Mental illness affects people of all ages and cultures. It's estimated that approximately 8% of Canadians will experience major depression at some time in their lives. Not to mention there are about 3.2 million Canadian youth ages 12-19 at risk for developing depression. The statistics speak for themselves - depression is not a "small" issue in our society.
While there are multiple subtypes of depression with varying clinical presentations, here's a list of a few key signs and symptoms that may suggest depression could be of concern. Please note not all of these symptoms are required for a diagnosis of depression and severity or the number of these symptoms present will determine what clinical subtype of depression may be present.
- Sleep disruptions: insomnia, frequent waking or excessive sleeping
- Appetite changes: either overeating or appetite loss
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Pain: unexplained aches or pains, cramping, headaches
- Brain: memory difficulties, difficulty concentrating
- Feelings: of hopelessness, anxiousness, worthlessness, guilt, persistent "empty" feelings
- Loss of interest in hobbies or daily activities
- Thoughts of suicide and/or self-harm
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of depression, it's important to get help and have the concerns explored by a health professional. Therapy or counselling, dietary and lifestyle changes, evidence-based nutrient and botanical therapies and sometimes medications can be helpful for improving mood, quality of life and overall wellbeing. Recovery is possible and starts with that first step to seek the appropriate help that's needed.
Stay tuned for my upcoming blog post series on depression. I'll be talking about certain subtypes, how your mood could be a symptom of other underlying conditions and some dietary, lifestyle and nutrient therapies that can provide benefit. I hope that these posts will help inform, inspire and educate those who need support to seek it. Blog posts may a great way to educate yourself, but it will always and forever be of utmost importance to speak to a health care professional (or two!) before pursuing anything. Self-diagnosis and self-medicating can lead people down the wrong path and end up leaving many feeling more horrible than better.
Iliades, Chris. (2015). Spotting the Signs of Depression. Retrieved from http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/symptoms.aspx
National Institute of Mental Health. (2011). Depression. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml?rf=32471
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2015). Fast Facts about Mental Illness. Retrieved from http://www.cmha.ca/media/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/#.VZF_3BNVikp