*MilitaryCafe.org does not provide medical counseling services for issues such as substance abuse, suicide prevention, or posttraumatic stress disorder. The article provided below is for informational purposes only.
Life has its ups and downs. We all go through times when we may feel a little overwhelmed or stressed because of deployments, relocations, or just because of the everyday demands of life. But clinical depression is another issue altogether. Depression can be very serious, but it is treatable if you get the support and resources you need. The following tips will help you recognize depression and find ways to get help.
Symptoms of depression
- Persistent sadness or anxiety – this includes feelings of irritability, panic, or restlessness and episodes of crying or tearfulness.
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, or helplessness – this includes feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt.
- Not wanting to leave the house – when you are experiencing depression, you may start to withdraw from friends and family.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in life – this can include a loss of interest in sex or other activities that were once pleasurable.
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns – depression can lead to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleeping too much. It can also cause sudden weight loss or gain.
- Decreased energy – when depression hits, you may have a lack of energy or motivation.
- Difficulty concentrating – this includes memory loss and difficulty making decisions.
- Persistent physical symptoms – physical symptoms can include headaches, digestive disorders, or back pain.
- Alcohol or substance abuse – this may include a significant increase in the amount of alcohol you are consuming on a regular basis.
- Thoughts of death or suicide – Contact a health care professional immediately if there are thoughts or talk of suicide. You can also contact the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.
Ways to find helpMilitary support programs offer service members and their families confidential, non-medical counseling designed to address issues such as relationships, stress management, adjustment (returning from deployment, for example), and grief and loss. However, non-medical counseling is not appropriate for depression and other serious mental health issues.
If you believe that you or someone you know may be experiencing depression, you can find the support and resources you need through the local military treatment facility, TRICARE, or through a medical counseling provider in your civilian community. Your primary care provider should be able to give you a referral for medical counseling services near your home.