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Is It Caregiver Stress or Depression?

(continued)

When Should I Get Professional Help About my Mental Health?

Seek professional help if you experience one or more of the following:

  • Symptoms of depression that last more than two weeks.
  • A noticeable decline in work or school performance.
  • Excess anxiety.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Inability to cope with demands of daily life.
  • Irrational fears.
  • Obsessive preoccupation with food and fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body weight.
  • Significant change in sleeping or eating habits.
  • Persistent physical ailments and complaints.
  • Suicidal thoughts or urge to hurt others.
  • Self-mutilation, self-destructive, or dangerous behavior.
  • Sustained withdrawn mood or behavior.

Preventing Depression

There are a few practical steps you can take to prevent depression. Being physically fit and eating a balanced diet are ways to help avoid illnesses that can bring on disability or depression. By following your doctor's directions about using medications, you may lower the risk of depression as a drug side effect. It also is important to seek help when you first begin to feel overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities or notice any changes in your health, thinking, or behavior.

 

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on December 10, 2012
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