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Expat risk of depression

People are less likely to seek help for depression than for other medical conditions, even though treatments can be very effective.

Make sure you’re getting what you need.

Make sure you’re diagnosed and getting the treatment you need

When you’re living away from home, it’s common to feel sad, lonely or out of place sometimes. But if depression takes hold, it can be harder to combat it without the right treatment and your normal support network.

Depression has many causes and is a serious medical condition — just like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. It can affect your thoughts, feelings, health and behaviour every day. It’s not something you can just “get over.” Yet people are less likely to seek help for depression than for other medical conditions, even though treatments can be very effective. 

Symptoms of depression

Here are some symptoms of depression (you may have some or all of them):

  • You feel sad or worthless. 
  • Your outlook is negative or even hopeless.
  • You have little or no energy.
  • You’re not interested in doing the things you normally enjoy. 
  • You eat or sleep less, or more, than usual.
  • You have trouble remembering things or making decisions.
  • You have unexplained aches, pains or digestive problems.

Men can experience depression differently from women. Men with depression can be angry or irritable. They often have little to no energy, and have difficulty sleeping.

Types of depression

There are several types of clinical depression, including these:

  • Major depression — experiencing multiple symptoms for most days of the week for two weeks or longer
  • Post-partum depression — occurring after childbirth
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — occurring during winter months and colder climates
  • Bipolar disorder — marked by extreme episodes ranging from high-energy “up” moods to low-energy “down” (depressive) moods

Causes of depression

Many factors can contribute to depression, such as:

  • Genetics (family history)
  • Certain medicines
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Other psychiatric conditions
  • Other medical illnesses
  • Extreme stress or grief

Depression is not your fault. If you have a health condition or suffer from ongoing pain, you may be at risk for depression. With help, you can get better.

Treating depression

Think of depression the same way you think of any other illness. There are treatments, but they won’t work if you don’t get help.

Learn how depression can be treated while abroad
Find out which type of professional might be best to turn to

Are you at risk?

Take our depression assessment to help you better understand your risk. The best way to figure out if you have depression that should be treated is to talk with your doctor. Like many other health problems, depression can get worse if it’s ignored.

Our CARE team can help you find international depression resources and one-to-one help. Contact Aetna International in your region.

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