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Thinking Differently About Depression

Thinking Differently About Depression

If you think depression is uncommon among adults in our country, you need to think again. It’s time we think, and talk, about depression differently.

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest, and it affects almost 15 million adults in the U.S. every year.

Mild depression is common; it is a normal response to grief, life’s struggles or other difficult life events. But when those sad feelings become overwhelming and physical symptoms appear, it may be time to seek professional attention. Especially if symptoms persist for long periods of time.

It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of major depression because if left untreated, symptoms can last for months or years, or even lead to suicide.

Depression does not look the same in every individual, but there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for. You may be at higher risk for depression if:

  • Depression runs in your family
  • If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition
  • If there has recently been a significant loss in your life

Other symptoms to watch for include:

  • Fatigue or decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Appetite changes; such as not eating or overeating
  • Persistent sad or anxious feelings
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless

Some people may also experience physical symptoms due to depression such as body aches, headaches, cramps and digestive problems.

Just like physical illnesses, depression is completely treatable. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important to seek professional attention as soon as possible.

Here are some local and national resources:

Valley Health Outpatient Behavioral Health Programs

  • Winchester: 540-536-4881
  • Woodstock: 540-459-1505

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

National Institute of Mental Health:

Call 911 or go directly to your local Emergency Department if you or someone you know is feeling unsafe and may pose harm to themselves or others

Stephanie Grubb is the Outreach Coordinator for Valley Health's Outpatient Behavioral Health Programs