Symptoms of Depression
Depression can feel like a long, difficult journey, like a dark hole we can’t crawl out of. For some, depression may be a continuous low mood throughout their life and for others, depression can look more immediate and sudden. Many Canadians may also notice their moods change with the seasons due to lack of daylight hours and Vitamin D. This is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Mild depression is common for many. You may not feel depressed all the time. People may struggle with a depressive episode and then feel for a brief time, better. However, depression may also feel more intense. Think about what could be impacting a depressive episode. Could it be due to a life experience that’s causing great pain such as a recent loss or medical illness? A recent change in your life? Work stress? New drug administration such as birth control pills? Starting other medications?
There can be a lot of environmental factors that impact our mental health and increase depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms may look like fatigue, a felt sense of numbness, decrease or increase in appetite, weight gain, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, decision fatigue, a felt sense of feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, suicide symptoms, increased irritability, anxiety symptoms, loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, sleeping too much and still not feeling rested or not sleeping much at all, chronic and severe irritability.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency hospital.
Depressive disorders like to tell you that you are alone in how you are feeling.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
We are here for you to support you in navigating this felt sense of intense heaviness. Our team of counsellors use a variety of treatment options.
Treatments for depression include:
EMDR (Brain stimulation therapies) - PTSD, Trauma, Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Phobias
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)- Anxiety Disorders, Personality Disorders, mood disorders, Eating Disorders, Self Harm, Suicidal Behaviour, Phobias, Sleep Disorders and trouble sleeping, OCD, Motivation, ADHD, Panic, Emotional Dysregulation, Bipolar, Depression
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)- Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety, Clinical Depression (Any Mood Disorder), Trauma, Suicidal Behaviour, Self Harm, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Motivation, Panic, Emotional Dysregulation, Bipolar Disorder , Interpersonal Therapy
Solution Focused Therapy- Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Self Esteem, Personal stress and work related stress, Relationship Concerns, Emotional Dysregulation
Person Centered Therapy: Grief and loss, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Stress, Abuse, Self Esteem, Self worth, Career Counselling, Relationships, Panic, Personality Disorders
Emotion Focused: Anxiety Disorders, Personality Disorders, Depression, PTSD, Couples Therapy, Building Healthier relationships
How can counselling help you relieve symptoms of depression?
Break goals down into smaller steps
Help you build motivation and strength
Support you with other mental disorders such as anxiety disorders as they are closely linked with depression
Build coping skills - mindfulness strategies, progressive muscle relaxation
Vagus Nerve stimulation
Support you with appropriate referrals if needed
Explore underlying causes that could be contributing to how you are feeling.
Challenge automatic thought patterns that continue to perpetuate the cycle of depression
Guide you in creating more connection and support in your life with people who are there to help you
Navigate your emotions more effectively so that you feel a greater sense of control
Connecting you with other professionals in the community to explore other possible medical illnesses or medical condition that could be impacting how you experience depression. This may result in a doctor recommending other treatment options such as antidepressant medications. Sometimes, it is a matter of your brain chemistry that is off and causing a mental illness.
Types of Depression
Persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia, is a continuous long-term and chronic form of depression. Persistent depressive disorder may significantly impact your interpersonal relationships, school, work, and daily activities, making it hard to function day to day. Extreme depression can result in psychotic depression. In this case, people may be experiencing such severe depression that it includes some form of psychosis, such as hallucinations, delusions, or other breaks with reality.
Other forms of depression are perinatal depression and postpartum depression. Perinatal depression occurs before the baby is born and postpartum depression can occur after the baby is born. Hormones during pregnancy can be like being on a roller coaster of emotions. It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of women will develop a mood disorder during or after pregnancy.
Another type of depression can be premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe, sometimes disabling extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMDD can cause extreme mood swings, anxiety, irritability, anger, sadness, and hopelessness and usually occurs between 7 to 10 days before your period.
Depression and depression symptoms affect many adults and likes to tell you that you are alone in how you are feeling. YOU ARE NOT ALONE . If any of this feels relable to you, you may want to seek support with a mental health professional. At Alberta Mental Health, we are here to help you reduce symptoms of depression.
Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Right For You?
CBT is one of the most evidence-based psychological interventions for the treatment of severe depression, moderate depression, mild depression, and anxiety disorders. These mental disorders respond more effectively to treatment when CBT therapy is paired with pharmacotherapy (the use of other medications) than when pharmacotherapy is the sole method of treatment. Clients who pair the two methods together to treat depression also have a lower relapse rate.
Of all the other treatments for a mood disorder, CBT is a treatment for depressive symptoms that statistically works: It is the coming together targeted work on moods and thoughts with behavior and patterns. A therapist for depression will be able to help repair your mental health regardless of your diagnosis, whether you are struggling with clinical depression, bipolar depression, persistent depressive disorder, or a major depressive disorder. Alberta Mental Health therapists work to identify the specific negative thought patterns and behavioral responses embedded in mental disorders.
Do You Have Persistent Depressive Disorder?
The most common form is major depression disorder, affecting millions of adults in North America alone. While major depressive disorder may come in cycles, with the person feeling symptom-free at times, Persistent Depressive Disorder is a long-term form of depression with depression symptoms lasting for years. It is the timing and consistency of these mild to severe symptoms which distinguish the two mood disorders.
In order to be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder, a person must report having had it for at least two years in a manner where the depression affects their outlook on life constantly, colouring their outlook on life entirely.
In general, symptoms of persistent depressive disorder are on the more mild side, coming about in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. However, these symptoms may appear mild to the person due to the constant existence of the medical condition. In essence, even severe symptoms can be normalized. It is even possible that an individual falls into an episode of major depression before reverting back to their normal depressive state classified as persistent depressive disorder.
Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder:
Feeling Irritable, mood swings
Either a lack of appetite or overeating
Either lack of ability to sleep or over sleeping
Fatigue, low energy
Low self esteem
Trouble concentrating or making decisions
Feelings of hopelessness
Either a depressed mood lasting in waves or constant state of depression
Less interest or pleasure in most or all activities
Feeling worthless or guilty
Unintentionally losing or gaining a significant amount of weight
What depression treatment is best for major depressive disorder?
Because there are so many variations of mood disorders - ranging from bipolar disorder to perinatal depression- it is imperative that a mental health professional help you to understand your mental illness further. This may also include a referral to a psychiatrist for further assessment and diagnosis.
A therapist may use any combination of talk therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, or EMDR (using bilateral brain stimulation therapies) in supporting you in breaking free of depression. Other depression treatment options in therapy may include progressive muscle relaxation, vagus nerve stimulation to treat major depressive disorder. Treatment options are centred around your individual needs, which is why speaking with a therapist as soon as you feel comfortable to do so is critical for improving any medical conditions.