Living with depression is hard. You might feel sad, distracted, angry or exhausted for no reason. You may withdraw from people you care about. You may be unable to enjoy things you once loved to do. You might feel like life is pointless and not worth living. Call 911 right away if you have thoughts of death or suicide.
It is not easy to reach out when you feel hopeless. But you owe it to yourself to do so. Seeking help is the first step in ending depression.
How can I get help?
Your family doctor may be the best place to start. Depression symptoms can be similar to those of other medical problems or conditions and vice versa. A physical exam and possibly lab work can rule out other causes. If your doctor thinks you have depression, he or she may prescribe an antidepressant medication. Or you may be referred to a mental health expert for talk therapy or other treatment. Most research has shown that a combination of medications and talk therapy is most helpful.
You may also find a mental health professional through:
- Your health insurance company. You can request a list of providers in your network. Also, find out what services are covered.
- An employee assistance program (EAP). These services are usually free and confidential.
- Professional or advocacy associations. Search the Internet for groups such as the American Psychological Association and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. They often provide searchable listings of their members or affiliates.
- The mental health division of your local health department. You may have to meet certain criteria to get these services. Find contact information and other resources on county and state government websites.
- Your spiritual adviser. Some clergy members are trained counselors. Others may help you find support.
- Family and friends. You might want to see the same person someone close to you sees. Or the therapist may suggest someone else for you to see.
- Your doctor. He or she usually knows the therapists in the area and who would be the best fit for you.
Emily King contributed to this report.
Created on 06/08/1999
Updated on 11/06/2012
- National Institutes for Mental Health. Finding help for mental illness.
- Helpguide.org. Depression treatment.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Depression.