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Depression is a serious medical illness that involves the brain. It's more than just a feeling of being "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days. If you are one of the more than 20 million people in the United States who have depression, the feelings do not go away. They persist and interfere with your everyday life. Symptoms can include:
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
Change in weight
Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
Feelings of worthlessness
Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression is a disorder of the brain. There are a variety of causes, including genetic, environmental, psychological, and biochemical factors. Depression usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30, and is much more common in women. Women can also get postpartum depression after the birth of a baby. Some people get seasonal affective disorder in the winter. Depression is one part of bipolar disorder.
There are effective treatments for depression, including antidepressants and talk therapy. Most people do best by using both.
Adapted from Depression | MentalHealth.gov
People with anxiety disorders respond to certain objects or situations with fear and dread. They have physical reactions to those objects, such as a rapid heartbeat and sweating. An anxiety disorder is diagnosed if a person:
Has an inappropriate response to a situation
Cannot control the response
Has an altered way of life due to the anxiety
Adapted from Anxiety Disorders | MentalHealth.gov
Post-Traumatic Stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a real illness. You can get PTSD after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as war, a hurricane, rape, physical abuse, or a bad accident. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. It affects your life and the people around you.
PTSD can cause problems like:
Flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again
Trouble sleeping or nightmares
Feeling worried, guilty, or sad
PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD can happen to anyone, even children.
Medicines can help you feel less afraid and tense. It might take a few weeks for them to work. Talking to a specially trained doctor or counselor also helps many people with PTSD. This is called talk therapy.
Adapted from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder | MentalHealth.gov
Are you having trouble doing the things you like to do or need to do because of how you feel—like going to school, work or hanging out with friends?
Are you having a rough day? Have you been feeling down for a while? Everyone goes through tough times, and no matter how long you've had something on your mind, it's important that you talk to someone about it.
Talk to your parents or a trusted adult if you experience any of these things:
Can't eat or sleep
Can't perform daily tasks like going to school
Don't want to hang out with your friends or family
Don't want to do things you usually enjoy
Fight a lot with family and friends
Feel like you can't control your emotions and it's affecting your relationships with your family and friends
Have low or no energy
Feel numb or like nothing matters
Can't stop thinking about certain things or memories
Feel confused, forgetful, edgy, angry, upset, worried, or scared
Want to harm yourself or others
Have random aches and pains
Smoke, drink, or use drugs
Adapted from www.mentalhealth.gov
Where Can I Get Mental Health Help?
You are not alone. Lots of people have been where you are or are there right now. But there are also lots of people who want to help you.
If you're thinking about harming yourself get help immediately. You can call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Another way to get help is by talking to someone you trust. This could be a parent, family member, teacher, school counselor, spiritual leader or another trusted adult, who:
Gives good advice when you want and ask for it
Respects your need for privacy so you can tell him or her anything
Lets you talk freely about your feelings and emotions without judging, teasing, or criticizing
Helps you figure out what to do the next time a difficult situation comes up
Adapted from www.mentalhealth.gov
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Concerned about a friend?
You might not be certain your friend is displaying worrisome signs regarding their mental health. Here are a few signs to look for as a guide:
Impulsive behaviors or being more irritated than usual
Not functioning like their usual selves (i.e., change in habits of how they dress, general appearance, eating or sleep habits)
Talking about feelings of loneliness or despair
Life can be stressful. Take some time to unwind. Your body will thank you. How do you slow yourself down? Check out this article for some great tips to help you relax.