Depression Anonymous: Finding A Depression Support Group

Reviewed by Melinda (Santa) Gladden, LCSW

Published 12/28/2020

Depressive disorders are common mental health conditions that affect people of all ages and backgrounds. According to the World Health Organization or WHO, over 264 million individuals worldwide live with depression. Are you interested in depression support groups? Maybe, you do not know how to find one, or maybe you know that you want to attend a group, but you are nervous and want to learn more about what it is like first. In this article, we will cover Depressed Anonymous, other forms of peer support, as well as depression symptoms, and information about what going to a support group is like.

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What Is Depressed Anonymous?

Depressed Anonymous is a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. Joining the group is one of many ways to find support for depression. As with any mental health condition, different things help different people. Everyone finds support that works for them in various places and through varying modalities. If you feel that the 12-step model is a good fit for you, you might consider checking out their website. To access the Depressed Anonymous website, you can click the following link or copy and paste it into your browser: https://depressedanon.com.

There are many different support groups for depression. To find support groups in your area, you can search for "depression support groups near me" using your search engine of choice, or you may use some of the following sites with support group locators:

The AADA Website

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America website has extensive mental health information and many resources for those living with or learning about mental health conditions. You can use this page on their website to find a support group: https://adaa.org/supportgroups.

The NAMI Website

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website has information regarding both NAMI connection support groups, which are for people living with mental illness, and support groups for family members living with mental illness. Use this page on the NAMI website to find a support group: https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Support-Groups.

The Mental Health America Website

Mental health America has an extensive list of support groups located on the following page: https://www.mhanational.org/find-support-groups. Although they are not all specific to depressive disorders or similar disorders, there is a wide variety of support groups to choose from on their website.

Another option is to consider utilizing online support groups and forums. During the time of the coronavirus, online modalities of peer support have become more and more popular. Remember that support groups are not the same as group therapy. The difference is that group therapy is run by a mental health professional and is a form of mental health treatment, where a support group is a form of peer support.

Online Depression Support Groups and Forums

Here are some popular forums for depression:

The Depression Forum On mentalhealthforum.net

Mentalhealthforum.net has a number of free mental health forums for different mental health concerns. You can access the depression forum on mentalhealthforum.net here: https://www.mentalhealthforum.net/forum/forums/depression-forum.366/.

The Clinical Depression Forum On psychforums.com

Psychforums.com is another website with a variety of mental health forums for different mental health concerns. The number of forums on this website is vast, and the clinical depression forum is one of many on the site. You can access the clinic depression forum on psychforums.com here: https://www.psychforums.com/depression/.

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Support groups and online forums are often a supplement to treatment that helps many people. You can join groups and forums whether or not you have ever received treatment from a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. Peer support is beneficial for many individuals because it gives you an outlet where you can talk to people who are going through the same thing. Although it can be incredibly advantageous to utilize support groups and forums, they are very different from treatment from a medical or mental health professional. If your depression symptoms persist, make sure to reach out to a medical or mental health provider, whether that is a general doctor, counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist.

What Are Support Groups Like?

Support groups are a safe space to talk about what you are going through. You can share as much or as little as you want when you attend a support group. Some support groups require a diagnosis, but many do not. Typically, support groups meet about once a week or biweekly. It can be intimidating to go to a support group for the first time, but the most important thing to remember is that everyone there is going through something similar to what you are going through and that you are all there to find solidarity. If the first support group that you attend is not right for you that is okay. You can always try another one. Sometimes, it takes trial and error to find the right fit, so do not give up.

