Depression

Depression affects a wide segment of Canadian society. It is estimated that at any one time 5% of Canadians are depressed and that between 10% and 20% will suffer from a depressive disorder at some time in their lives. Women are more than twice as likely as men to suffer from depression.

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Depression occurs in response to a variety of medical factors (infections, hormonal changes, surgery, stroke, medication, and nutritional deficits) and psychological factors such as job loss, death, financial problems, relationship issues, divorce, retirement, illness, and pain. Childhood trauma and experiences may predispose someone to depression later in life. Depression can run in families.

What Does Depression Look Like?

Sadness You may feel more down or sad than normally. It may be described as feeling down in the dumps, dejected, blue, or in a bad mood. It may be accompanied by crying or even an inability to cry. There may be thoughts of death and suicide. Feelings of wanting to get away from it all. You may feel that your situation is hopeless, that nothing will help, and maybe everyone would be better off without you.

Sleep difficulties You may notice a change in your sleep pattern. Awakening early in the morning and having a hard time falling back asleep. Or you may feel exhausted and want to sleep all day.

Appetite changes Depressed people often lose interest in food. They just don’t feel like eating. Others may eat to much. A change in weight and appearance may worsen the depression. Alcohol and drugs may be abused in order to feel better.

I just don’t care anymore You may find that you are no longer interested in what is going on around you. You may keep more to yourself and prefer to be left alone avoiding family, friends, phone calls, messages, and work. You may find it harder to laugh and enjoy things. There may be a loss of interest in sexual intimacy. In some cases depressed individuals stop looking after themselves.

Self-esteem Feelings of guilt, shame, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence often accompany depression. You may feel more angry and irritable with yourself and others.

Poor judgement Depressed people often see the world through dark and cloudy glasses. They tend to focus on the negative and ignore the good. This type of negative and distorted thinking can take them down the wrong path.

Treatment  A psychologist can help you examine the reasons for the depression, the negative thought patterns, and move you forward. Antidepressant medications can help and it is always important to talk to your family physician about your mood in order to rule out physical illness. There is help!

1. www.depressioncenter.net 

2. www.allaboutdepression.com

3. http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=37

4. http://aforeverrecovery.com/understanding-and-spotting-signs-of-depression/

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© Robert Schnurr 2012