Depression poses many dangers, burdening people with hopelessness and raising their risk of suicide. But in attempts to quell the pain, some turn to alcohol, drugs, and other harmful behaviors that endanger them even further, psychologists say.
“There is a strong relationship between depression and high-risk behaviors,” says Pamela Cantor, PhD, a psychologist and lecturer at Harvard Medical School.
“Excessive drinking, drug abuse, unsafe sex, and cutting are all self-injurious behaviors that...
Create a support team. At first you might want to seek out a few people you know you can really rely on. Don't choose only one person, since that can be overwhelming for them.
Talk to all of them about your depression and what you’ve been feeling. Let them know it's fine to check in on you once in a while to make sure you're doing OK. Or they can help with your treatment by reminding you to take your medicine or by driving you to doctor appointments.
Once you've recovered, your team can help you watch for any signs that your depression might be coming back. They should also have a clear idea of what to do if you have an emergency.
Join a support group. Although they mean well, your family and friends may not understand what you've been through. Some may have their own beliefs about depression that can keep them from giving you the support you need.
If that's the case, think about joining a support group. That way you can meet and talk to people who've had the mood disorder. These connections can help you see that you aren't alone.
Ask your doctor or therapist for the names of groups in your area or for some that meet online. Or get in touch with organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
Think about talking to your co-workers. The decision to open up to them or to your boss about your depression is a complicated one. It's your choice. Legally you don’t have to tell them anything you don't want to. But some people with the mood disorder find that telling certain people at work can be a relief.