For information and resources
For crisis intervention
800-273-8255, press 1

Active Duty

24/7 HELP

DCoE Outreach Center
For Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
Information and Resources
866-966-1020
Live Chat
For Crisis Intervention for Service Members, Veterans and Families
800-273-8255
Press "1"
Learn more about the Real Warriors app
Download the Real Warriors app at the Apple App Store
realstrength.realwarriors.net
Campaign Materials
Message Boards
Average: 3.7 (31 votes)

Dealing with Depression: Symptoms and Treatment

soldier reflecting

Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Hagan

Depression is a common psychological concern that can affect anyone, anywhere, at any time. This is true whether or not you serve in uniform. Depression is not just a passing feeling of “being sad” and you can’t just “snap out of it.” It’s a medical condition that can and should be treated.

The first step to getting effective treatment is speaking openly and honestly with a health care provider about how you feel.

Signs of Depression

Depression can affect your thoughts, behaviors, feelings and even physical health. How and why it affects you is different for everyone. You may experience depression for reasons including:

  • Biological factors. The amount of certain brain chemicals, inherited traits, hormonal changes and even gender. Women ages 14–25, for example, are twice as likely as men to experience depression.
  • Emotional factors. Low self-esteem, negativity or feeling out of control of your life.
  • Major life events. Losing a loved one, stressful experiences like combat or illness, ending or starting a new romantic relationship, or moving to a new location.
  • Other physical or psychological issues. Physical illnesses, like diabetes or heart disease, or certain psychological health concerns like eating disorders.
  • Substance misuse. Abusing alcohol, drugs or smoking.

If you experience one or more of the following symptoms for two weeks or more, reach out to your health care provider:

  • Feeling persistently hopeless, negative, empty, worthless or guilty
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Low energy or feeling tired all the time
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Extreme changes in appetite or weight
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Restlessness or anxiety

Talk to your health care provider immediately if you have more serious symptoms, like thoughts of death or hurting yourself.

Take an Active Role in Your Treatment

Depression and reaching out for help aren’t signs of weakness. If you begin feeling depressed, early intervention and care can make a difference. Don’t wait. Contact your provider as soon as possible to learn about the best treatment options for you.

If you have begun treatment already, there are a variety of ways you can help your healing process. These include:

If you aren’t already in treatment, you can find health care providers using TRICARE’s provider locator.

Remember, reaching out is a sign of strength. If you or a loved one needs additional support, contact the DCoE Outreach Center 24/7 to confidentially speak with trained health resource consultants, call 866-966-1020 or use the Real Warriors Live Chat. You can also visit our “Seek Help, Find Care” page to see a list of key psychological health resources.

Additional Resources

PDF formatted documents require Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software. If you do not already have this software installed on your computer, please download it from Adobe's Website.