10 Ways to Help When Your Child is Depressed

Image: Calm Morning by Frank Weston Benson

Calm Morning by Frank Weston Benson

Being a parent is rewarding, but tough. One of the hardest things to deal with is your child’s pain. If your child is depressed, you probably are scared and feel helpless. There are some ways in which you can help your child, though.

1. Recognize that clinical depression is a disease.

Internalizing this fact will help your child in two ways. One, it will hopefully keep you from blaming yourself or your child. This is no one’s fault. Second, if you think of depression as a disease instead of a choice your child is making, you won’t say anything thoughtless like, “Why don’t you just pull yourself together,” or “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

2. Don’t freak out.

This will definitely not help your child. Clinical depression can be successfully treated more than 80% of the time. As long as your child has a good doctor and supportive parents, he or she has a very good chance of recovering. Notice that last part – while everyone with depression really needs a good doctor, supportive parents are absolutely critical for a child with depression. Continue reading

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Keeping Your Senses Alive When You’re Depressed

When you’re clinically depressed, you may lose touch with a lot of things. Your relationships, the feeling of being present in the world that most people take for granted, and even your sense of self. Losing touch with your senses is is an almost universal experience among people with depression.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can keep your senses alive. Below is a less than exhaustive list of possible ways to keep in touch with your senses, and all of them can be done from home (with a little shopping). Continue reading

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alt.support.depression FAQ Part 1 of 5

alt.support.depression FAQ

Here you will find the FAQ from the alt.support.depression newsgroup. I have made no changes other than formatting. As you can see, the FAQ has not been updated since 1994, therefore some of the information, especially regarding antidepressants available, is somewhat out of date. However, this does not greatly diminish its usefulness.

Archive-name: alt-support-depression/faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: bi-weekly
Last-modified: 1994/08/07
alt.support.depression FAQ
==========================
Introduction
————

Alt.support.depression is a newsgroup for people who suffer from all forms of depression as well as others who may want to learn more about these disorders. Much the information shared in this newsgroup comes from posters’ experience as well as contributions by professionals in many fields. The thoughts expressed here are for the benefit of the readers of this group. Please be considerate in the way you use the information from this group, keeping in mind the stigma of depression still experienced in society today.

The following Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ) attempts to impart an understanding of depression including its causes; its symptoms; its medication and treatments–including professional treatments as well as things you can do to help yourself. In addition, information on where to get help, books to read, a list of famous people who suffer from depression, internet resources, instructions for posting anonymously, and a list of the many contributors is included. Continue reading

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alt.support.depression FAQ Part 2 of 5

Image: The Sorceress by John William Waterhouse Part 2 of 5
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**Causes** (cont.)
– What initiates the alteration in brain chemistry?
– Is a tendency to depression inherited?

**Treatment**
– What sorts of psychotherapy are effective for depression?

**Medication**
– Do certain drugs work best with certain depressive illnesses? What are the guidelines for choosing a drug?
– How do you tell when a treatment is not working? How do you know when to switch treatments?
– How do antidepressants relieve depression?
– Are Antidepressants just “happy pills?”
– What percentage of depressed people will respond to antidepressants?
– What does it feel like to respond to an antidepressant? Will I feel euphoric if my depression responds to an antidepressant?
– What are the major categories of anti-depressants?
– What are the side-effects of some of the commonly used antidepressants?
– What are some techniques that can be used by people taking antidepressants to make side effects more tolerable?
– Many antidepressants seem to have sexual side effects. Can anything be done about those side-effects?
– What should I do if my antidepressant does not work?

Causes (cont.)
————–

Q. What initiates the alteration in brain chemistry?

It can be either a psychological or a physical event. On the physical  side, a hormonal change may provide the initial trigger: some women dip into depression briefly each month during their premenstrual phase; some find that the hormone balance created by oral contraceptives disposes them to depression; pregnancy, the end of pregnancy, and menopause have also been cited. Men’s hormone levels fluctuate as deeply but less obviously.

It is well known that certain chronic illnesses have depression as a frequent consequence: some forms of heart disease, for example, and Parkinsonism. This seems to be the result of a chemical effect rather than a purely psychological one, since other, equally traumatic and serious illnesses don’t show the same high risk of depression.
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What to Do (On and Off the Web) While You’re Waiting for Your Antidepressants to Kick In

Image: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

I’ve been there; I’ve done that. I’ve suffered from depression nearly my whole life, and wasn’t diagnosed till I was 27. I know all the stages you go through when you’re waiting those six interminable weeks for your antidepressant meds to start working. So, as my gift to you, since I know your mind might be kind of cloudy if you’re depressed right now, I’ve compiled this list of suggestions. I hope they give you some moments of relief. Just so I’m not accused of discriminating against non-depressives, you all who don’t suffer from depression can feel free to check out my suggestions too. Someone pointed out to me that it takes some people more than six weeks to feel much better. That’s definitely true. Everyone’s different, and some people could even take fewer than six weeks to feel normal again. And the newer antidepressants can take considerably less time than six weeks to be effective. This guide is divided the way it is as just a general guideline. Continue reading

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