Health Tips

Understanding and Treating Depression

News of comedian Robin Williams’ suicide and long-term battle with depression sent shockwaves around the world. While the loss of such a beloved personality is tragic, his death has served to educate millions about a condition many suffer from in silence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 10 adults in the United States has depression. The most common of mental disorders, depression is far more than just feeling sad. People with this illness may experience a lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities; significant changes in weight; insomnia or excessive sleeping; lack of energy; inability to concentrate; feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt; and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Depression can stem from a number of causes—including life and medical events like divorce, death, abuse, medications, chronic health conditions and genetics. So it’s important to have a conversation with your physician to determine the best course of action. There also are other considerations when battling this medical condition.

Studies clearly show depression impairs both physical and mental health.  But depression is very treatable so seek help earlier rather than later.  Most primary care doctors are comfortable at least initiating treatment and can refer patients to specialists if necessary.  In addition:

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or issues of self-worth, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number at 1-800-273-8255. The call is free and confidential.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Schedule an appointment online today.

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