Fighting Depression in Cyberspace
by Yvona Fast
Life-altering mental health information
may be just a click away
Short-term pick-me-ups are wonderful if you're having "just a bad day." But if you keep coming back to the same dark place, you may need to address the root of the problem. lf rest, prayer, and exercise don't seem to offer all the help you need, it may be time to seek more in-depth information or even professional guidance.
While almost everyone struggles with periodic blue moods, more than 19 million American adults suffer with clinical depression each year. Only a third of these receive treatment through medication or therapy.
Medication helps many, but not all. In a recent study, Dr. John S. March, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University, found that only 61 percent of patients adults or teens benefit from antidepressants such as Prozac.
If you find yourself fighting a losing battle with your inner demons, it may be time to seek the services of a capable Christian psychiatrist who can prescribe the right combination of medicine and monitor its use. A trusted Christian psychologist or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) may also be of assistance. For an easy-to-understand guide to psychiatric medications, their benefits and side effects, go to: www.aboutourkids.org/articles/guideto psychmeds.html.
The Internet offers abundant information about depression. This National Institute of Mental Health article provides a good overview of the subject at: www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/depression.cfm. Follow the links in the blue area on the right for more specific information. Also check out their depression page at: www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/depressionmenu.cfm.
Another good site is Medline Plus: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/depression.html. This tax funded institute can also be reached by phone at: 1-800-647-2642.
The National Mental Health Association, www.nmha.org, also contains excellent resources on depression, such as this article to help you clarify the difference between clinical depression and the blues: www.nmha.org/ccd.
Psych Central (www.psychcentral.com) is the mental-health page created by Dr. John Grohol. It's the oldest annotated directory of mental health resources for both professionals and consumers. Here you'll discover 120 resources about depression.
Depression Central (www.psycom.net/depression.central.html) is another great clearinghouse for information, links, and resources about depressive disorders maintained by Dr. Ivan Goldberg.
DRADA (Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association www.drada.org) serves people affected by depression as well as their families, and strives to promote public awareness of this disease. They offer information, education and support. You'll find support groups and links to other online resources.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (www.dbsalliance.org) is a patient-driven, grassroots organization focusing on improving the lives of people with mood disorders. Along with information, they offer a network of over 1,000 local and online support groups and a directory of mental health professionals. They can also be reached at 1-800-826-3632.
Beyond Blue (www.beyondblue.org.au) is an Australian group devoted to research and education about depression. Their site offers numerous downloadable fact sheets and interactive quizzes.
All About Depression (www.allaboutdepression.com) is a very user-friendly and informative site. According to their Web site they're "dedicated to providing accurate, current, and relevant information about clinical depression to the general public."
Other support forums include The Blue Room, accessible through Delphi forums (www.delphiforums.com), and a Yahoo support group for individuals or family members suffering with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or related disorders (www.health.groups.yahoo.com/group/depression).