Depression is one of the leading causes of disability and time off work. It affects all aspects of a person’s life making it difficult to function normally and accomplish everyday tasks.
Think of your brain like the control center in your car. If you have bad shocks or tires that are low on air, the car may still run. But if the computer is not working properly, it will affect all aspects of your car’s performance. This is similar to the impact depression has on an affected person. For someone who has not experienced a severe depression, it is hard to imagine how a mood problem can cause such great difficulty in functioning. But for the person who experiences depression, it can have devastating effects on all aspects of their life.
Depression can quickly result in a negative downward spiral. It’s common for people with depression to misread their environment and how others are interacting with them. They may believe people are criticizing them, which leads to them feeling more down on themselves and frustrated with their situation. It’s difficult to organize their work and personal lives, which leads to people getting frustrated with them. This, in turn, puts more pressure on the person with depression.
One thing is clear – when depression symptoms lead to interpersonal and work issues, dangerous behavior or suicidal thoughts, it’s time to seek help. A good start is making an appointment with a primary care physician. He or she can help evaluate your condition and refer you to a specialist if needed. It’s also a good idea to ask family and friends if they have experience with depression and who they saw for treatment if it was successful. They can be a valuable resource in seeking help.
Something to keep in mind is depression can alter the way a person sees themselves. Many times people are depressed but unable to see it. So if you believe your loved one is suffering from depression, you may need to take a leap of faith and help them take the first steps to getting treated.
Edward-Elmhurst Health is taking an active lead in integrating psychiatric and behavioral treatment throughout our health system. One thing we’ve found is that people seeking help for depression often see their primary care physician first. So we’ve taken the step of placing therapists within primary care physician offices so patients can be seen quickly and get the support they need to get started with recovery.