Depression is a mood disorder, one of the most common mental illnesses. Mood disorders impact almost 1 in 8 Canadians over the course of their lifetimes, with about 5% of Canadians reporting experiencing depression in any given year.
Depression can be a component of bipolar disorder, perinatal mood disorders (or postpartum depression), and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It can occur on its’ own as major depressive disorder or dysthymia, a less severe but more chronic form of depression.
Depression is more than just feeling down or experiencing the “blues.” It is a significant health issue and can greatly impact a person’s enjoyment in life, ability to function or complete tasks of daily living, and can place someone at risk for suicide.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Mood changes such as a low mood or increased crying, a flattening of mood leading to feeling “numb” or apathetic, increased irritability, or mood swings.
- Lack of enjoyment in activities that were once enjoyable.
- Decreased motivation or energy.
- Decreased concentration and memory.
- Negative thoughts, feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
- Eating or sleeping more or less than usual.
- Fatigue or exhaustion, and sometimes bodily aches and pains.
- Behavioural changes, such as decreased activity, social interaction and isolation.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
If you or a loved one are experiencing depression, help is available. Treatment options include psychotherapy, medication, stress reduction, psychosocial support, and lifestyle changes. What is most important is finding a treatment option and health care provider that work for you.
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