What Are the Signs of Depression?
Below is a list of the common signs of depression:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of interest in activities
- Changes in appetite or weight change
- Disturbed sleep
- Changes in activity (speeding up or slowing down)
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feeling guilty, self-blame
- Decreased ability to concentrate or make decisions
- Loss or decrease in libido
- Thinking about, or planning, suicide or death
Depression is not caused by a single factor, instead, it results from the interactions of various factors that are outlined below:
- Genetic risk
- Chemical imbalance and hormonal changes
- Negative or twisted thinking
- Coping Strategies
- Early trauma and loss
- Life events
- Lack of social supports, social rejection, stress
- Marital and relationship issues
Depression/anxiety continues to be Canada’s fastest-rising diagnosis. From 1994 to 2004, visits for depression/anxiety made to doctors almost doubled. In 2003, that meant 11.6 million people consulted their doctor for symptoms related to depression/anxiety. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) depression will be the leading cause of disability among developed nations by 2020.
Depression can be experienced on a continuum from mild to severe. The feelings associated with depression can make daily functioning difficult, and in some cases debilitating. Depression is a normal experience in many circumstances, for example, after a loss (eg. loss of a loved one, pet, job, etc). According to Health Canada and Statistics Canada, between 7.9% – 8.6% of adult Canadians will experience a major depression/anxiety at some point during their lifetime, and around 5% will in a given year. On Jan. 12, 2007, Statistics Canada found that half a million Canadian workers experienced depression and most of them — almost 80 per cent — say the symptoms interfere with their ability to work. 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.
It is vital to know that you are more than how you may be currently feeling, i.e. you are not defined by depression. Depression is not weakness!
Depression in Women
Women have made tremendous strides over the years in terms of education, job opportunities and equality. Yet, women are under a tremendous amount of pressure in day-to-day living. Even though men have become more involved in child-rearing and household chores, women are more often than not, the primary care-giver and household manager. Due to women’s caring and nurturing abilities, they tend to put everyone else’s needs before their own. This has contributed to depression/anxiety being the leading cause of disability in women. Depression/anixety in women occurs most frequently between the ages of 25 and 44. Married women have higher rates of depression than single women, with depression most likely occurring during childbearing years. Only one of every three depressed women will seek professional help. Almost 15 percent of women suffering from severe depression will commit suicide. It is imperative that women start caring for themselves, and give themselves permission to do so.
Depression in Men
Men often cope with depression through substance abuse or anger. It is time for men to face themselves and have the courage to get help. If men do not reach out for help, the consequences could be dire. Men are three times as likely as women to commit suicide. Suicide is most common among men who are separated, widowed, divorced. One in seven men will develop depression/anxiety within 6 months of becoming unemployed. Retired men are also at an increased risk for depression/anxiety.
Depression in Children
Adults need to understand the emotional, relational, and psychological pressures and stress young people feel. Research indicates that the rates of depression/anxiety occur earlier than in previous decades. Depression/anxiety rates are equal among boys and girls during childhood. However, during adolescence (puberty), girls are twice as likely to experience depression/anxiety. If depression/anxiety is in your family history, children will be more vulnerable to depression/anxiety.
A nationwide survey of Canadian youth by Statistics Canada found that 6.5%—more than a quarter million youth and young adults between 15 and 24—met the criteria for major depression in the past year.
It is vital to know that you are more than how you may be currently feeling, i.e. you are not defined by depression. Depression is not weakness! If you feel that depression has a hold on your life, professional help is available. Therapists can be an intrinsic part of your health team and will offer strategies to help lift the fog of depression.