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How can I get help for my depression?

James Smith
James Smith on behalf of MDLIVE
Psychology
Your family doctor can prescribe medication for depression.  You can also go to a psychiatrist if you are looking for a medication to help with depression.
Medication in combination with counseling is considered to be an effective treatment for depression.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy are considered excellent approaches to treating depression. 
A very good way to find a therapist or counselor that uses these approaches is to search the internet using the following terms: "counseling (your city)," or "therapy (your city)," or "cognitive behavioral therapy (your city.)  For example, if you live in Des Moines, Iowa, you would type [counseling des moines] in the search field.
If you do an internet search, you will have many search results.  You will be able to find a counselor/therapist who will meet your needs.

If you feel depression is a concern, see a qualified mental health specialist. Studies show that up to 85 percent of patients will find relief through treatment with antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, or with electroshock therapy. Again, if you are having suicidal thoughts, take these seriously and seek professional help.

Keep in mind that alcohol and drugs cannot combat depression. While the medication your doctor prescribes is specially formulated to balance your body’s chemicals, alcohol and other drugs may worsen your situation. Make sure that you only use medication prescribed by your physician.

Exercise is a great cure for easing mild depression. Determine what you can do physically and start a program. Physical activities can increase mental alertness and increase the endorphins (the body’s natural opiates), which will give you a calming, contented feeling. Be sure to stick to a routine each day. Staying in bed all day unless advised by your doctor cannot help you alleviate the depressive feelings. Also, consider reaching out to others to get out of your own problems. This may help reduce feelings and actions such as brooding, moping, or too much self-introspection.

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Below are some people and places that can help you get treatment.
  • Family doctor
  • Counselors or social workers
  • Family service, social service agencies, or clergy person
  • Employee assistance programs (EAP)
  • Psychologists and psychiatrists
If you are unsure where to go for help, check the Yellow Pages under "mental health," "health," "social services," "suicide prevention," "crisis intervention services," "hotlines," "hospitals," or "physicians" for phone numbers and addresses.
This answer is based on source information from National Women's Health Information Center.
You can seek help for depression from the following sources:
  • primary healthcare practitioners
  • psychiatrists in private practice
  • psychologists in private practice
  • therapists and other mental health specialists
  • employee assistance programs (EAPs) at your worksite
  • health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
  • community mental health centers
  • hospital-based departments of psychiatry
  • outpatient psychiatric clinics
  • university- or medical school-affiliated mental health programs
  • state hospital outpatient clinics
  • family services or social services agencies
  • private clinics and facilities

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.