Four Simple Ways to Find Help for This Dreary Disorder

  • Are you experiencing “high functioning” symptoms of this disorder? Find out today…
  • Four risk factors you shouldn’t ignore. Learn more…
  • Plus, four easy tips to get the help you need without the hassle.

Dear Living Well Daily Reader,

“It’s like that feeling you get on the last day of summer when you’re a kid. You’re just sad enough to know you’re not happy… And just anxious enough that you can’t sleep… And you’re never quite comfortable… Except it doesn’t go away…”

This is what a patient said to me while I was working on a psychiatric unit a few years back.

The patient — we will call her Kathleen — was 47 and the CEO of a marketing group. By most standards, she was considered a very successful woman. She had a great career, a home in an affluent neighborhood, two kids, and a husband who was a dentist.

In fact, she had the kind of life that other folks may envy.

But Kathleen didn’t see it this way.

For the four years leading up to her admission to the psychiatric unit, she had been experiencing feelings of anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, and general discontent with her life. She also had been battling insomnia, fatigue, and agitation.

Yet she was still going to work every day, paying her bills, and taking care of her family.

You see, Kathleen seemed to be suffering from what some mental health professionals see as a “high functioning” form of depression.

This means that even though you can navigate your way through daily tasks and functions, you’re still experiencing feelings of misery, helplessness, and emptiness.

Actually, Kathleen went undiagnosed for many years because she didn’t recognize she was suffering from depression.

It wasn’t until she was admitted to the hospital for an infection that her doctor recognized she was depressed.

She told me, “I thought I was just a sad person. Since I was able to maintain a normal semblance of life, I figured this was just a normal way for a busy adult to feel — sad, overwhelmed, and anxious.”

However, after talking to a mental health professional, she began to realize her feelings were symptoms of depression.

We will share some tips on how to find a mental health professional in just a moment. First, let’s take a look at some numbers, risk factors, and symptoms…

--A Growing Epidemic

The World Health Organization estimates that 350 million people suffer from depression.1 However, it’s likely there are more people experiencing depression but not reporting it.

In 2014, the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that here in the U.S., 15.7 million adults suffered from at least one major depressive episode.2

And it seems that this number is growing…

In fact, depression is so widespread that according to the CDC, major depression is expected to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020 — taking a back seat only to heart disease.3

OK, so now that we know depression is a serious and common condition, let’s talk about some of its risk factors and symptoms.

Some risk factors may increase your chances of experiencing depression. These include:

  • Family history of depression
  • Certain chronic illnesses and medications
  • Major life changes and stress — moving, changing jobs, relationship status changes
  • Trauma — deaths, accidents, loss.

Depression symptoms include:

  • Prolonged feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Unable to find pleasure in activities or interactions
  • Sleep disturbances — oversleeping, early-morning awakening, or restlessness
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Weight and appetite changes
  • Chronic physical symptoms
  • Inability to complete activities of daily living
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Suicide attempts.

As with most diseases, not everyone will experience all symptoms. Some will experience just a few, while others may experience many. Also, symptoms and severity can change over time. It’s important to remember that symptoms may change depending on the phase of depression. For depression to be diagnosed, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.5

Even in the depths of these symptoms, some folks are able to maintain a functional life — like Kathleen. So it’s important to check in with your feelings and with others to get a good gauge on how you’re doing.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek professional help. Here are a few tips to get you started…

--Call or Click

To find a mental health professional, contact your insurance provider.

You can usually find a mental health benefits number on the back of your insurance card. It may read “MH/SA” before the number. An insurance professional will be able to link you with an approved provider. If you prefer to skip the human element, you can always search your insurance’s website for mental health information.

If you are uninsured or don’t have mental health benefits, most health departments can give you a mental health referral. You may call or simply show up and ask for mental health information. Click here to find a public health department near you.

But perhaps the easiest way to get in touch with a mental health provider is to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline. They offer free and confidential help for people or families facing mental health and substance abuse issues. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offer information in both English and Spanish.

You can call the helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or 1-800-487-4889 (TDD). Click here to check out their website.

If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It’s available 24 hours every day. Click here to check out their website.

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily

P.S. Would you like Living Well Daily to include more mental health content? If so, submit your ideas or questions to nmoore@lfb.org.


Sources

[1] Depression

[2] Major Depression Among Adults

[3] Mental Health Basics

[4] The Vital Link Between Chronic Disease and Depressive Disorders

[5] Depression

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

View More Free Articles

The Hidden Heart Danger LURKING in Your Gut?

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is no walk in the park. The cramping, the urgency, the endless trips to the bathroom—it’s a daily struggle that can leave you exhausted and frustrated. And here’s the kicker: sometimes, IBD’s vague symptoms can lead to misdiagnosis or even NO diagnosis at all....

Read This

Has the Key to Unlocking Better MS Treatments Been Found?

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Imagine waking up one morning and feeling a strange tingling in your fingers. You brush it off, thinking it’s just a pinched nerve. But then, your vision starts to blur, and your balance is thrown off. Suddenly, you’re faced with a terrifying reality: you have multiple sclerosis (MS). For the...

Read This

6 Secret Ways to Spot HIDDEN Processed Foods

“Avoid eating processed foods,”—If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. The reason why is simple. These Frankenfoods are designed to satisfy your taste buds. But they leave your body full of foreign chemicals that can cause harm and in need of more nutrients. But a patient asked me the other day,...

Read This

8 Red Flags There’s a Heart Attack in YOUR Future

Humor me and count to 40. Done? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the United States just had a heart attack. That adds up to around 805,000 people a year. Many of those were a “silent” heart attack, with the victim having no clue it even happened—and they go...

Read This

Mailbag! Neuropathy Pain? Ease Tingling in Hands and Feet

“I’m diabetic and have burning, tingling pain in my feet. My doctor says it is peripheral neuropathy, and there aren’t any cures. But do you have any tips to help me deal with it?” —Hank Hi Hank, Uncontrolled blood sugar can trigger nerve pain called peripheral neuropathy. This condition causes pain and numbness, usually in...

Read This

5 Often Overlooked Diabetes Red Flags

Some of the worst diseases we face are also the stealthiest. They silently sneak up with few signs that they’re harming us from the inside. Well, that is until it’s too late, and they’re well-established. Osteoporosis and hypertension are on that list. And so is type 2 diabetes. In fact, scientists estimate that around 25...

Read This

ALERT: CGMs Can Give Inaccurate Glucose Readings

Keeping your blood sugar in check is critical for a longer, healthier life. It used to be if you wanted to watch your blood sugar for hours at a time, you’d have to go to a lab and be hooked up to an expensive, complicated machine. But now, anyone can get a continuous glucose monitor...

Read This

“Eat the Rainbow” Trick Drives Down Cancer Risk

If I were to ask you, “What’s the color of good health?” what would you say? Maybe it’s green or blue, the “colors of nature.” Or rosy pink cheeks may come to mind. Well, it turns out the “colors of the rainbow” might be the best answer. Research suggests the key to a long, healthy...

Read This

Unexpected Danger LURKS in Your Drinking Glass

I’ve said it so often I’m in danger of sounding like a broken record. (For those folks old enough to remember them.) But this habit is such a threat to your health it’s STILL worth the risk. One of the WORST things you can swallow is sweetened beverages—made with natural and fake sugars. They’ve already...

Read This

Are Fitness Watches WORTH the Expense?

I wear a fitness tracker. A patient pointed to it the other day and asked me if it was worth the expense. It caught me off guard at first. But then I explained, “It depends…” I personally enjoy wearing a fitness tracker because I like tracking my exercise. And it helps keep me motivated. These...

Read This