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Talk with Your Doctor about Depression

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The Basics

If you think you might be depressed, talk with a doctor about how you are feeling. Depression is a serious illness.

If you are diagnosed with depression, you aren’t alone. Depression is a common illness that affects millions of adults in the U.S. every year.

The good news is that depression can be treated. Getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones. You can feel better.

Watch this short presentation to learn more about depression.

What are the signs of depression?
It’s normal to feel sad sometimes, but if you feel sad or “down” for more than 2 weeks at a time, you may be depressed.

Some signs of depression are:

  • Feeling hopeless or empty
  • Forgetting things or having trouble making decisions
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Thinking about suicide or death
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy

Take this quiz to find out if you might be depressed. External Links Disclaimer Logo

How is depression treated?
Depression can be treated with talking therapy, medicine (called antidepressants), or both. Your doctor may refer you to a counselor or therapist. Getting active and eating healthy can also help with depression.

Check out these resources to learn more about depression:

Take Action!

Depression is a real illness. If you think you might be depressed, see your doctor.

Talk to a doctor about how you are feeling.
Get a medical checkup. Ask to see a doctor or nurse who can test you for depression.

If you are worried about talking with a doctor about depression, check out this guide to Finding a Mental Health Professional [PDF - 442 KB]. External Links Disclaimer Logo

What about the cost?
Screening for depression is covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010.

Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get screened at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance company, and ask about the Affordable Care Act.

Even if you don’t have insurance, there are free and low-cost mental health services. Find mental health services near you.

Get support.
Here are some places you can go to for help:

  • Doctor’s office or health clinic
  • Family service or social service agency
  • Church or clergy person
  • Psychologist (“sy-KAH-lah-jist”)
  • Counselor or social worker
  • Psychotherapist (“sy-koh-THAYR-uh-pist”)

If someone you care about is depressed, get help.
If you think a friend or family member may be depressed, check out these tips on how to talk to a loved one about depression.

Get help right away if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide.

Get active.
Exercise can lower your stress level as you begin treatment for depression. It can also help keep you from getting depressed again.

Eat healthy.
A healthy diet can help with depression. Eating healthy will give you energy and lower your stress level as you begin treatment for depression.

Find more help for depression with tips on getting active and eating healthy.

Start Today: Small Steps

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Content last updated on: September 27, 2012

National Health Information Center

P.O. Box 1133, Washington, DC 20013-1133