September 8, 2017

Living with HIV: HIV and Depression

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In the language of clinical psychology, depression is a syndrome, a cluster of emotional, physical and behavioral symptoms characterized by sadness, low self esteem, loss of pleasure, and, sometimes, difficulty functioning. If these problems persist over a period of time, cause real suffering, and interfere with the business and pleasure of daily life, you may have a clinical depression.

People may say they are depressed when they are feeling unhappy, down, blue, sad, or hopeless. Almost everyone has experienced these emotions, and if you have HIV disease, you may have ample reason to be anxious or depressed at times. For most people, these feelings are just one part of everyday life.

However, if the feelings are overwhelming or persistent, you may benefit from psychological evaluation and treatment. Depression of this type can be effectively reduced or even eliminated with (often relatively simple) treatment. Professional intervention in serious depression can reduce suffering and improve the quality of life.

One of the most serious symptoms of depression is suicidal thoughts and the desire to take one’s own life. People who are suicidal often feel no way out of their current circumstances, that nothing will ever change for the better and that the world may be a better place without them. If you or someone you love is feeling this way, it should be taken very seriously, and help should be sought immediately. The national suicide hotline is 1.800.SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433) or 1.800.273.TALK (1.800.273.8255).

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