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Mental Health: What It Means To Suffer From Depression
What is Depression?
Depression is different than just feeling sad or angry. It’s a medical condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, or acts. The world is seen through a negative lens. This mood disorder is characterized by intense and persistent negative emotions that affect people’s lives including, social encounters, education, work, and relationships with family and friends.
Depression can affect people of any age, even for children. It can be difficult to diagnose because young people are already going through so many changes. Growing up can feel overwhelming for young people, so it’s important to take any mental illness seriously.
How Can You Tell If Someone You Know Has Depression?
Depression or any mental illnesses should be diagnosed by a medical doctor, clinical psychologist, or a trained health provider. Diagnoses are complicated and shouldn’t be diagnosed by someone based on symptoms you read in magazines or the internet. If you’re concerned about someone, contact a trained health professional.
Depressive episodes can be characterized by the following:
- Feeling persistently depressed, sad, unhappy or something similar
- Feeling a loss of pleasure, or a noticeable disinterest in all or almost all activities
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt
- Diminished ability to think, concentrate or make decisions
- Suicidal thoughts/plans or preoccupation with death and dying
- Excessive fatigue or loss of energy
- Significant sleep problems (difficulty falling asleep or sleeping excessively)
- Physical slowness or, in some cases, restlessness
- Significant decrease or increase in appetite that may lead to noticeable weight change
What Treatment Options Exist For Depression?
Treatment is available to help decrease the severity of depressive episodes and prevent new ones from happening. Early treatment is important so that education and other goals can get back on track as soon as possible.
- Psychological Treatments: The first step is to reach out to a family doctor, but support can also be found through people like counsellors, social workers, psychiatrists, or peer support workers. “Talk therapy” works by helping your brain better control your thoughts and emotions.
- Medication: Medication can help the brain correct the functioning of its emotional control circuits. Antidepressants can be helpful but there are always risks to consider.
- Regular Routine: A healthy daily routine is very important for people with depression. With a healthy diet and daily exercise, depressive symptoms can be easier to manage.
If you think you or know of someone who might have depression contact a local health professional, like the Canadian Mental Health Association or TeenMentalHealth.org.
Founded in 1918, The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a national charity that helps maintain and improve mental health for all Canadians. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA helps people access the community resources they need to build resilience and support recovery from mental illness.