the internet to help them cope with depression. For example, they may start a depression blog, a depression support group, or learn about events they can attend to help them feel better. You can also connect with professional help sources providing chat, email, or instant messaging as a form of help.

Book & Print Publications about Depression

There are magazines, journals, and books about depression written from different perspectives. From memoirs to in-depth research studies, you can find a wide variety of reading material to satisfy your curiosity. Reading about depression is recommended to help you stay current with breakthroughs and treatment updates. While there are plenty of options online to check out, consider visiting your local bookstore or get recommendations from your doctor or mental health specialist. Find books on how to eat right, how to exercise, how to improve emotional well-being, and much more.

How you choose to get help for your depression is up to you.  There are plenty of options available to help improve your mental health. Compare your options and keep an open mind.  The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can feel better.

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