Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better.  But while overcoming depression isn't  quick or easy, it's far from impossible.

In order to better understand depression, I visited with Dr. Matthew Stanley of Avera Behavioral Health in Sioux Falls.  There are signs of depression.  "We look at several major categories.  One of the key things is that the patient or person either feels depressed or lost his ability to enjoy things.  Physically, we look at how much the individual is sleeping---either too much or not at all.  Appetite can also go either way. While depressed, the person may not have any desire to eat...or that person overeats.  Lack of energy, lack of ability to concentrate, inability to make decisions."

If left untreated, Dr. Stanley says depression can lead to suicide.  "There often is a period before hand when people contemplating suicide make some gestures or give some clues.  It's very hard to believe that someone we know and care about would take that step.  But, it does happen.  It's much better to ask the questions---are you having suicidal thoughts---is there something we should do to help you."

Dr. Stanley says needing additional help doesn't mean an individual is weak.  Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make one feel like life is a lost cause, but depression can be successfully treated.