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Understanding and Finding Help for Depression

Changes in mood are a normal human experience. Everyone feels down sometimes. But if you are experiencing prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of pleasure or interest in activities you used to enjoy, you may be dealing with depression.


What is depression?


Depression is a mental health condition that affects a person's mood. Not everyone with depression with have the same symptoms or experience them in the same way. Symptoms of depression can vary in severity, frequency and duration.


A person may be diagnosed with major depression if feelings of sadness, low mood and loss of interest in normal activities have persisted for at least 2 weeks and are accompanied by five or more of the following:

  • Change in appetite or weight

  • Insomnia or sleeping too much

  • Low energy or fatigue

  • Feeling worthless, guilty or hopeless

  • Inability to focus or concentrate

  • Unusually slow or agitated movements or speech

  • Thoughts of death and dying, suicide ideation or suicide attempts

Risk Factors


Depression can affect anyone. However, certain factors may increase your risk:

  • Sex: Women are twice as likely to have major depression as men

  • Genetics: Having a family history of depression increases your risk

  • Socioeconomic status: Financial problems and perceived low social status can increase your risk

  • Certain medications: Some medications, including types of hormonal birth control, corticosteroids and beta-blockers increase risk for depression

  • Vitamin D deficiency: Research has linked depressive symptoms to low vitamin D levels

  • Substance use: Substance use disorder can trigger changed in the brain that increase the risk of mental health conditions, like depression

  • Medical conditions: Many chronic health issues are closely linked with depression. The prevalence of depression is high amongst people living with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Parkinson's disease


Treatment for Depression


Depression is a real illness that deserves care and support. For many people, the symptoms of depression can make it difficult to seek help. But with treatment and support people can and do get better.


Treatment for depressions typically involved psychotherapy (counselling), medication or both.


Psychotherapy


Psychotherapy - also known as 'talk therapy' - is a general term for treating depression by talking about your condition and related issues with a mental health professional.


Different types of psychotherapy can be effective for depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy.


Psychotherapy can you help:

  • Identify negative beliefs and behaviours, and replace them with healthy, positive ones

  • Find better ways to cope and solve problems

  • Regain a sense of control and satisfaction in your life and ease depression symptoms

  • Explore relationships and develop positive interactions with others

  • Develop the ability to tolerate and accept distress using health behaviours


Medication


Antidepressants are the main kind of medication used to treat depression. There are many different classes and types of antidepressants, and each works a little differently. Finding the right medication for you may require patience, as some antidepressants take several weeks or longer to take full effect and for side effects to ease.


Depression and Anxiety


While depression and anxiety can exist separately, it is not uncommon for mental health conditions to occur together. Anxiety can be a symptom of major depression and anxiety disorder can also trigger worsening symptoms of depression.


Do you need additional support?

Mushkegowuk's health and mental health professionals are well-equipped to help Mushkegowuk individuals with your mental health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment: 705-269-6662 or moma@mushkegowuk.ca


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