What is Depression?

Depression is a serious mental illness that affects many people worldwide. Its impact on a person’s life, health, thought patterns, and activities can be devastating when left untreated. According to the World Health Organization, about 4% of the world’s population suffered from depression in 2015.  

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand depression or know how to help those who suffer from it. Even those who are affected might not know what’s going on, how they’re being impacted, and what to do about it. Envision Mind Care is dedicated to providing accurate and useful information about mental health disorders so more people can understand what the symptoms are, how and when to get an assessment, and how they can be treated.

 

A Definition

Depression can be a confusing concept because there are so many varied symptoms. Different people are impacted in unique ways, making it difficult to diagnose and even treat. So to start, let’s define what depression is. 

According to the Canadian Association of Mental Health, a depressive disorder is a complex mood disorder caused by various factors. Typically, it disables motivation and interferes with a person’s normal functioning in daily life. Depression is not just the ups and downs we experience every day, or a feeling of sadness; it’s a very real health condition that has major consequences for men, women, and even children. 

 

What Are the Symptoms?

Recognizing depression and its common symptoms is extremely important. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and doctors need to be able to diagnose and treat the illness early on to prevent the risk of impairment or even suicide. 

As with most mental disorders, there are warning signs to look for in yourself and others. According to the Government of Canada, some of the common symptoms of depression include:

  • Depressed mood

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usually-enjoyed activities

  • Change in weight or appetite

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Aches and pains

  • Decreased energy or fatigue without physical exertion

  • Thoughts of death

  • Poor concentration

  • Difficulty making decisions

If you consistently notice these signs of depression in yourself or someone else for a period of two to three weeks, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor. He or she will ask you some questions and may be able to make a diagnosis and help you access treatment avenues. 

 

Are There Risk Factors?

While depression can affect anyone, some people actually have a higher chance of developing it. Here are some factors that the American Psychiatric Association says will affect whether or not a person will experience depression:

  • Biochemistry. These are the specific chemicals in your brain. They can affect or cause symptoms of different mood disorders.

  • Genetics. If your family has a history of depression, doctors find that you’re more likely to be affected by it.

  • Personality. Individuals with a low self-esteem or who have an increased sensitivity to stress are more at risk.

  • Environmental factors. This can include increased exposure to violence, neglect, abuse, or poverty.

 

Depression Treatment Options

As with any medical condition, when it comes to treating depression, there are a few options to consider. As part of your treatment you may be given a physical exam to rule out any other medical conditions. After, your treatment options will likely include:

  • Medication such as antidepressants. These can take several weeks to take effect but tend to be quite effective in helping maintain an improved mood. They’re also not habit-forming or addictive.

  • Psychotherapy. This tends to be the preferred treatment option because it allows patients to create strategies during therapy that actively help them deal with their mood disorders. 

  • Non-invasive neurostimulation therapies like TMS, which relies on electromagnetic stimulation to help patients. While this is a more recent treatment method, studies have already begun to prove its effectiveness. To learn more, visit our TMS page.

The earlier you begin treatments, the more effective the treatments will be and the lower your chances of relapsing. Make sure to visit a doctor or psychologist if you suspect you’re suffering from a mood disorder. Depression shouldn’t stop you from living a normal life when treated, so be sure to talk to a doctor or psychiatrist to discuss your treatment options.

 

Are you suffering from depression? Is someone you love showing symptoms? Get one-on-one help now by calling Envision Mind Care. We have psychologists and psychiatrists on staff who can answer your all your questions about depression.