Is A Depression Chat Room Right For Me?
By Toni Hoy
Updated February 27, 2020
Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT
Maybe you've been feeling a little down in the dumps and wondered if a depression chat room will help you shake it off. You might just be going through a period of sadness, or it might be something more than that. A depression chat room is one place that you can go to help you determine if it's something more. If it is, members of the group will guide you in the right direction to help you get an evaluation for a diagnosis and course of treatment.
If someone were to ask you if you ever felt depressed, you could probably recall a time when you felt sad for longer than you expected. Life's trials and tribulations get all of us down now and again, and it's perfectly normal to be sad sometimes. Being sad doesn't necessarily mean you are depressed, though. Depression and sadness are two separate issues. Depression is also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression and it is a mood disorder that is usually recurring.
Depression causes lasting sadness and loss of interest in things you formerly enjoy. Having depression affects your moods, thoughts, and behavior. A depressed mood can cause you not to be able to function with your normal daily activities. Depression is a serious disease that can cause feelings that life is hopeless and not worth living, which may lead to a risk of suicide.
In most cases, depression is treatable. It's best to get depression diagnosed and treated early so that it doesn't cause physical or deeper emotional problems. Depression chat rooms can be a self-help tool to remind you of your coping skills.
Depression is Common
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimated that 16 million adults are affected by depression in the United States last year. That number equates to about 7% of the population. Women have a 70% more likelihood of depression than men. You may also be surprised to learn that young adults by the age of 25 have depression about 60% more often than people aged 50 and over. Overall, depression affects all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes.
Is Depression the Same for Everyone?
Clinicians diagnose depression in people who express feelings of deep sadness that lasts, though it tends to surface in waves. There are several different types of depression and professionals will assess to see which kind you have so that you can get the proper treatment you need.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder is also called dysthymia. People with this form of depression usually have a depressed mood for at least two years. The level of depression over the years can vary, and people with a persistent depressive disorder can sometimes feel fairly well for long periods of time.
Many new mothers experience a mild form of depression, or the "baby blues" shortly after giving birth. Perinatal depression also begins after childbirth and can turn into full-blown depression if not treated.
When delusions or hallucinations accompany depression's list of symptoms, a person may be diagnosed with psychotic depression. A person with psychotic depression may have symptoms that relate to a theme like guilt or poverty.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder typically comes and goes with the seasons. As the gloomy days of winter approach, deep sadness sets in and can become worse as the winter months drone on. Symptoms typically disappear when the cold and snow subside and give way to warmer days with sunshine.
Bipolar disorder is not a true form of depression. People with bipolar disorder experience bouts of depression alternating with manic symptoms.
Because there are several forms of depression, if you are using chat rooms for depression as part of your therapy, you may want to look for a depression chat room for your specific type of depression.
What Causes Depression?
There are four general causes of depression.
Depression runs in families and it can skip generations. We know more about depression and its connection to genetics than ever before. Many cases of depression in family histories went undiagnosed.
Brain chemistry has a lot to do with depression. Our brains are complex organs. Even slight differences in brain chemistry can contribute to depression in some people.
You may be surprised to learn that personality affects whether people become depressed. People who have naturally low self-esteem, who easily feel stressed, or who are pessimistic are more prone to having depression.
People who would not normally be subject to depression may get it if their environment is stressful. Living a lifestyle of poverty or violence can cause depression in some people.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?
It can be hard to differentiate between sadness that is normal and sadness that stems from a depressive disorder. People with depression may have one or more symptoms. Symptoms that define depression are typically more intense and longer-lasting than sadness over normal life events. Here are some things to look for:
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes eating habits
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of interest
- Poor self-esteem
- Feeling hopeless
- Physical aches and pains
It may benefit you to join an online depression chat if you aren't sure whether your depression is normal and likely to be passing. Others who participate in a depression online chat may be able to help figure out if you need counseling or treatment. If a visit to a clinician shows that you do have depression, there are a variety of treatment options for you.
How Do You Treat Depression?
Getting the right treatment for depression is a good first step towards lifting your spirits and making you feel better. A depression help chat is a good place where therapists and other people with depression come together to discuss helpful treatments for depression, including holistic and experimental treatments. Some people living with depression find that using several therapies in combination work best to control their depressive symptoms.
Your treating clinician will review your options for medicine, personal counseling, group counseling, or recommendations.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure that sends small electrical currents through the brain that changes the brain's chemistry to improve depression. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a fairly new therapy for depression. It's a procedure that stimulates the brain's nerve cells using magnetic fields. The procedure changes the brain's chemistry and improves the symptoms of depression.
Is a Depression Chat Considered Treatment for Depression?
A depression hotline chat or one of the chatrooms for depression could be considered treatment if you use it as a means of self-help, which may be part of your treatment protocol.
Besides, giving you a place for chatting with therapists and other people with depression, sites that include a chatroom for depressed people often have other helpful information about depression on their site. This is a good way to start the process of educating yourself about your illness. Blogs and articles can teach you much about coping skills, information about depression, and treatment.
Many sites also clearly display hotline numbers and other services for people having a mental health crisis.
What Are Some Indicators of a Well-Run Depression Chatroom?
There are some things that you can look for when trying to decide if an online depression chat is right for you. Make a mental note of whether the depression chat line has an online moderator or administrator. The site should clearly post whether certified therapists are administrating or participating in the site. They may even ask you a few initial questions to make sure that you are safe, and not experiencing a mental health crisis.
Some sites do not invite therapists. Their members consist only of other people who live with depression. The rules for the depression online chat should be clearly posted, and offenders should be asked to leave the group immediately. A depression online chat room should be a safe place for all of its members.
Are There Any Risks to Be Worried About in Depression Chat Rooms?
Every chat room carries some amount of risk with it. Risk is especially concerning for people who live with depression since depression can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts. People need emergency professional help when depression leads to suicidal thoughts.
Many depression chat rooms have rules about mentioning thoughts or plans about suicide so that those words don't trigger or negatively affect someone else in the group. If needed, gently direct anyone making such comments to a crisis hotline where they can get help.
Depression chat rooms that are unfiltered and unmoderated can be dangerous for people with suicidal ideations. Also, they may drag down others who are not suicidal and discovered the depression chat site when looking for education and support.
The right depression chat room can be very helpful as part of treatment. Shop around and find the one that offers the best support.
Online Counseling for Depression with Certified Professional Counselors and Therapists
Online counseling works well for many people living with depression for a variety of reasons. Depression can make it very difficult to get out of the bed in the morning. Many people living with depression know that they need help from a professional counselor, but they are not functioning well enough to get out and go to the appointment.
With online counseling, you can schedule your regular therapy appointments online and receive your treatment right in the comfort of your home. The quality of therapy is equally as good as if you met your counselor in person.
Depression chat rooms make a nice complement to online therapy sessions so that you have the help that you need any time of day or night.