Concerts! Family! Vacation! Festivals!
What do you do if all these things just don't carry the same excitement for you as they used to and as they do for those around you?
No longer finding enjoyment in things that used to excite you and not feeling like being around those close to you, may be signs of depression. Depression affects millions of Americans and seems to be more common in people with MS. Recognizing the signs of depression is the first step in getting yourself (or your loved one) help. Depression can cause sadness, pessimism (and hopelessness), too much self criticism (feeling like a failure or feelings of worthlessness), loss of pleasure (or interest) in things you used to enjoy, feelings of guilt, feeling like you are being punished, self-dislike, excessive crying, agitation (or irritability), changes in appetite (too much or too little), changes in sleeping pattern, concentration difficulty and loss of interest in sex.
If you or someone you know seem depressed, it is important to ask about suicidal or homicidal ideations as well - do you want or have plans to hurt yourself or others.
The 1980s were great because of the popularization of sushi in America, the end of the cold War and the hits of Michael Jackson and Madonna, it became socially acceptable to have a therapist (and even boast about it). There is nothing embarrassing about recognizing that you need help ... and getting it.
Depression may be treated with psychological counseling, with medications, or best of all - with both.
A lot of people are hesitant to seek counseling, because they are scared of going to a "shrink." Well, just like you go to an orthopedist when you have bone problems, and a rheumatologist when you have joint problems, psychologist and psychiatrists specialize in the medical diagnosis of depression. There should be nothing embarrassing about having depression, just as there is nothing embarrassing about having MS. It is what it is.
Counseling can come in a lot of forms - there are licensed clinical social workers, licensed mental health professionals, psychotherapists and psychologists. If you are hesitant to seek care from one of these professionals, you may want to consider (if you are religious) getting counseling from your pastor (or other religious leader). Often people tell me that they have a friend or family member to talk to and that should be enough, but it is important to realize that, while you friends and family love you, they shouldn't necessarily be pegged into that role of counselor, but rather remain a loved one. An objective, outside counselor is a good idea because he or she can help you maintain a healthy outlook on life, with all its ups and downs.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnoses, such as depression. They are experts in the medications used to treat depression (and other diagnoses, such as bipolar) - including, often, complementary and alternative medications. Sometimes your neurologist or regular primary doctor (GP, family doctor or internist) may want to work together with a psychiatrist to help address and treat depression.
Don't let the joy of summer fool you, take time to recognize the symptoms of depression in you or your loved one.
If you would like advice from other people with MS who have gone through the trials and tribulations of depression, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published On: July 23, 2008