What is Depression?

There are times when you may feel sad, or down – something may have happened to cause this, or maybe you are having a bad day.  This is normal, we all get blue once in a while. Depression however, is more serious than feeling low. It’s a medical illness known as a mood disorder. Depression affects the entire body, not only the mind. If you are struggling with depression you may feel fatigued, have stomach pains, experience headaches, suffer from muscle or joint point, see a decrease in appetite, lack concentration, have difficulty getting to work or school, and feel a sense of hopelessness. Approximately 8% of adults in Canada will experience major depression at some point in their lifetime.

Depression does not discriminate; it affects individuals of any age, gender, education level, socioeconomic status, and cultural background. When a person experiences depression it affects every part of daily living – parenting, marriage, friendships, finances, careers, etc. No one is immune to possibly having to deal with depression.

What causes depression? There is a genetic component to it, however it can also occur in people without family history of depression. Research is currently being done on certain genes that scientists think make some people more prone to depression than others. Situational or environmental factors may also trigger depression, for example: trauma, loss, grief, a difficult relationship, or a stressful situation.

If you, or someone you care about, are experiencing any of the following symptoms you may want to talk with a mental health professional about it.

  1. *Appetite or weight changes (i.e. significant weight loss or weight gain)
  2. *Sleep changes (i.e. either insomnia or oversleeping)
  3. *Anger or irritability
  4. *Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  5. *Loss of interest in daily activities (i.e. hobbies, social activities, sex)
  6. *Loss of energy (feeling fatigued, sluggish, or physically drained)
  7. *Unexplained physical aches and pains
  8. *A feeling of self-loathing
  9. *Reckless behavior (i.e. compulsive gambling, dangerous or impulsive activities)
  10. *Difficulty focusing and concentrating

Many people with depression do not seek treatment, often due to stigma. Stigma is the biggest barrier to mental health care; typically manifesting in social distancing – where people with mental issues are isolated from others. Despite this however, depression can be manageable! By seeing a mental health professional to receive prompt identification and treatment, a person can learn about depression, how it is affecting them, and ways to deal with the symptoms and difficulties caused by depression.

If you would like to talk about depression, or set up an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact me.