Acacia Network – 02.20.13 – Depression

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Acacia Network – 02.20.13 – Depression 

Dear Doctor,

I am worried about my father. After many years of hard work, he was let go last year and has not been able to find a job since. We are not suffering deep money problems, although we have had to cut back. But my father feels it is his fault. He never goes bowling anymore, he is often up in the middle of the night, and he’s been like this for almost a year now. My mother and I don’t know how to help him.

-Angel

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Esther Aguirre,Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Dear Angel,

It sounds like your father may be suffering from clinical depression. Although many people feel sad or depressed at times in their lives— particularly in reaction to loss or life’s many struggles— clinical depression is harder to shake and can impair a person’s ability to function in everyday life. When a person is clinically depressed, feelings persist and don’t go away. Symptoms can include: loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities; sadness; change in weight; difficulty sleeping or oversleeping; loss of energy; feelings of worthlessness; and, in the worst cases, thoughts of death or suicide.

But your father isn’t alone! Over 20 million Americans suffer from depression. It is more common among women, often starting in ages 15 -30. Depression is often triggered by stressful events such as divorce, death or job loss, and a person is more likely to become depressed if they have a family history of it. Luckily, clinical depression is a treatable medical condition. Common treatments include antidepressant medications and talk therapy. Occasionally, in severe cases, hospitalization may be needed.

I suggest that you and your mother sit with your father, explain to him how much you care about him and how you’ve noticed that he seems to be feeling down. Tell him he doesn’t have to feel this way. At Acacia Network’s family health centers, we offer comprehensive mental health services and would be happy to help your father figure out the best treatment plan for his depression. Please encourage him to schedule a visit with us soon.

Esther Aguirre

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Acacia Network Mental Health Services

I am worried for my father, I don’t know how to help him.