Everyone feels depressed now and then. Feeling sad or becoming withdrawn for short periods of time is normal. However, when blue moods hang on for weeks and interfere with your daily life, it might be a sign of what is called Major Depressive Disorder. Those suffering from Major Depressive Disorder feel unhappy, down, or blue nearly every day for at least two weeks. They lose interest in activities and people they used to enjoy. Other symptoms, which might include sleep problems, changes in appetite, trouble concentrating, or lack of energy. To take good care of yourself, you need to know when you need help and how to get it. Effective treatment for Major Depressive Disorder is available. Many people take medication, get psychotherapy, or use both of these to help manage depression.
The following activities can help you cope with mild depression: (moderate levels of depression warrant professional treatment, as in the proposed Adolescent Depression Management measure).
- Do something active and pleasurable, and exercise every day.
- Reach out to friends, relatives, and professionals.
- Keep and look at reminders that tell you how much other people value and care for you.
- Volunteer for a community or charitable organization.
- Think positive thoughts.
- Learn all you can about Major Depressive Disorder by reading written and on-line materials.
If you feel unable to handle your depression, contact your health care practitioner. Together you can decide on the best course of action for you. You may be referred to a mental health care specialist or prescribed medication to help relieve symptoms.