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Get Help for Depression and Anxiety

Depression is a true and treatable medical condition. Most people get better with treatment. Try not to let hopelessness or shame stop you or a friend from getting medical help. Take action.
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Many Americans suffer from mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. Studies show these health problems and illnesses affect about 1 in 5 Americans. A tough situation such as a natural disaster, the loss of a loved one, or financial distress can trigger or increase depression and anxiety.

Do You Know the Signs?
Someone who is depressed has feelings of sadness or anxiety that last for weeks at a time. He or she may also experience:

Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness

Irritability, restlessness

Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
Fatigue and decreased energy

Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Overeating, or appetite loss

Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment

Effective Treatment Exists
People who suffer from depression or anxiety should seek help as early as possible. Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, many never seek treatment. New research suggests that racial minorities and people with less than a high school education may be less likely to be diagnosed for depression. It is often difficult for depressed or anxious people to believe that things can get better. Try not to let hopelessness or shame stop you or a friend from getting medical help. Take action.

Where to Find Help
If you or someone you care about is in crisis, please seek help immediately.

Call 911
Visit a nearby emergency department or your health care provider's office
Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor

Improving mental health is part of CDC's overall public health mission. For more research on depression, anxiety, and other chronic conditions, read the January 2009 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease. Articles in this issue include:

Self-Rated Depression and Physician-Diagnosed Depression and Anxiety in Florida Adults: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2006

Patterns of Clinically Significant Symptoms of Depression Among Heavy Users of Alcohol and Cigarettes

More Information

CDC's Mental Health Work Group
Depression, National Institute of Mental Health