About Depression

Depressive disorders are a group of diagnosable mental health disorders characterized by depressive symptoms. Common depressive disorders include:

Major Depressive Disorder

Here are some common symptoms of major depression to be aware of:

  • Depressed or low mood
  • Loss of interest in activities one used to enjoy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or disproportionate guilt
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing
  • Changes in appetite
  • Hypersomnia or insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Excessive crying
  • Emotional numbness

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder is a type of depression that is typically described as a long-lasting, low-level form of depression or a chronic low-level form of depression. Here are some potential signs of persistent depressive disorder to be aware of:

  • Persistently low mood
  • Lack of enjoyment or interest in activities someone would typically enjoy
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or disproportionate guilt
  • Irritability

To be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder, you must experience depressive symptoms that meet the criteria for two years or more. A persistent depressive disorder is sometimes referred to as dysthymia.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is a manifestation of major depressive disorder that affects a person on a seasonal basis. If you have seasonal affective disorder, you may have major depressive episodes that are prompted by a change in seasons. Most people with seasonal affective disorder are affected during colder, less sunny months of the year.

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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD differs from other types of depression because depressive episodes occur the week before a person's menstrual period and end when their menstrual period starts or soon after. It is not the same as standard PMS and is far more severe. Here are some of the potential signs of PMDD:

  • Physical PMS symptoms, such as bloating and cramping
  • Loss of interest in relationships or activities one would typically enjoy
  • Feelings of depression or low mood
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing
  • Panic attacks or feelings of anxiety
  • Excessive crying
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Social isolation or withdrawal from others

Symptoms of PMDD cause serious difficulty and impairment in a variety of areas in a person's life. They can affect a person's ability to function at work, school, or in interpersonal relationships. The depression that comes with PMDD is severe and can make the sufferer feel like an entirely different person during an episode. You do not have to experience an episode every month to be diagnosed with PMDD, but you do have to experience this pattern at least twice.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs after someone gives birth. Many people who are postpartum experience the baby blues, but postpartum is different because it is far more severe. Here are some potential symptoms of postpartum depression:

  • Low or depressed mood
  • Difficulty bonding with one's new baby
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or disproportionate guilt
  • Excessive crying
  • Isolation or withdrawing from others
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Lack of interest in activities one would typically enjoy
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • Thoughts about endangering the baby
  • Anxiety or panic attacks

As with all conditions in the list above, this is not the full list of criteria for postpartum depression.

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Other disorders, such as unspecified depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, also include periods of depression or depressive symptoms in diagnosis criteria. If you notice symptoms of depression in yourself, make sure to reach out to a medical or mental health professional, such as your general doctor, a psychiatrist, or a therapist or counselor. The good news about depression is that it is a treatable mental health condition.

Help For Depression

It can be scary and intimidating to reach out for mental health support, but it can also be life changing. Depression is a treatable mental health condition, and this is not something that you have to go through alone. Types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT, are known to help people with depression. For all information regarding specific treatments and therapies, please consult a medical or mental health professional.

If you see a psychiatrist, you might be able to work with them to talk about what treatments might help you the most. If the first treatment you try is not the right fit for you, do not give up. Again, mental health is so individual that there is no real way to predict what will work for you and what will not. Never give up.

If you are looking for a counselor or therapist in your area, you can go about it in a variety of ways. You may decide to:

  • Make an appointment with your general doctor and ask them for a referral to a counselor or therapist.
  • Conduct an online search for "depression counselors near me" or "depression therapists near me."
  • Contact your insurance company or visit their website to see whom they cover.
  • Use an online mental health provider directory.
  • Sign up for an online therapy website like Better Help that will pair you with a provider.

If you are struggling to find a provider, you can use the provider search tool located in the upper right-hand corner of the Mind Diagnostics website.

Take the Mind Diagnostics Depression Test

Do you think that you might have depression? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics depression test. Although it is not a replacement for a diagnosis from a medical or mental health professional, it can give your insight into your symptoms, and taking the test might just be the first step to getting the help that you need. Although people of all ages can struggle with depression, the Mind Diagnostics depression test is for those aged 18 and older.

Click here to take the Mind Diagnostics depression test.

NOTES: No changes needed and thank you for expressing that the test does not make up time with a trained mental health professional

  • Does not go against what is clinically accepted.
  • Does not encourage mindsets or practices that may be harmful to the reader.
  • Is factual and up-to-date.