A normal case of the “blues” differs from the diagnosis known as major depressive disorder, or major depression. Depression is a common diagnosis that affects children and adults, and it can have a significant negative impact on a person’s life and relationships.
- Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
- Loss of interest in activities once previously enjoyed
- Excessive crying
- Increased restlessness and irritability
- Decreased ability to concentrate and make decisions
- Decreased energy
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts (if you experience these, see your doctor as soon as possible or seek emergency care right away)
- Excessive guilt, feelings of helplessness, or hopelessness
- Changes in appetite or weight (either weight gain or weight loss)
- Insomnia or increased need to sleep
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Physical symptoms that aren’t improved by standard treatment (for example, stomach aches or headaches), which is common in children
If you are experiencing several of these symptoms for two or more weeks, talk to your doctor or behavioral health specialist to be evaluated and discuss treatment options. If you have thoughts of suicide, please call your doctor immediately.
For major depression, treatment is usually based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent and severity of your symptoms
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Your family history of behavioral health diagnoses and treatment response
Common treatments for major depression include:
- Psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral treatment and interpersonal psychotherapy
- Antidepressant medication
- Family therapy
If you are considering taking antidepressant medication, keep the following in mind:
- Be prepared to work with your prescriber to find the medication that works for you. Keep in mind that finding the right medication may take several tries.
- Anticipate the possibility that your antidepressant medication may take up to six months to help your depression go into remission.
- Always talk to your doctor if you are having side effects, or if you would like to stop taking your medications.
You can also make lifestyle changes that can help treat your depression, such as:
- Exercise, including aerobic exercise, yoga, and meditation
- Maintain a balanced and healthy diet
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule that includes at least eight hours per night
- Socialize and build a support system
For more information, check out these resources on ahealthyme:
Talk to your doctor or behavioral health provider if you have any questions about depression. If you have questions about your coverage, please call the Member Service number on the front of your Blue Cross ID card