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Overcoming Depression
by Jean LeStourgeon
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Identifying Depression

Depression, like most mental illness runs the continuum of severity. It can be mild or major. It can last from weeks to months. It can involve anxiety symptoms as well. Depression is primarily characterized by sadness and/or loss of pleasure in nearly all activities. Additionally, there may be symptoms such as changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and psychomotor activity (changes in both mental and physical responsiveness and/or activity).

A depressed person may struggle with feelings of low self worth, recurrent thoughts of dying, as well as difficulty concentrating or making decisions. In children and adolescents the mood is often manifested as irritability rather than sadness. Some people may deny having feelings of sadness; instead they may report feeling numb or having no feelings at all.

Taking Action

First, it is important to look at how severely oneís functioning may be impaired. If the personís level of functioning has been significantly impaired, i.e. they are having difficulty performing their daily routine, seek professional help immediately. A trip to the family doctor to rule out any medical conditions that might be causing the mood disorder is a good place to start.

Second, assess whether there have been any significant changes in circumstances, relationships etc. that may be contributing to the depression.

Third, if your loved one indicates they have a plan or intentions to harm themselves, take action immediately to get help. Call a mental health professional that you have been referred to by a reliable source or check your phone book for community mental health services. You can also call 1-800-784-2433 a suicide prevention hotline. If the threat is imminent, call 911.

Donít Wait Ė Get Help

One of the biggest reasons people do not seek help is the shame they feel about having a mental illness. The reality is that our minds are vulnerable to illness just like our bodies. There is no shame in developing the flu or some other medical condition, so why is there with the mind? Those who avoid seeking help because of the shame they feel only languish longer than necessary.

How Counseling Can Help

A counselor can help a person gain perspective about their illness; resolve problems that may be contributing to the depression and assist the person in developing coping skills.

However, in addition to counseling, depending on the severity of the depression, medication may also be a treatment option. You can discuss this with your counselor, who could then refer you to a psychiatrist to prescribe and manage the necessary medication.

Relief is available for difficulties that plague our minds. It is truly the wise that seek out the help, wisdom and counsel of those whom God has equipped to facilitate the healing of the mind.

Jean LeStourgeon, MA, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in private practice in Palm Bay, Florida. She also operates the website Christian Counseling Online where you can find lots more information and tools on topics like Depression Help and Signs of Depression , all from a Biblical perspective.

Copyright 2005 Christian-Counseling-Online.com. You may have permission to use this article electronically or in print as long as all bylines are used and all links remain. The author would appreciate a copy of your publication.

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
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Robin Ulbredtch  25 Oct 2013
At one point in time I tried to take my own life because of several bad circumstances that happened and because I lived with an alcoholic husband. Each night he got drunk, the abuse I received got worse. I live in that depressed state for over six years. I did not realize I had a chemical imbalance that added to my depressed state. God intervened and stopped me from taking my life. That was over 30 years ago, and I am forever greatful that he showed me His great love for me and helped me get through it. I think this article is good and anyone who has depression should seek Godly counsel. At times the only way to get over it is to remove yourself from the source. For those going through difficult circumstances know that these too shall pass. Don't get so focused on the circumstances around you that you forget to look down the road--to the future--and the good things God has for you. Some things that will help temporary depression include listening to praise and worship songs or to encouraging Biblical messages, also going out for a walk, visiting an encouraging friend or speaking with your Pastor about your circumstance. But keep praying and hoping in God because He is the great healer and He will show you the way out of the mud and mire. Great article! Well written and containing good advice. I hope anyone in a state of depression will seek help!


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