—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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