Spotting Signs First Step in Overcoming Depression

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More than 20 million Americans are living with depression. It is more than just a bout with the blues.

John Hartnett, ARNP with Stormont-Vail West in Topeka says depression is a very real psychological disorder that will persist for weeks as opposed to a day or two. While thoughts of suicide are an obvious warning sign, others might be more subtle. Hartnett says those include lack of energy, lack of motivation, loss of interest in usual activities, social isolation, disturbance in sleep - either too much or not being able to sleep - or disturbance in appetite - eating more than usual or sudden weight loss.

Many times, family or friends will pick up on the symptoms. The next step is diagnosis. Hartnett says an evaluation will start with a questionnaire asking about things like mood, appetite and energy. A clinician will then follow up with an interview.

What happens next depends on the individual. Hartnett says the first thing is to talk to the person and get to know the events that have shaped their mood, thinking and behavior.

Treatment includes talk therapies, medication or a combination. The medications address the biochemical roots of depression. Harnett says depression stems from a disturbance of the neurotransmitters in the brain. When they aren't in proper balance, a person can become depressed.

No matter the course of action, Hartnett says the important thing is to get help. He says without treatment, people don't maximize their potential and miss out on a lot.

Free Depression Screenings
Noon to 5 pm
Friday, Oct. 10th
Valeo Behavioral Health
330 Oakley, 2nd Floor
(adolescents encouraged to come between 3 and 5 pm)
Sponsored by Valeo and Stormont-Vail West