Depression

In Canada the effects of depression are far and wide. Depression affects 6.5% of Canadian youth between the ages of 15-24. In older adults, 7% of seniors exhibit some symptoms of depression. Incidences of depression are diagnosed twice as frequent in women compared to men. It has also been linked to substance use (drugs, alcohol, and other addictive behaviours). Diverse cultural communities within British Columbia traditional cultural attitudes may make it difficult, or even taboo to discuss depression. For example in one BC study suggests that Chinese youth were twice as reluctant to talk about depression as their non-Chinese counter parts. 12-16% of Aboriginal people represent almost double the Canadian average for depression symptoms.

WHAT IS DEPRESSION?

Depression is a feeling of sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Depression must be taken seriously. It affects 15 million American adults in a given a year. Depression isn’t just a situational passing mood state. It is something more persistent. It affects your behavior, thoughts, and relationships. Depression can feel overwhelming and overpowering. Major depression is difficult to live with in Vancouver. The clouds and the rain sometimes add to the feeling of despair and sadness.

Major depression is only one type of depressive disorder. Another depressive disorder that is common in Vancouver is seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is also known as the “winter blues.” Dysthymia is a low grade form of depression, but it can sometimes stay for much longer time periods and go unnoticed, and almost become a way of life. There is also bipolar depression, or manic depressive disorder. People who are bipolar experience depression along with states of mania where one can feel elated and elevated with an excessive amount of energy and thoughts.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

There are many different symptoms of depression and we all deal with the symptoms in different ways. Some of us avoid the feelings by distracting ourselves or trying to control something that we have more influence over. Others are taken over by the symptoms to the point where they become practically paralyzed by them. And yet others act out in unhealthy ways by abusing drugs or alcohol. The signs and symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Feeling sad, down, hopeless, powerless, and helpless
  • Sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping at all
  • Eating too much or not eating enough
  • Feeling lethargic and having no or low energy
  • Low sense of self and self-worth
  • A feeling of shame or of not being good enough
  • Difficulty concentrating on things such as reading, listening to music or watching television
  • Thoughts that you would rather be dead or possibly hurt yourself in some way

If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms you should definitely see a therapist or a doctor.

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

There are many different causes of depression and it is often difficult to figure out what they are, or if there has been a triggering event. The therapeutic and medical fields of today believe that whatever the cause of depression, it is a biological, medical illness.

One of the causes of depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Three important neurotransmitters in the brain are norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. These neurotransmitters must be in a state of balance. If the chemicals are imbalanced it is believed that depression can set in.

Chemical imbalances can be passed on through genetics and they can leave us more prone to becoming depressed. However, just because it may run in the family doesn’t mean that you will definitely suffer from depression in your lifetime. If you do start to feel depressed there is usually a triggering event. These triggering events may be the breakup of a relationship or death of a loved one that causes severe grief and loss. Depression can also be brought on by adjustment issues. Vancouver attracts a lot of transplants from all over the country. These transplants may have a hard time adjusting to their new surroundings and could possibly start feeling alone and isolated, and this sometimes leads to feelings of depression. These are just a couple of triggering events that could lead to depressed feelings. There are many more reasons sadness could set in.

TREATMENTS FOR DEPRESSION

Depression can be partially treated with anti-depressant medication, but that is not something that I can prescribe. You would have to see a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or mental health nurse practitioner in order to receive medication management. If we both decide that it would be an appropriate form of treatment, then I would be happy to refer you to a practitioner.

I treat depression through talk therapy. Together we will gain insight into when your depression started and why it possibly began. We will start to develop a deep understanding of the sadness and study it together, while keeping an eye on when it comes up strongest and when it tends to feel more manageable. I will delve into your family and relationship history to get a better grasp on intimacy and the attachment patterns in your life. Your thoughts and behaviors will be discussed and new narratives and scripts will be presented to you that are more positive and healthy. A new set of coping skills will be explored to see if a healthy non-attachment will be able to treat the depression.

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If you’re struggling with depression and in need of help contact Lighthouse Counselling Vancouver to receive your free consultation.  For more information click here, or call 604-809-5848.  Help is just a click away!