Living with a chronic illness like depression can feel overwhelming at times. That's why it's important to seek depression support to help manage your mood and enjoy your life to the fullest. Whether from your spouse, your therapist, or a depression support group, there are plenty of caring contacts available to give you much-needed support.
With the help of your depression support team, you can stay on top of your depression symptoms.
Antidepressants, especially when combined with talk therapy, generally help people recover from depression. Symptoms begin to improve within weeks for the majority of people taking antidepressants. And people who take antidepressants long-term -- up to 36 months -- have a relapse rate of only 18% compared to 40% for those who do not.
But if they work so well, why do so many people stop taking antidepressants within a few weeks of starting them? Or skip doses when they start to feel better?
Although you cannot control the fact that you have depression, you can seek a depression support system for yourself. Getting family help with depression is a great place to start. Talk openly with people close to you -- family members, friends, and co-workers -- to help them understand your treatment and that you're doing all you can to follow your doctor's recommendations.
Also, you can find support for depression through religious organizations in your community, whether from the pastor, rabbi, or other religious leader, small groups, or caring individuals within the organizations.
What Is a Depression Support Group?
Depression support groups such as those sponsored by Mental Health America (MHA) and/or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) are geared toward meeting the needs of those with depression. While depression support groups are not psychotherapy groups, they can provide you with a safe and accepting place to vent your frustrations and fears and receive comfort and encouragement from others.
In a depression support group, members often share coping suggestions that others find useful. This helps give you the assurance that "someone else knows what I am going through," as people share their struggles living with various types of depression. This camaraderie is vital in order to begin the healing process.
After joining a depression support group, you may realize that the best experts on depression are often those who live with it daily. (Always check with your doctor before taking a new "suggested" remedy, including over-the-counter dietary supplements. Even natural remedies have side effects and may interact with medications.)
How Do I Find an Online Depression Support Group?
Online depression support groups, such as WebMD's Depression Support Group, can provide you with encouragement from others -- even people you don't know. Online depression support groups can help you realize that you are not alone in dealing with the feelings of depression. This added support can give you new confidence as you learn to manage the illness and handle the daily challenges in a reasonable manner.