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Depression: A Better Understanding of Symptoms and Treatment Options

At times, most of us feel sad, lonely, or depressed.  It's a normal reaction to loss, life's struggles, or injured self-esteem. However, when these feelings become overwhelming, cause physical symptoms, and last for long periods of time, they can keep you from leading a normal, active life.  That's when it's time to seek medical help.

Your primary care physician is a good place to start. Broderman Internal Medicine Associates can test you for depression and help manage your symptoms. If your depression goes untreated, it may get worse and last for months, even years. It can cause pain and possibly lead to suicide, as it does for about 1 of every 10 people with depression.

Recognizing the symptoms is key. Unfortunately, about half the people who have depression never get it diagnosed or treated.

Symptoms may include:

  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Pessimism and hopelessness
  • Fatigue, insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating, or appetite loss or digestive problems that don't get better, even with treatment
  • Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won't go away
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Diagnosis: Questions your health care provider may ask:

  • When did your symptoms start, how long they've lasted and how severe they are
  • Does depression or other mental illnesses run in your family
  • Do you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Have you had re-occurring symptoms and how were they previously treated

Treatment:

If we rule out a physical cause for your symptoms, we may start you on a treatment or refer you to a mental health professional. This specialist will figure out the best course of treatment. That may include medicines (such as antidepressants), a type of therapy called psychotherapy or both.

Depression carries a high risk of suicide and warning signs include:

  • A sudden switch from sadness to extreme calmness, or appearing to be happy
  • Always talking or thinking about death
  • Clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping/eating) that gets worse
  • Taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving through red lights
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Putting affairs in order, like tying up loose ends or changing a will
  • Saying things like "It would be better if I weren't here" or "I want out" or talking about suicide
  • Visiting or calling close friends and loved ones

Please call the office at (215)-794-2462 to schedule an appointment

Or if in a crisis, text HELLO to 741741 and speak anonymously to a Crisis Counselor