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Caregiving and Depression: National Depression Screening Day

Today is National Depression Screening Day and is a perfect opportunity to continue to increase the awareness of mental health throughout our communities. It is no surprise that with the constant demands of caregiving that many caregivers may experience many of the symptoms of depression.

You may think that admitting you are feeling sad and depressed while caring for a loved one is a sign of weakness, but ignoring or denying yourself of care is not going to make it go away. Many people may not recognize the symptoms, may think what they are feeling is normal or may just not want to admit that they are feeling depressed. And, as a caregiver, you often sacrifice your own needs for your loved on, so it is no surprise that you may push your feelings under the rug.

Everyone feels sadness, anxiety and stress during their life but but when these feelings are persistent and won’t go away, you may be experiencing depression. Depression is a treatable mental health disorder, and it is important to know the common signs and symptoms. Some of the signs include:

–       Changes in sleep patterns
–       Feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness
–       Changes in eating habits and weight
–       Lack of motivation
–       Feeling consistently tired
–       Loss of interest in activities that used to bring you joy
–       Increase in alcohol consumption
–       Trouble focusing
–       Thoughts of death or suicide
–       Neglecting yourself (not working out any more, not caring about your appearance)

Many physical factors can cause depression including nutritional deficiencies, thyroid disease and menopause. If you think you may be experiencing depression, talk to your health care provider. They will talk through it with you and identify next steps to help you feel better. Mental health is a key component of your overall health – don’t ignore your feelings. For a free online screening, visit: http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/hyho.

 

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