Depression is an extremely common, yet serious mood disorder. Individuals who suffer from depression can experience significant impacts on their physical, emotional, and psychological well being both on-and-off or consistently throughout their lives. Symptoms of depression can cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning such as eating, sleeping, and your ability to work.

Symptoms of depression that can vary in frequency and intensity from mild to severe include:

  • Persistent sad, despairing mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Anger, irritability, or agitation
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or completing daily tasks
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyable
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping (too much or too little)
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Engaging in high-risk activities
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

Depression is a very common illness, but there are treatment options available even in the most severe cases. With proper diagnosis and treatment, the vast majority of people with depression can better manage, cope, and even overcome it. The best course of action can be to seek help immediately to prevent things from worsening and gain relief from some of the symptoms. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. While there are a number of effective treatment options available, Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most well-known and widely utilized approaches in treating depression. Psychotherapy treatment for depression can be to help raise awareness to the source or cause of symptoms, as well as developing an understanding of certain triggers and learning more effective ways to cope and manage symptoms if they arise.

In some instances, it can be completely normal for symptoms of depression to increase thoughts or urges of suicide. It is important to know that if you or someone you know is experiencing suicide ideation, there is always support available. In the event of an emergency please visit your nearest hospital emergency room, call EMS (911), or call the National crisis line at 1-833-456-4566 for further assistance.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Fifth edition.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2013). Depression.

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