By Amanda O’Hearn PhD
What is Depression? People may feel sad when they are depressed, but we need to know how to separate depression from regular sadness. Yes, we all do experience sadness at times and have no energy. If a person experiences that for two weeks or more, then that is when they should go to the doctor and be screened for depression. People may experience feeling sad for no reason, they may have no interest in participating in their favorite activities, they may not feeling like eating or they may eat too much. Some people experience feeling hopeless or useless. There are many symptoms, and not everyone will experience the symptoms of depression in the same way.
Now, some of you may feel scared because you feel you are being punished and don’t understand why you are depressed. Do not worry, depression is one of the most common disorder, almost 20 million Americans have depression. More women get depressed than men. Doctors do not fully know why people are depressed, it may be because of a chemical imbalance in the brain, it may be because of genetics, or it may be because of hormones (for example, women’s hormones change after they go through menopause). It might be because people have a bad childhood, or because they lost a loved one or are going through a divorce. There are many reasons why people get depressed.
How do I get better? The best way to get better is to see a psychologist/counselor. A psychologist is someone you can talk to. Some psychologists can teach you ways to cope with your sadness and help you move on. Your counselor might also suggest you try medications called antidepressants if therapy alone isn’t enough to treat your depression.
If you think you have depression, go and seek help. If you know anybody who has depression, please share with them what you learned about depression and try and help them go and look for help.
Depression Screener – A screening tool that you can use to learn more about depression and what symptoms you are experiencing. Tell you doctor if you are expereincing depression. Treatment is available.
Deaf Wellness Center at the University of Rochester – The University of Rochester has embarked on a depression screening awareness campaign specifically directed to the Deaf Community. Help is available if you suffer from depression. Check local resource directories to find help in your area.
If you live in Western Pennsylvania and you are looking for a counselor or therapist, the following list is a list of local counselors:
Resource Guide of Behavioral Heath Providers brochure
If you live outside of Western Pennsylvania, your local branch of National Alliance of Mentally Ill may provide resources for you, visit their website: nami.org
Another resource may be your State Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Some state offices provide a useful directory of counselors in each state who are Fluent in ASL, culturally competent and who know about issues related to deafness/hearing loss.
This article is originally published on November 3, 2010.