Depression is not just feeling sad, blue or discouraged; and it
is much more than the normal downs that can be a part of everyday
living. It is an illness that affects the whole person - their thoughts,
feelings, behavior and physical health.
and Disability: What you should know
people are depressed, they have symptoms nearly all day, everyday,
that last at least two weeks. It is when many of these symptoms
occur together, cause difficulties in day-to-day functioning, and
last longer than a few weeks that they may be signs of a depressive
affects more than 17 million Americans each year. Many are people
with disabilities. Not everyone with a disability becomes depressed,
and those who do become depressed may not be depressed because of
their disability. However, people with disabilities face unique
challenges and stresses which place them at increased risk for depression.
have shown that symptoms of depression may be 2 to 10 times more
common in individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses, and
depression is one of the most common secondary conditions associated
with disability and chronic illness. But the good news is that effective
treatments for depression are available.
of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, or emptiness
of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
problems, such as sleeping too much, having trouble falling or
staying asleep, or waking very early in the morning
in appetite with weight loss or weight gain
of restlessness, increased irritability, or frustration
energy or becoming tired after normal activities
with memory, concentration, decision making, or mental slowing
of excessive guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
interest in interacting with others
more often than usual
thoughts of death or dying
of suicide or suicide attempts
There are many effective treatments available. With appropriate
treatment, the majority of people with depression can improve significantly,
often within a matter of weeks. Counseling or talk therapy, medications,
or a combination of the two are the most common and effective treatments.
you think that you or someone you care about may be depressed, get
help. Have yourself evaluated for depression so that you can get
treatment if you need it. People and places you can contact for
help include your family doctor and your local hospital, mental
health center, or public health clinic.
BLUE IS YOUR PRIMARY COLOR
has days when they'd rather stay at home than face the world. While
finding strategies that work best for you may be trial and error,
there are tried and true actions you can do to help feel less alone,
discouraged or blue.
following are things that will not only help you feel better on
a bad day, but also will help reduce your risk for developing a
to friends or family about what you are feeling.
Feeling sad or disappointed is nothing to be ashamed of, and sometimes
just letting people know that you are feeling down can help you
begin to feel better. If you can't get out of the house to see
friends and family, write a letter or talk with them on the telephone.
in touch with other people with disabilities. As much as they
may try, non-disabled people can't always understand what it's
like to live with a disability. If you are feeling alone or misunderstood,
talking with someone who has a similar disability can make all
the difference in the world. Your health care provider may be
able to give you information about local support groups or provide
the names of other individuals who have had similar experiences.
Many public libraries have computers that can be used to search
the Internet for groups and agencies that provide education and
support for individuals with disabilities.
an advocate for yourself and others. If you think that environmental
and social barriers are contributing to your feeling discouraged,
down, angry, or bad about yourself, find out what you can do to
make a difference. Become involved in local advocacy groups. Talk
to store managers who make aisles too narrow for wheelchairs.
Write your congressman about the problems with health care and
insurance often faced by people with disabling conditions.
Volunteering can be a meaningful and rewarding way to spend your
time. It can get you out of the house and provide opportunities
for interacting with others. If you can't get out of the house,
make phone calls, write letters, or do other kinds of volunteer
activities from your home. Spending time and energy helping others
can help take your mind off your own troubles and make you feel
appreciated by others.
Physical activity can be one of the most effective ways to combat
depression. Even if you have significant physical limitations,
increasing your level of physical activity, even just a little
bit, will help improve your mood.
Stress. Although stress doesn't always cause depression, stress
tends to make depression symptoms worse. Finding stress management
techniques that work for you-relaxing, meditating, praying, watching
funny movies, doing crafts, keeping a journal, or any other activities
that make you feel less stressed-can make you less vulnerable
Mental Health Resources..
Depression and Disability: A Practical Guide
by Dr. Karla Thompson
NC Office on Disability & Health
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8185
a free copy, call 919-966-2932 or email: email@example.com.
Copies may be downloaded from the NCODH web site in pdf or html
Depressive and Manic Depressive Association
730 N. Franklin St., Suite 501
Chicago, IL 60610 800-826-3632
Foundation for Depressive Illness, Inc.
P.O. Box 2257
New York, NY 10116-2257
Mental Health Association Center
1021 Prince St.
Alexandria, VA 23314-2971 800-969-6642
See also ...
Do You Do... Just For You?
Time's for You