Depression can affect people of all ages and walks of life. While some might say “it’s all in your head,” depression can be extremely debilitating if left untreated. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, about 8% of Canadian adults will face major depression at some point in their lives, while 1% will experience bipolar disorder. The good news is that there are evidence-based treatments backed by decades of ongoing research.
Types of depression and symptoms:
There are several types of depression, and they vary in a number of ways, including severity. Some forms of depression can manifest in rather unexpected ways. This is what makes a professional diagnosis so important. The main types of depression include
- Major depression: also known as clinical depression, common symptoms include an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, difficulty working, disrupted sleep patterns, changes in appetite, and no longer enjoying activities you once loved.
- Dysthymia: also known as chronic depression, it is somewhat milder than major depression. The symptoms include persistent sadness, major and sudden weight changes, insomnia, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, as well as difficulty concentrating.
- Postpartum depression: though it more commonly affects new mothers, postpartum depression can affect either parent following the birth or adoption of a baby, and it can be quite overwhelming. The physiological and emotional changes of new parenthood are major stressors even at the best of times, so if depression is suspected, it’s essential to seek professional help immediately.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder: those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder tend to have depression that sets in during the fall and winter months, and tend to find some relief during the spring and summer.
- Atypical depression: typically accompanied by a physically heavy feeling, those experiencing atypical depression may be inclined to overeat as well.
- Psychosis: possibly the most extreme type of depression, it presents with symptoms including false beliefs and hallucinations. It can also be quite dangerous and sometimes develops as a result of an earlier onset of depression. For example, postpartum depression can develop into postpartum psychosis if left untreated.
- Bipolar Disorder: characterized by extreme emotional highs followed by devastating lows. You have no real control over these highs and lows, and there is no precise way of predicting how long each one will last.
- Situational depression: this can occur when circumstances get you down. This can be during the grieving period when you lose a loved one or when life stressors just become too much.
Identifying depression in others
Though you may not personally suffer from depression, you might know somebody who is suffering in silence. Due to various misconceptions and perhaps some stigma associated with depression, many people don’t get the help they need. It is important to help loved ones get the support and treatment they need to get better. Here are some symptoms to look for if you are concerned about the well-being of a loved one:
- Feeling sad or tearful for an extended period of time
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Lack of energy or fatigue
- Appetite changes (eating too much or too little)
- Outbursts of anger or frequent irritability
- Signs of anxiety
- Physical problems such as headaches and muscle tension that have no other explanation
The most important thing to remember is that depression does not need to ruin or run your life! You can take control back today by getting in touch with our team of qualified clinicians at The Clinic On Dupont. Call 416-515-2649 for more information or to schedule an appointment.