Short Guide to Depression
A Frank Discussion About Depression
• Know the definition, signs and symptoms of depression
• Effects on workplace, children and family
• Obstacles to seeking help
• Treatments for depression
• How to talk to a depressed person about getting help
• What is depression?
• How long does it last?
• Can it be cured?
• What are the types of depression?
What Causes Depression?
• A disorder of the brain
• Brain circuitry responsible for the regulation of moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior fail to function properly
• A combination of genetic, cognitive, and environmental factors are often involved in the onset of a depressive disorder
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
• Feelings of extreme guilt
• Suicidal ideas
• Diminished interest in activities
• Difficulty concentrating
• Appetite changes
• Weight changes
• Mood swings
• Distorted thinking
• Low self-esteem
• Feelings of hopelessness
• Feelings of helplessness
• Social withdrawal
• Decreased sexual interest
Symptoms in the Workplace:
• Persistent sad & empty mood
• Feeling hopeless
• Loss of interest in ordinary activities
• Disturbances in eating and sleeping patterns; fatigue at work
• Irritability with co-workers
• Difficulty concentrating; missed deadlines; errors
• Thoughts of suicide
Effects of Depression in the Workplace
• Decreased productivity
• Morale problems
• Lack of cooperation
• Safety problems, accidents
• Frequent complaints of being tired all the time
• Complaints of unexplained aches and pains
• Alcohol and drug abuse
Obstacles to Seeking Treatment
• Embarrassment, the stigma of mental illness: “only crazy people go to shrinks”
• Believing depression is a personal weakness: “I just need to buckle down and deal with it”
• “It costs too much”, or “I don’t have time”
• A belief that treatment won’t help
• A feeling of not deserving help
• In severe depression, people lack the ability to take action
Treatments for Depression
– If danger to self or others
– Should include both medication and psychotherapy
– Psychotherapy, a talk therapy, one-to-one, group and/or marital
– Medication Treatments for Depression
• Need to be aware of dual diagnosis e.g. alcohol/drugs and depression.
• With appropriate treatment approximately 80% recover
• Improvement usually seen in a matter of weeks.
Suicide – Basic Facts
• Suicide rates are not the highest during the holidays
• Journal of American Medical Association reports that 95% of all
suicides occur at the peak of a depressive episode
• As per the Center for Disease Control, suicide rate is 10.8 per
• Cause of a suicide is very complicated; much more than the break up of a relationship
• Over 90% of those that take their life have a significant psychiatric
illness at the time of their death
• Previous suicide attempt
• History of depression
• History of substance abuse
• Family history of suicide
• Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
• Loss of a relationship, loved one, social network, employment,
physical health, finances
• Easy access to lethal methods
Protective Factors For Suicidal Person
• Access to counseling and support
• Family and community support
• Skills in problem solving and conflict resolution
• Cultural and religious beliefs
Understanding Suicidal Signs:
• It is difficult to deal with a sudden and unexplainable death
• There is no opportunity to tie up "loose ends"
• Changes in behavior, personality, or mood
• Verbal cues such as "What's the point of living?", "Soon you
won't have to worry about me" or "Who cares if I'm dead
• Expressing feelings that life is meaningless or hopeless
• Giving away cherished possessions
• Neglect of appearance or hygiene
• Sudden unexplained deterioration of work performance or
Responding to Warning Suicidal Signs
• If someone confides to you their suicidal ideas or plans, share that information with an appropriate resource – don’t keep it to yourself.
• Find help. This may
require mobilizing other people.
• The person requires immediate help if there is any indication that they have been considering suicide or having suicidal thoughts
• Do not leave a suicidal person alone as they are in
What Can You Do?
• Learn about depression
• Know the sources of help available
• Recognize when someone shows signs that might be depression-related
• Don’t diagnose the problem yourself
• Be flexible about scheduling, to accommodate their seeking treatment
• “You don’t have to feel that way. There are effective treatments”.
• Encourage staying in treatment and/or continuing to take their medication
• If suicidal, call their therapist, or local mental health emergency services for help for them
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