We are going to talk about depression. You might be cringing at the thought of this topic, wanting to click away, or maybe you want to stick around because the pandemic has taken a toll on you or someone you know. Perhaps you left the workforce to take care of the kids, or you started a new job working from home, and life feels impossible. It could be that you or someone you know is curious about starting therapy, but social stigmas or therapy costs have often stood in the way of accessing care. You might also be here hoping there’s an easy way of getting out of depression. The truth is, there’s no easy way out, but there are options to get through.
In this article, we hope you will better understand depression, including its different types, signs and symptoms, causes and risk factors, diagnosis and treatment options. We’ll also explain how it impacts different ages and gender and how to find the right support for you.
What is depression?
Depression is a complex and serious mood disorder commonly known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. It impacts individuals at varying levels of severity. It affects one in four Canadians, a reminder that you or someone you know is not alone in thinking about whether or not life is worth living. Depression can be described as incessant feelings of sadness and loss of interest and can either last a few days or can be long-term. Depression is also not something you can easily snap out of and requires treatment, like talk therapy and/or prescription medication, to help make symptoms more manageable and life more liveable.
Types of depression
There are many types of depression and depressive mood disorders. While it’s necessary to know about them, it’s important to work with a trained therapist or doctor to understand the type that may or may not be impacting you. Here is a snapshot of the different types of depression:
Three major types of depression:
- Major Depressive Disorder (or Clinical Depression)
- Dysthymia or
- Bipolar Disorder
Other common types of depression:
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Perinatal Depression
- Postpartum Depression
- Depression with Psychosis
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Why Is depression in women so high?
Multiple reports show a higher rate of depression in women than in men, a gap that has only widened since the pandemic. A 2022 survey led by Dr. Samantha Wells at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) believed these increases were a result of these women “carrying a disproportionate burden, including imbalances in caregiving responsibilities.” These women also struggled to find affordable mental health support, which may be the case for you or someone you know. The same study reported that social isolation was the likely cause for increased cases of depression in children, with older adults not far behind.
Signs and symptoms: Detecting depression
Signs and symptoms appear differently for everyone. The below information is simply a guideline. Remember that while many may sound familiar to you, it is recommended that you speak with a certified practitioner.
Individuals with depression may experience increased levels of:
- Sadness, emptiness, and helplessness
- Anger outbursts, irritability and frustration
- Insomnia and/or tiredness
- Hallucinations (hearing voices) and delusions (strange ideas)
- Crying, or wanting to cry
- Physical pain
- Weight gain
People may also experience decreased:
- Interest in pleasurable activities like sex, hobbies, or sports
- Ability to concentrate, remember or make decisions
- Ability to perform at work, in school or in other social relationships
If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please reach out for professional help. In an emergency, call The Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. Connect with an Inkblot therapist today for ongoing support working through difficult thoughts and feelings.
If the person shares that they are considering self-harm, take them seriously. Listen and support, do not leave them. Call 911 or, if agreeable, take them to the nearest emergency room.
What are the causes and risk factors of depression?
Causes and associated risk factors appear differently for everyone. We recommend you connect with a certified practitioner or doctor to understand family medical history.
Potential causes of depression:
- Brain chemistry
- Biology (hormones)
Potential risk factors
- Commonly start in teens, 20s or 30s
- Common in women
Possible triggers of depression:
- Alcohol and recreational drug abuse
- Death or loss
- Financial issues
- Relationship troubles
- Prejudice and/or social stress
- Some medications
Diagnosis and treatment for depression is different for everyone
Asking for support is the right thing to do.
Noticing depressive symptoms could push you or someone you know to inquire about support. Many people have greatly benefited from various types of talk and drug therapy to reduce depressive symptoms. As hard as it may be to start the dialogue, speaking with a doctor or care professional about treatment options can be highly beneficial.
Treatments may include:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Pharmacotherapy, and
- Brain stimulation therapy.
While depression may be tough to detect, knowing its causes can help prevent future episodes.
How to potentially prevent depression:
- Consistent talk and drug therapy treatment
- Social support (family/friends)
- Stress management
- Reducing alcohol and drug use
Learn more about women’s mental health awareness, symptoms and support.
Get support for depression and other mental health concerns
We hope that we have managed to drive home the seriousness of depression. Whether you or someone you know might be living with depression — remember that you are not alone. Room For Her exists to help remove the barriers women face in accessing therapy, including not knowing how to find a therapist, long wait times, and the costs, inconvenience, and time spent travelling to and from traditional in-person therapy.
Try one year of free self-guided digital therapy today.