facebook pixel How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal With Depression
Site Search
< Blog Home < Healthy Living

How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal With Depression

Depression affects nine percent of adults in America. Learn now how to recognize it, understand it, and manage it.


The first thing to know about depression is that it’s real. Depression is a mental illness. It’s caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and affects moods, thoughts, and actions. Depression is just as real as other common diseases, including diabetes or cancer.

Recognize depression in yourself or others

Terri Flint, Director of Employee Health Services at Intermountain Healthcare, discussed the common signs of depression. They include:

  • Little interest or pleasure in doing things
  • Feeling sad, depressed, or hopeless
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired or having little energy
  • A poor appetite or overeating
  • Feeling bad about yourself – thinking that you’re a failure or that you’ve let yourself or others down
  • Trouble concentrating on things such as reading the newspaper or watching television
  • Moving or speaking so slowly that other people may notice, or feeling so fidgety or restless that you move around a lot more than usual
  • Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way

The key takeaway from Flint’s article, aside from knowing the symptoms of depression, is that it is treatable and there is hope. Flint addressed available resources to learn more or get help. Read her original blog post here

Understanding depression

Dr. Jared Potter, M.D., practices family medicine at Intermountain Healthcare’s Kaysville Creekside Clinic. Potter described depression in two ways. It can be “A subtle feeling that influences all aspects of our lives or a dramatic feeling that prevents us from enjoying any aspect of our lives at all.”

Potter said, “As physicians, when we discuss depression in the office with patients, we usually describe it as being on a spectrum, with the genetic element on one end, and the situational element on the other end. We are all somewhere in the middle.”

Recognizing the signs of depression can be difficult, especially for adolescents. Potter said the safest course with teenagers is to observe whether the behavioral changes follow a pattern lasting longer than two weeks.

Mood swings are normal for teens and come and go, but if a certain mood or behavior persists, the best plan of action is to avoid unnecessary risks. If a teen is feeling depressed or having trouble communicating what he or she feels, Potter recommends seeing a physician for help.

Depression is more common than people realize, both in adolescents and adults. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nine percent of adults in America suffer from depression, and 3.4 percent meet criteria for major depression.

The important thing to note is that depression is not new, nor is it uncommon. If you suffer from depression, resist any negative self-labels. Millions of others are silently suffering alongside you. Getting help to feel better should be your primary goal.

Taking control and managing depression

When it comes to taking control and managing depression, several things need to happen. It’s about finding a balance. Usually that balance consists of regular exercise, proper sleep patterns, and sometimes—taking medication.

Potter said, “Many people can’t stand the idea of taking a medication for something they feel they should be able to ‘just snap out of.’ If only it really were that easy! We don’t recommend taking pills for every up and down in your mood, but if it is affecting your functioning and it is lasting for more than two weeks, there are great treatments available.”

Not everybody needs it, but when medication is a part of the answer, it’s essential to allow it to help. If you had a broken arm, you’d take pain killers. If you were diabetic, you’d take insulin. If your doctor prescribes medicine for depression, it’s because he or she thinks it can help you. Medication normally takes several weeks to work effectively and can involve some trial and error to find what works for you.

Along with medicine, speaking with a counselor helps many who suffer from depression. Potter said, “It is a good thing to have a professional, emotionally uninvolved person with whom to discuss what is going on and what may be triggering the depression.”

He continued, “It can be very difficult for people to have these discussions with their spouse or loved ones because the loved ones may feel defensive or thoughtlessly dismiss a depressed person’s experiences.”

Read Dr. Potter’s original blog post here.

Mental well-being is an essential part to our overall happiness as members. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, don’t wait to get help.

Life is too short to be bogged down by depression. If you are suffering from depression or begin to recognize the signs, schedule an appointment with your doctor.  

Read other healthy living articles.


SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.


You May Also Like...

Healthcare and Insurance Basics

Preventive Care for Men and Women: Cancer Screenings [Infographic]

Preventive care can help you gauge your current health status and find out ways to protect it now and in the future. Follow these recommendations for getting screened for cancer.

Nutrition and Diet

Black Bean and Corn Salad

This colorful, refreshing salad is jam-packed with nutritious vegetables and black beans, making it the perfect side dish to whatever entrée you’re making.

In the Community

Is Your Organization Keeping Utah Healthy? Apply for Our Award

Each year, we recognize 20 organizations that are making a healthy difference in Utah to help support their missions.


Here’s Why Getting to Know Your Prospective Employer and Employee Is a Critical First Step in the Hiring Process

A few years ago, I unexpectedly landed my dream job. I want to share how it happened with the hopes that others who are searching for the perfect fit could use a similar process.

Contenido Español

Consejos para preparar un depósito de alimentos y qué tener en su despensa

Cocinar en casa no tiene que ser complicado.

Related Articles

Related Articles

Healthy Living

Your Comprehensive Guide to Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is estimated to cause more than 40,000 deaths per year. Educate yourself with the essentials so you’re prepared.

Healthy Living

Tips to Help You Get the Most from Your Produce

Try these four tips to get the most out of your produce.

Healthy Living

Is That Headache a Migraine?

By some estimates, about 12% of Americans experience migraines. Could you be one of them?

Healthy Living

5 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy and Happy

On February 14, hearts are the star of the show. Of course, they don't look anything like the real deal—the hardworking muscle that sets the beat for life every day, all year long.

Post Author

Bobby Macey

Bobby Macey is a marketer and writer by trade. He’s been published nationally and writes on myriad topics—particularly healthy living.