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After my father died this past April, I’ve suffered from serious depression and insomnia. The doctor put me on Lunesta for sleeping, and it works fine… but I started taking more and more because 1 just wasn’t helping. I got up to the point where I’d take 4 and then it would just barely make me sleep. So, along with my sleeping pills, I started taking muscle relaxers to help ease tension. Both of these medicines are prescribed to me, but I think I might have a serious problem. I sometimes find myself wanting to take the pills during the day, just so I won’t have to deal with the things I go through… on top of that, I still have serious depression. I don’t know what to do…

It’s important to follow a health care provider’s instructions when taking any prescription medication, as over-medicating can be extremely dangerous to your health. Be honest with your health care provider about what’s working and what’s not — and how you’re feeling emotionally — so that you can get the medical care you need. Don’t be embarrassed. Your clinician has had a lot of experience with the way people handle grief and can help you deal safely with the medicine that’s been prescribed.

A person who is depressed experiences a number of these symptoms:

  • Life seems like it has no meaning — you feel like nothing good is ever going to happen again.
  • You’ve lost interest in the things you used to like — hanging out with friends, sports, music.
  • You feel sad or cry a lot and it doesn’t go away, or you have no feelings about anything.
  • You feel guilty for no reason, or you feel worthless.
  • You often get angry and overreact to criticism, or feel restless and easily agitated.
  • Your sleep patterns change — you start sleeping a lot, you have trouble falling asleep at night, or you wake up really early in the morning and you can’t get back to sleep.
  • You feel less energetic or “slowed down.”
  • You have difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions. You may not do as well in school as you used to, or have problems with authority figures.
  • Your eating habits change — you’ve lost your appetite, or you eat a lot more all of a sudden.
  • You may start to experiment with drugs or alcohol.
  • You think about death a lot of the time, or you think about killing yourself.

According to the National Mental Health Association, more than 19 million Americans suffer from depression each year — and one in five teens. If you’re depressed, you may feel alone, but the fact is, you’re not alone.

If you’re depressed, it’s vital that you talk with someone who can help you through it. Friends can be a great support system, but often, that’s not enough. Teens who are unhappy and depressed — or even think they may be depressed — may want to talk with a trusted adult, like a parent, guidance counselor, teacher, or health care provider, who can help them get connected with a professional who can talk with them, make a professional diagnosis, and suggest treatment, if it’s necessary. The staff at your nearestPlanned Parenthood health center may be able to help you with a referral.

Tags: drugs