Here at The Sun Will Rise, part of our mission statement is to provide resources to those in need. To help achieve this goal, we have included a variety of resources here to help you or anyone you know that is struggling with depression.
Depression is a monster, but you do not have to fight it alone. Together we are stronger.
What is Depression?
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in restless activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression.
Also, medical conditions (e.g., thyroid, a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency) can mimic symptoms of depression so it is important to rule out general medical causes.
Depression and Sadness
The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being “depressed.”
But sadness and depression are not the same. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:
- In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest (pleasure) are decreased for most of two weeks.
- In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
- For some people, the death of a loved one can bring on major depression. Losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression for some people. When grief and depression co-exist, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression. Despite some overlap between grief and depression, they are different. Distinguishing between them can help people get the help, support or treatment they need.
Although you cannot control the fact that you may have clinical depression, you can seek a depression support system for yourself. Getting family help with depression is a great place to start. Talk openly with people close to you -- family members, friends, and co-workers -- to help them understand your treatment and that you're doing all you can to follow your doctor's recommendations.
Depression support groups such as those sponsored by Mental Health America (MHA) or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)are geared toward meeting the needs of those with depression. While depression support groups are not psychotherapy groups, they can provide you with a safe and accepting place to vent your frustrations and fears and receive comfort and encouragement from others.
In a depression support group, members often share coping suggestions that others find useful. This helps give you the assurance that "someone else knows what I am going through," as people share their struggles living with various types of depression. This camaraderie is vital in order to begin the healing process.
Mental Health Professionals
Depression and Substance Abuse
A large number of people who suffer from depression never seek medical treatment. Instead, some seek substances of abuse to help them feel better. They turn to alcohol or illicit drugs to feel more relaxed or escape sad feelings. While some feel a temporary benefit, people who turn to substances of abuse for help often feel worse in the long run. Misusing alcohol or drugs can lead to long-term organ damage or addiction.
People who misuse drugs and alcohol often begin to feel changes in personality, lose interest in things that used to be important to them and become over-sensitive, nervous or paranoid. They may also begin to suffer physical problems like loss of coordination, tremors or increased body temperature.
Mental health disorders like depression usually occur before substance use disorders, but misusing substances can lead to depression. The coexisting disorders make symptoms of depression worse, and drug or alcohol use can interfere with standard treatments for depression. People with depression often suffer from anxiety disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder, too.
American Psychological Association - The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest association of psychologists in the world. The APA’s site is filled with the latest information on topics ranging from addiction, ADHD, aging, and Alzheimer’s to bullying, eating disorders, sexual abuse, and suicide.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance - The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is a self-help organization for patients and their family members. The DBSA web site provides timely information on depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder and explains how doctors screen for these conditions. This web site also provides information for the newly diagnosed as well as information about recovery steps and ways to help a loved one with depression or with bipolar disorder.
Mental Health America - Mental Health America is a leading nonprofit group that supports good mental health for all people. On the web site, you can access information on mental health topics, depending on ethnic group, career or military, and age group.
National Alliance on Mental Illness - The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI works to support and educate the public about various mental disorders with the goal of improving the quality of life for all persons diagnosed with mental illness. NAMI’s web site provides the latest facts, statistics, and research advances on different types of mental health conditions.
National Institute of Mental Health - The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the largest research organization in the world that focuses on mental health diseases. The NIMH web site provides in-depth information and the latest findings on topics ranging from anxiety, ADHD, and autism to OCD, panic disorder, and depression.
DrugRehab.com - DrugRehab.com is a web resource provided and funded by Advanced Recovery Systems (ARS). ARS is an integrated behavioral health care management organization dedicated to the treatment of addiction, substance abuse, eating disorders and mental health issues. We provide well-researched, fact-based resources on the site.
Addiction Center - Addiction Center was founded by recovering addicts and health information writers. Our goal is to provide the most up-to-date information on addiction as well as reviews of top treatment centers across the country.
The Recovery Village - In addition to providing treatment through their alcohol rehab, drug rehab and eating disorder treatment centers, the website for The Recovery Village features valuable, accessible information about depression and co-occurring disorders.