What is this painful condition that destroys from within, yet remains invisible and misunderstood? The one that disturbs and upsets most inner thoughts? The disease that no one wants to name out loud? We will help you decode this strange disease called depression.
1. What is depression?
In a time where success is measured in dollars and performance, both professionally and personally, and where life consists of work-eat-sleep-repeat, depression can hit hard. It is a multifaceted disorder that can affect mood, thoughts and behaviour as well as physical health. It’s a disorder of the body and mind stemming from a chemical imbalance in the brain, causing a disruption of nerve cell activity and communication. The well-being, health and overall function of an individual can be deeply affected by it.
2. Who is affected?
Depression can affect people of all ages, although it hits twice as many women as men. This psychiatric disorder is common and the fastest-growing among all misdiagnosed disorders. One out of five Canadians will be afflicted at some point.
3. What are the causes of depression?
The causes are complex and multifaceted. Here are the most common ones:
- significant event (death, divorce, job loss, etc.);
- stress and exhaustion;
- Parkinson’s disease, hypothyroidism, cancer, heart attack, etc.;
- certain medications;
- alcohol and drug abuse.
4. How can you recognize it?
Life is full of unfortunate events and pitfalls. Anyone can feel sad or depressed following a death, an accident, an illness or some other major stress. However, these feelings are usually temporary. If you experience five or more of the following symptoms every day for at least two weeks, you should see your doctor:
- persistent feelings of sadness and despair;
- feelings of guilt and unworthiness;
- loss of interest in daily activities;
- sleep disorders (insomnia or excessive sleeping);
- dark ideas, suicidal thoughts;
- concentration and memory problems;
- irritability, aggressiveness, extreme sensitivity (crying for no reason);
- fatigue and significant decrease in energy;
- problems with eating (anorexia or overeating);
- drop in libido;
- agitation or slowness of movement & speech;
- physical pain of all types: headaches, stomachaches, weakness, numbness, digestive problems.
5. How can you treat it?
Depression is a real disease and not a sign of weakness. If you recognize any of these symptoms, don’t try to fix it alone. Depression is treatable, and a diagnosis is the first step towards recovery.
Treatment often consists of antidepressants to stabilize mood, and psychotherapy. This combination is the most effective to date. Other medications may be prescribed to treat related symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. Seek and accept help from close ones; isolation and embarrassment will only prolong recovery.
Fighting depression doesn’t come with the wave of a magic wand! The process is long and complex, but if you put in the effort, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can return to your normal state. Be kind to yourself! There are many community organizations as well as mental health support groups out there. Don’t be afraid to open your heart and share your most inner thoughts with others. Sometimes, all you need is a good listener to show you the way.
If you have any questions or concerns about depression, don’t hesitate to talk to your pharmacist-owner affiliated to Brunet. Because your health is all that matters.
Certain products, foods and changes in lifestyle may not be good for you. Always consult your pharmacist or health professional to evaluate what’s best for you.
Read more on the subject
Depression: an illness that can be treatedRead article +
Antidepressants: how to manage their side effectsRead article +