The first step is to see a doctor if you think you or a family member has depression.
You may have to convince an adult or adolescent that he or she needs help. Explain sympathetically that medications will help him or her feel better and get back to normal. Avoid being critical.
If you see aggressive behavior or signs of suicide, contact a doctor immediately and make arrangements for immediate hospitalization.
Once treatment begins, you still have to manage on a day-to-day basis. Here are some guidelines:
See your doctor regularly — Your doctor can monitor your progress, provide support and encouragement and adjust your medication if necessary.
Take your medications — Finding the best medication for you may take several tries. It may take 4 to 8 weeks for you to start seeing results. Once you feel better, continue to take your medication as prescribed.
Don't become isolated — Try to participate in normal activities. Joining a depression support group may help.
Take care of yourself — Eat a healthful diet and get the right amount of sleep and exercise. There's no evidence that exercise can reduce risk of depression, but it can ease stress and help you relax.
Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs — Abuse of alcohol and drugs will slow or prevent your recovery.