Hamilton Recognizing the Symptions Of Depression

(NC)-While most Canadians have experienced a period of sadness at some point in their lives, real depression is a serious medical condition that can profoundly affect a person's life and the lives of those around them

How can you tell the difference between a case of the blues and major depressive disorder? There is no blood test or x-ray to diagnose depression, but there are symptoms that you can watch out for:

  • Extremely sad or very bad tempered - or both
  • Highly agitated or sluggish and inert
  • Despairing, guilty or unworthy feelings
  • Suicidal - expressing thoughts and sometimes, making plans
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Fatigue and overall loss of energy
  • Unable to concentrate and make decisions
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Detachment from life and key relationships

According to the Mood Disorders Society of Canada (mooddisorderscanada.ca), depression is diagnosed when a person has been experiencing at least five of these symptoms for a period of two weeks or more.

The good news is that eventually, researchers estimate that 80 per cent of people do respond well to treatment, which can include:

  • Psychotherapy, or "talk therapy", which can include cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, family therapy or group therapy.
  • Peer support
  • Lifestyle changes such as proper sleep, a structured exercise regime, and realistic goal-setting.
  • Antidepressant medications that can control emotional, physical and functional symptoms

The most important first step is an open discussion with doctors about the broad range of symptoms, particularly functional symptoms which are often over-looked. Only then is it possible to work together to ensure the best treatment and care for a return to full functioning in all aspects of life.

Patients should speak with their physician if they have concerns about functional symptoms to ensure they are receiving the best treatment option for their individual needs.

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