Making the transition from military to civilian life can often come with detrimental side-effects for many veterans. Some of these are caused by Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), but there are many ways that this change can impact one’s life.

One of these ways is through depression. While feelings of sadness, loneliness and general loss are common throughout all of our lives, depression can emerge when they last for long periods of time or become overwhelming. When they keep you from living an active, healthy life, it’s time to seek help.

Depression is generally considered a mental illness, but there are actually two parts to it: the physical and the mental. Mental symptoms include trouble concentrating or making decisions, trouble remembering details, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, hopelessness, irritability, loss of interest in things that you found pleasurable–including sex–and suicidal thoughts or attempts.

On the other hand, there are a surprising number of physical symptoms that accompany depression. These tend to include fatigue, insomnia, sleeping too much, appetite loss, overeating and digestive issues. It can also include aches, pains, headaches and cramps that don’t seem to go away.

Those with severe depression also exhibit some troubling behaviors. It is common to see a switch from sadness to extreme calm or happiness, as well as taking risks for little to no reason and becoming fascinated with death, dying or hopelessness.

Those who struggle with depression tend to describe it less as a kind of sadness and more as an absence of emotion. More than half of those who suffer from depression never seek out diagnosis and treatment.

At FMF, our FOCUS program helps those suffering from depression by giving them the tools to properly manage it. In many cases, depressed individuals have experienced symptoms for so long that it seems there is no way to escape them. However, by teaching them these tools, our program allows them to take back control of their life and recover the drive that earned them their Eagle, Globe and Anchor.