Depression

Depression can be more than a constant state of sadness or feeling “blue.” It can cause a variety of symptoms and affects many people from mild impairment to severe affects on a person's life.  

The symptoms of depression can be felt physically, mentally, emotionally and behaviorally.  It can be experienced differently as not everyone may have the "classic signs" like sadness, crying spells, loss of interest, etc.  In some people, depression can manifest as irritability or anger for example.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe.  Frequency and intensity of symptoms also vary and are unique to each individual and their particular history and circumstances.   

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain 
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Isolation/Withdrawal
  • Irritability/Anger
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • High risk behaviors
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Risk factors can include:

  • Experiencing certain life events, such as bereavement, work issues, changes in relationships, financial problems, and medical concerns.
  • Experiencing acute or chronic stress.
  • Experiencing trauma (acute or chronic.
  • Having a lack of successful coping strategies
  • Family history of depression
  • Using recreational drugs or misuse of alcohol.
  • Having sustained a head injury
  • Having had a personal history of depression.
  • Living with persistent and chronic pain.

Depression is a treatable condition.  There is hope and help available.

Support: This can range from discussing practical solutions and possible causes to educating family members and friends on how to best support you in managing your depression.

Psychotherapy: Also known as talk therapy.  A common approach used is cognitive behavioral therapy involving understanding one's thoughts, emotions and behaviors and how the interconnection of them impact mood/depressive symptoms while also developing effective coping strategies in reducing/managing depressive symptoms.  cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Psychopharmacological treatment: Working with your primary health provider or psychiatrist on medication management for your depressive symptoms such as taking an antidepressant. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts and need a lifeline immediately, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (available 24 hours a day).  800.273.8255.


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