What is depression?

Each of us experiences some happy and some sad times, but for most of us the unhappy feelings are only temporary. For some, the sad feelings last a long time and can become severe.  Depression isn’t just a mood swing, it is a serious medical condition that requires treatment in the same way that high blood pressure or an infection does.

What causes depression?

It has been shown that depression is caused by an imbalance of chemical substances in the brain. To date the chemical messengers that research has focused on, are serotonin and noradrenalin.  What induces these changes within the brain is unknown.

Who does depression affect?

In Canada, 1 in 10 people will develop an episode of major depressive disorder (the medical diagnosis for depression). Depression can affect people of all ages including young children. Despite recent awareness campaigns, many still worry about what others will think of them for being depressed and do not seek medical help.

What are the symptoms of depression?

When someone is experiencing depression, almost every facet of their life can be affected. Symptoms can be emotional and/or physical. When someone is depressed, their symptoms interfere with their day to day activities and are present for at least 2 consecutive weeks.

  • Loss of interest and lack of pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Feelings of despair, sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness and guilt
  • Detachment from your friends, family and daily life
  • Always feeling tired and lacking energy
  • Crying without a reason
  • Difficulty concentrating or forgetfulness
  • Loss or gain of appetite or change in sleep pattern (sleeping too much or not enough)
  • Aches and pains (headaches, joint pain, stomach upset)
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

How is depression treated?

Depression is a treatable illness that does not go away on its own.  There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat depression to the point of complete relief of symptoms.

If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, speak with a medical professional today.  Don’t suffer in silence, depression is a curable illness.

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