A GUIDE TO DEPRESSION

— Dr. MA Katzman, Dr. Jean Goulet —

Un paysage bucolique avec le triangle de virage de la voie ferrée. Photo : Archives de la STM
Un paysage bucolique avec le triangle de virage de la voie ferrée. Photo : Archives de la STM
 

What is Depression?

We all get "depressed" from time-to-time. Most often these feelings are short-lived and our moods improve when things change. We get back to being our "old selves".

But for many people, the symptoms of depression are more severe and last much longer — a condition known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). It is very different from "feeling down" or "having the blues". If left untreated for long periods, it can seriously affect sleep patterns, appetite, energy levels, and physical well-being. Negative thoughts, a sense of helplessness or hopelessness, and always feeling sad, are symptoms of people suffering from MDD. In clinical depression, symptoms reflect a clear change from the person's usual behavior. In this section of the website, when we mention depression we are referring to Major Depressive Disorder.

While depression can occur at any time, it is most common in adults between the ages of 18 and 44. Depression can start in childhood or adolescence and go unnoticed because the symptoms — moodiness, irritability, and risk-taking behavior — are seen as common teenage problems. When depression is diagnosed in people over the age of 55 it is called Late-Onset Depression. It is a problem that often goes unreported because it is mistaken for simply "growing old". Usually people who develop Late-Onset Depression have a prior history of depression.

A common myth is that depression affects only those who can't manage life's ups and downs or those who lack willpower. This is UNTRUE. Depression is a medical illness.

The truth about Depression

  • Depression is a medical illness.
  • Roughly 20% of the general population will suffer from Depression or a related
    Anxiety Disorder within their lifetime.
  • Depression is a life long illness that often comes and goes.
  • Depression is a treatable illness.

It is important to understand that it is not your fault you feel this way, and that help is available. Talk to your doctor or visit related organizations on the web.

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