Being “down in the dumps” is a normal part of life but when someone experiences depression it is far more involved. Depression is an extended period of despair that can affect well-being, emotions, employment and even physical health.
Depression is something more than just feeling blue, it is a pervasive feeling of sadness or even apathetic indifference to life in general. It can encompass day to day life and drain a person to the point of helplessness. There are different degrees of depression.
“For patients with depression, we have certainly seen encouraging results on how medical cannabis can elevate their mood and help with related symptoms, such as energy levels.”
– Dr. Singh, one of Apollo’s psychiatrists
Major depression: some people may only experience depression once (or hopefully never!) but others can have depression that recurs throughout their lives. Despite this, it can be monitored and treated to reduce symptoms and probability of it resurfacing.
Dysthymia: is a type of low-grade depression where feeling depressed is something that is regarded as a normal part of their personality. It is long-lasting and may go unrecognized due to its sense of “normalcy” in the patient.
Bipolar Disorder: otherwise known as “manic” depression, bipolar disorder involves varied mood swings. These episodes can include impulsive behaviour, hyperactivity and poor sleep. Treating bipolar is much different than regular depression.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): also known as winter depression, SAD is when people feel a surge of depression during the winter months, impacting activities, social life and mood. It usually remains until late spring or early summer.
Post-Partum Depression: is a mood disorder that affects new parents, mostly mothers. It is usually attributed to chemical and hormonal changes in the brain, along with sleep deprivation.
Depression can affect people very differently, with many conflicting or contradicting symptoms. The following symptoms may be emblematic of someone going through clinical depression:
- Insomnia OR excessive sleeping
- Lack of appetite OR Overeating
- Lack of concentration
- Unnecessary guilt
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
A common misconception is that anxiety disorders and mental illnesses can just “go away” on their own. Mental illnesses require attention, diagnosis and treatment like any other clinical illness. As the different forms of depression can affect people differently, so too can the types of treatment available.
Therapy and medication are both viable options and can often work well on their own or together, depending on the case. It is important to consider taking the time to find the right treatment program, as dependency on medication and the resulting unwanted side effects are not appealing for a long term treatment.
Thinking of suicide? There is help for you. Call the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention hotline, toll free, 24 hours a day 833-456-4566.
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