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What is Depression?

More than 1 in 10 Australians will experience an episode of depression in their lifetime.

What is depression? Depression can be sadness that doesn’t go away, a loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy, or a range of other changes in the way you feel, think or act that lasts more than 2 weeks. Common depression symptoms are

· Low mood/loss of interest in things you used to enjoy

· Change in your weight or appetite

· Change in sleep, either sleeping more or not enough

· Feeling restless or slowed down

· loss of energy

· Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

· Problems concentrating or making decisions

· Thoughts of death or suicide

What can you do?

There are many ways you can help yourself to recover from depression and get your life back on track. Be realistic in planning your lifestyle changes — start small. Find a type of exercise you enjoy, as you will be more likely to do it regularly.

A walk around the block once or twice a week may be enough to get started with an exercise program.

Make it something you know you can do. Schedule time in your week for activities you enjoy. It is especially helpful to reconnect with people and get support from others. Get together with friends each week or continue with a hobby you used to enjoy. Follow a healthy eating plan as it is important for maintaining good general health. Eat regular meals and try to eat more wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seed

Recover faster with treatment.

There are effective treatments for depression, but there is no single treatment that is right for everybody. It’s important to find a treatment that works for you, and this may take some trial and error. The two main treatments are psychological therapies (eg, cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal therapy) and antidepressant medicines. The decision to take an antidepressant, undertake psychological treatment, combine both approaches or use other management strategies, is very individual. Talk to your health professional about what you think will work best for you

There are many types of psychological treatments and these can help change the way you think about and react to situations and relationships. The treatment may involve face-to-face counselling or be accessed through the phone or internet. Antidepressants help reduce symptoms of depression by changing the levels of certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that influence your mood.

There are many organisations that provide help and support for people with depression and for their families. Ask a Doctor or a pharmacist, call Lifeline 131 114 or Beyond Blue 1300224636.

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