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When to Seek Medical Advice

If you feel sad, helpless, tired or worthless, if your eating and sleeping habits have changed greatly and if you show little interest in once enjoyable activities, see your doctor to determine if depression is the cause. If you know someone who exhibits the characteristics of depression, encourage them to see their doctor.

Diagnosis

To diagnose depression, your doctor may perform a physical examination, including tests to rule out conditions that can cause symptoms that mimic depression.

If your doctor sees signs of severe depression or suspects the possibility of suicide, he or she may refer you to a psychiatrist (a medical doctor who specializes in mental illness) or even recommend immediate hospitalization.

Your doctor or psychiatrist diagnoses depression based on the hallmark signs and symptoms of the disease, plus the presence of other signs and symptoms that typically accompany depression.

Complications

Depression is a serious illness that can take a terrible toll on individuals and families.

Untreated, depression can lead to a downward spiral of disability, dependency and suicide.

Up to 70 percent of people who commit suicide may have some form of depression.

As many as one in eight teens may have depression. The suicide rate for young adults ages 15 to 24 has risen in recent years.

Among older people, depression often is overlooked and therefore untreated. This may explain why the suicide rate for older people is more than 50 percent higher than for the general population.

Certain warning signs may indicate serious depression and the possibility of suicide. Take any threat of suicide seriously, even if the person is already being treated for depression. If you see any of the following danger signs, call a doctor, mental health clinic or suicide hot line immediately:

Pacing, agitated behavior, frequent mood changes and sleeplessness for several nights
Actions or threats of assault, physical harm or violence
Threats or talk of death or suicide, such as "I don't care anymore," or "You won't need to worry about me much longer"
Withdrawal from activities and relationships
Putting affairs in order, such as saying goodbye to friends, giving away prized possessions or writing a will
A sudden brightening of mood after a period of being depressed
Unusually risky behavior, such as buying or handling a gun or driving recklessly


If you are feeling suicidal click HERE for a suicide hotline.

OR

Check the FRONT of the phone book for:

suicide prevention
crisis intervention
hotlines - crisis or suicide
community crisis center
county mental health center
hospital mental health clinic
Call 911 and ask for help.


Tell them you are in suicidal danger.

If depressive illnesses are left untreated, they can be fatal. Approximately 30,000 people kill themselves in the United States each year. Because of inaccurate reporting (such as recording a suicide as an accident), researchers suggest that the actual figure may be three times higher than this, meaning that in reality almost 10,000 people die each year from suicide. Anytime you seriously entertain the thought "I would be better off dead" or "My life is worthless and my family might be in better shape collecting my life insurance," you should pick up the phone and get help.

Depressive illnesses can distory a person's thinking, so that they don't think clearly or rationally. They may not think that they can't be helped. Their illness can cause thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness, which may then lead to suicidal thoughts. In order to save lives, it is critical that society recognizes the warning signs of these biological diseases that cause suicide. But stigma associated with these illnesses often prevents public education and early treatment for sufferers. The topic of suicides has always been taboo. It is a subject that is misunderstood by most people, thereby allowing myths to be perpetuated.

THE STIGMA SOCIETY HAS TOWARDS DEPRESSION MUST BE STOPPED!!

The following information was drawn from the Council on Youth Suicide Prevention, Suicide and the School, by Mckee, Jones, and Barbe, Crisis Intervention: Using Active Listening Skills in Negotiations by Noesner and Webster, and a decade of intervention experience in Student Assistance crisis work.

General Information:

Each year 5,000 teenagers and young adults kill themselves.

Teen suicides have increased since the 1950s.

The suicide rate for 15-19 year olds was higher than it had ever been approaching the 1990s.

By the year 2000, if trends continue, 2 million 15-24 year-olds will attempt suicide in the decade.

Frequently, case workers find that suicidal youths did not intend to die from their attempted suicide.