Keys to Recovering from Depression



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INTRODUCTION
Depression is a common and serious disorder. Every year, depression affects nearly 10% of adult Americans overage. Depression takes a big toll in suffering, costs industry billions of dollars, and can lead to suicide in some severe cases. Family, friends, health, work, or school can all be seriously impacted by the disease. However, depression is a very treatable disease. There is hope.
We have designed this workbook with three main goals in mind:
First, for those who have already been diagnosed with a form of depression and are in treatment, we want to help you learn as much as you can about depression. We have included up-to-date information about what depression is (and what it isn’t). There are some common myths about depression. We believe that the more you understand about depression and the challenges you may face like medication side effects, the more likely you are to get the full benefit of treatment. Wrong information about depression causes some people to stop treatment too soon or they may not follow the treatment plan agreed upon with their doctor or therapist.
Secondly, to help you start treatment for depression and stick with it. There are several treatment options. Your doctor may recommend talk therapy or counseling or medication with antidepressants or a combination of both. These treatments have been shown to successfully treat depression. A combination of medications and psychotherapy is used to treat many people. Your doctor can help you decide what may work best for you.
Third, although treatment for depression is helpful for most people, there are things that you can do in addition to treatment that may help you to feel better more quickly. We have compiled additional suggestions in this workbook from experts in behavioral health care. Your doctor or therapist has probably told you some of these. Because depression is an illness that tends to comeback again, learning some different ways to think and building new support systems will make it less likely that you will get depressed again after you finish treatment.
If you are reading this book and you are experiencing depressive symptoms, but have not been diagnosed with depression or started in treatment, please continue to read through this workbook anyway. The information here can help you to decide to see a doctor or mental health therapist for evaluation and/or treatment.
We hope that you will take the time to work through the activities and exercises in this workbook. If you don’t have much energy, break it into small sections. Just do a little bit at a time until it is done. We have also included resources for additional information.


- 3 -Key Accurate Information About Depression That Will Help You
Depression is a disease.
Scientific research shows that depression affects certain centers in the brain that affect moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior.
You are not alone depression is a common disorder
Depression affects nearly 10 percent of adult Americans ages 18 and over.
Based on 2006 census data it was estimated that more than 21 million people suffer from depression. Depression affects twice as many women, (12 percent) as men (7 percent. Depression may comeback later in your life, though many people only have one episode.
Symptoms of depression
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience a few symptoms, some many. Severity of symptoms varies with individuals and also varies overtime. Symptoms can include:
Sad mood, frequent crying Feeling hopeless
• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
• Change in appetite or weight
• Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
• Physical slowing or agitation (jumpy “edgy”)
Loss of energy
• Feelings of worthlessness
• Guilty feelings
• Difficulty thinking or concentrating (more common in men)
• Thoughts of death or suicide Persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment (more common in men)
• Anxiety, with or without a specific feeling of being depressed.


- 4 -Specific Cultural Considerations
Possible differences in symptom presentation may influence the way depression is recognized and diagnosed among minorities. For example, African Americans are more likely to report appetite changes and body aches and pains. For African American women fatigue maybe the only sign of depression, while anger is another common symptom among African American women and men. In addition, people from various cultural backgrounds may view depressive symptoms indifferent ways. Many depressed Chinese people do not report feeling sad, but rather express boredom, discomfort, feelings of inner pressure, and symptoms of pain, dizziness, and fatigue.
Keeping yourself safe
Because there is effective treatment for depression, it is very important to keep yourself safe until your depression symptoms subside. If you have been thinking about death frequently or even about



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