Understanding Depression & How to Get Help

Everyone occasionally feels sad, but these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with your daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you.

Depression is a common but serious illness. Still, many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.

Below you will find info and tips from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Signs and Symptoms

Sadness is only a small part of depression. Some people with depression may not feel sadness at all. Depression has many other symptoms, including physical ones. If you have been experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms for at least two weeks, you may be impacted by depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms

Factors That Play a Role in Depression

Many factors may play a role in depression, including genetics, brain biology and chemistry. Other factors include life events such as trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, an early childhood experience, or any stressful situation.

Depression can happen at any age but often begins in the teens or early 20s or 30s. Most chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety in children. In fact, high levels of anxiety as a child could mean a higher risk of depression as an adult.

Depression can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Depression can make these conditions worse and vice versa. Sometimes medications taken for these illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression. A doctor experienced in treating these complicated illnesses can help work out the best treatment strategy.

Research on depression is ongoing, and one day these discoveries may lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

Depression Support Groups

You are not alone.

Sometimes living with depression can seem overwhelming, so build a support system for yourself. Your family and friends are a great place to start. Talk to trusted family members or friends to help them understand how you are feeling and that you are following your doctor’s recommendations to treat your depression.

In addition to your treatment, you could also join a support group, like the free Depression Management support groups we offer in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. These are not psychotherapy groups, but some may find the added support helpful. At the meetings, people share experiences, feelings, information, and coping strategies for living with depression.

Each of our support groups is led by a mental health professional, but the real power of our groups is getting the chance to interact with other people impacted by mental illness or similar situations. The group members have been there, and they can offer you advice that may open doors that you thought to be long shut and locked.

Our Depression Management Support Groups

Tulsa: Our Depression Management Support Group meets in Tulsa on the first and third Thursday of each month at 6 pm at our main office located at 1870 South Boulder Avenue, across the street from Veterans Park. You may park behind the building and enter through the back door. For more information, call 918.585.1213 or email

Oklahoma City: Our Depression Management Support Group in Oklahoma City meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:15 pm at 400 North Walker Avenue, Suite 190. For more information, call 405.943.3700 or email

Call Us For Help!

Seeking depression programs, counseling, support groups, and other services require navigating a complex network of community resources. We can help!

Our free Community Referral Line provides you with one-on-one customer service to help find the best referral for depression management options for you or a family member.

We’re here to work with you to help navigate through the mental health system!

Call our free Community Referral Line at 918.585.1213 or 405.943.3700. We are available Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5 pm. You may also email us at

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