Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders. The World Health Organization estimates that 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide. While more common in women than men, it is the number one leading cause of disability. Depression can vary in severity, duration and the impact it can have on your life; however, there is always a greater risk of relapse when left untreated.
Am I suffering from depression?
Depression can make everyday chores feel impossible; taking a shower can seem like climbing a mountain and going to work or school can seem even worse. Activities that you enjoyed don't seem to matter anymore. You no longer want to see family members or friends. You may feel like crying all the time or you might feel "numb", as though you've lost your emotions. You may feel like life is not worth living.
Major depression is characterized by intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness and/or a complete loss of pleasure from doing activities you used to enjoy. You may experience a deep sense of worthlessness, have an overwhelming sense of guilt and in severe cases can become suicidal. You may experience disturbances in sleep (either sleep too much or too little), appetite (eating too much or too little) and experience a loss of sex drive. Depression can result in many symptoms although not all of them are needed to make a diagnosis. In moderate to severe cases it may prevent you from fulfilling daily obligations, such as attending school, work or even socializing with friends and family. If you feel like these symptoms describe you help is available.
Treatment for depression
Depression can be treated with use of medication and psychotherapy. In cases of mild to moderate depression, psychotherapy alone may be sufficient. In cases of more severe depression, a combination of both medication and psychotherapy provides the most optimal outcome.
As a psychologist, I provide psychotherapy as a treatment for depression. The most widely used approach is cognitive behavioural therapy (also known as CBT) which looks at how your thoughts and behaviours impact your mood. This treatment focuses on you working collaboratively with the therapist to develop your ability to look at things from a different perspective. If you are located in Montreal or the West Island and would like to consult for depression, feel free to contact me to obtain more information.