Did you know that in any given year, about 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health or addiction problem? Mental illness can either directly or indirectly affect all of us at some time – all the more reason why talking about it and knowing what to do to either help yourself personally or support a loved one is so important.
Major depressive disorder is more than just the “blues”. It’s ok to feel down and sad on occasion but when feelings of severe despair occur over an extended period of time, it’s time to get some help. Depression can affect every aspect of life, from physical health to relationships to work or school performance. There are a number of common signs and symptoms of depression and it’s important to be able to recognize them. Symptoms include but are no limited to:
- Changes in appetite – either an increase or decrease
- Sleep disturbances – insomnia (inability to get or stay asleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
- Gastrointestinal upsets – abdominal pain, constipation and/or diarrhea
- Difficulty with decision making
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and guilt
- Low self-esteem
- Withdrawal from social, work and leisure activities
- Reduced self-care
Seeking help from a qualified health care professional is incredibly important for depression, as well as any mental health condition. There is no need to suffer in silence and there are a number of various resources available for support. From counselling and talk therapies to peer support to medications to naturopathic support, it’s important to know what is out there for treatment and what is going to work best for your circumstances. Educate yourself about the condition and the options available in your area for support so you can make informed treatment decisions.
My best neutral advice for someone suffering from depression is to establish a routine.
From a naturopathic perspective, treatment of depression is multifactorial and is usually approached from a complimentary aspect. Naturopathic support will depend on what treatments have already been implemented and/or what other co-morbid diagnoses are present. From nutrient therapies to botanical therapies to acupuncture and infusion therapies, treatment plans are highly individualized and take into account any current treatments that the patient may be doing so as to compliment them as best as possible.
My best neutral advice for someone suffering from depression is to establish a routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time, eating consistent and nourishing meals, maintaining a regular exercise routine and scheduling in social time with close friends and family are all great ideas. Having a routine means consistency and supporting feelings of self-worth and confidence – all of which are needed in the journey to recovery.
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. If you or a loved one suffers from depression, it’s time to get some help. Seeking support from a health care provider on the regular is not only important for ensuring a proper treatment plan but also to maintain accountability for progress during recovery.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (n.d.). Mental Illness and Addictions: Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.camh.ca
Mood Disorders Society of Canada. (n.d.) Depression. Retrieved from http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca