Am I Just Sad or Do I Suffer from Depression?
What is depression?
According to American psychiatric association "Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life".
Common Symptoms of depression:
Loss of energy or interest in previously enjoyed activities
Changes in sleep or appetite
Difficulty with concentration
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Loss of self-confidence
Loss of libido
It’s important to know that being sad is different from what is called clinical depression. Most of us go through mood changes after loss of a loved one, moving, or ending of a relationship. However, in order to find out if you meet the diagnostic criteria for clinical depression you need to consult with a regulated health care professional.
Common myths about depression that prevent people from getting the help needed!
1. Only weak people get depressed!
According to Mental Illness & Addiction in Canada's statistics, "8% of Canadians will experience major depression at some point in their lives". There are certain risk factors such as genetics, lack of emotional support, individual’s poor coping skills, and family environment that could put people at a higher risk. However, considering the high volume of individuals in North America who seek help for depression, anyone even the "strong" people could struggle with this mental illness at some point in their lifetime.
2. If I wait a bit longer I’m gonna feel better again!
We all have experienced times where we felt under the weather and after few hours or days we felt much better. This very common experience makes people believe that it they wait longer somehow their symptoms of depression will disappear. However, it is important to note that depression is a mood disorder that requires professional interventions. Based on research individuals who suffer from clinical depression will not see significant improvement only with time factor.
3. I’ve been the same for a long time, nothing could help to change the way I feel!
Sometimes individuals develop depression early on in their lives and it becomes a big part of who they are. For someone who have been depressed for many years, it might be almost impossible to imagine how it could feel to live a single day without depression. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are often associated with depression and they make people believe that there are no source of help out there. But in fact, there are different treatment options which could help people recover from depression.
What to do if you are suffering from depression?
Discussing your symptoms with your GP could be a good start. Some family physicians have well established relationship with mental health professionals and could refer you to receive additional help. Depression can be treated with medication as well as psychotherapy. Within the scope of psychotherapy, there are different therapeutic interventions that are commonly used by professionals to treat depressive symptoms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Narrative therapy, and Psycho dynamic approaches are among the list. Please consult with your treating counsellor for further details about how these approaches could help you battle depression.