How do you know when you are depressed? Health care professionals start by asking questions. Are you feeling down or hopeless? Have you lost interest or pleasure in doing things you would regularly enjoy?
Depressive illnesses are more than just regular sadness or grief. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the main symptom of depression is a sad, despairing mood. It can be present most days and last most of the day, continue for more than two weeks, or impair performance at work, school or in social relationships.
Treatment for Depression
Depression is not something you can get over on your own. Your first step should be to reach out to your family doctor to talk about what you are experiencing. They can refer you to a mental health professional for further screening and treatment, if needed.
Receiving The Help You Need
Registered psychologist Dr. Saadia Akram-Pall at True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy offers several treatment and rehabilitation services that can help with depression. These include individual psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), stress management and coping techniques, life skills and self-esteem issues, as well as trauma and post-traumatic issues.
You will likely be asked about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour, any history of mental health problems and which treatments were most helpful in the past. They will also inquire about any physical health problems, family history of mental health problems, as well as your day to day life, relationships, work or school. While there isn’t a lab test to determine depression, health care professionals have other tests they can use to rule out conditions that might have similar symptoms.
Treatment can include psychotherapy, medication (such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers), psychoeducation or brain stimulation therapies. These can be used individually or in combination.
About Depression and How It Affects Canadians
It is estimated that at least 1 in 4 Canadians has experienced a depression serious enough to require treatment at some point in his or her life. It is one of the most common mental disorders and also the most treatable.
There is a long list of symptoms to be on the lookout for. These include sleep problems, changes in appetite and weight, withdrawal from family members and friends, loss of interest in work, hobbies, people or sex, feeling useless, hopeless, excessively guilty, pessimistic or having low self-esteem. Other symptoms include agitation, irritability, fatigue, trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions, crying easily, thoughts of suicide, loss of touch with reality, hallucinations or delusions. As you can see, depression comes in many forms.
What are the causes? There isn’t just one. Potential triggers can include genetic or family history, personality and stress. Even biological factors can cause depression, such as brain chemistry and endocrine or immune system imbalances. In Canada, depression tends to be more common in women, but gender differences tend to lessen with age.
Types of Depression
Several different types of depression exist. These include the following:
- seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- postpartum depression
- bipolar disorder
- persistent depressive disorder
If you are diagnosed with a depressive episode, research suggests there is a 50% chance you’ll experience another at some point in your life. After two episodes, there is an 80% chance of relapse.
It is often said that the best protection against a relapse is understanding that depression is an illness. It is something that must be managed over the course of a lifetime. While this may seem daunting, think of it as doing a little bit everyday to maintain your mental health as opposed to waiting until it gets unmanageable on your own.
The good news is that depression can be effectively managed and controlled. Commitment to a healthy lifestyle and dedicated treatments help tremendously. By watching closely for early signs of relapse you can prevent a full depressive episode from occurring.
When to Seek Help
It’s best to act quickly when dealing with depression to reduce unnecessary strain or suffering. Book a consultation with a trusted healthcare professional to get started. This may be the hardest step, but in the long run you’ll be happy you did it. Treatment and recovery are absolutely possible, anyone suffering from depression can have a full and productive life.
Reach Out To Us Today
At True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy, you can also book an appointment with registered psychologist Dr. Saadia Akram-Pall. She specializes in anxiety, depression and coping skills, and is currently accepting new clients. Contact us today.