Chances are good that you’ve heard of depression before – but unless you have direct experience with it, it’s difficult to understand the full scope of what it means. Many years of misinformation, misconceptions, and poor representation in pop culture have muddied the definition of depression, and contrary to what many people think, it is not just sadness or laziness. Depressive disorders go much deeper than that, and manifest in many different ways – which means it’s crucial to recognize the signs and understand how to help friends and family who are depressed.
Types of Depression
Depression types range from short, intense episodes to persistent, exhausting feelings that seem to never go away. There are a variety of causes – genetics, hormone imbalances, other medical conditions, even stress or poor nutrition – which makes it hard to set a strict definition of what depression is and how to treat it.
Some of the most common types are:
- Major Depressive Disorder (often called clinical depression)
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Postpartum depression
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Atypical depression (unique to each person)
Signs of Depression
While no two people will have the exact same set and scope of depression signs, there are some common symptoms and behaviours that should be noted:
- chronic depressed mood (especially for periods of days, weeks, or months)
- fatigue or lethargy
- difficulty concentrating
- lack of interest in activities, even enjoyable ones
- changes in weight or sleep patterns
- feelings of sadness, guilt, or low self-esteem
- feelings of hopelessness
- heightened sensitivity to rejection or other emotional situations
Everyone experiences these to some degree throughout daily life, but if they are becoming the norm rather than a periodic occurrence, you may be suffering from a form of depression.
Ways to Help
The good news is, there are more resources than ever to help with depression, and there are many things you can do in your day-to-day life that can mitigate some effects as well. Practices like proper nutrition (the right minerals and vitamin balances help with brain and body health) and suitable exercise can alleviate some symptoms, and may be all you need to get back in your groove.
However, you may also need more help than that – and that’s okay, too. Depression is a common issue and should not be ignored. Our therapists have many tools to help clients overcome theirs, including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), narrative therapy, supportive psychotherapy, and accelerated resolution therapy (ART). Within these methods are valuable tools that help with depression of any kind, and they can be used in conjunction with anti-depressants and other solutions to create a custom path forward for you.
Remember, whether it is a family member or a stranger, a schoolmate or a friend, when it comes to depression – you are not alone in recognizing it, dealing with it, or trying to help with it. If you need immediate assistance, there are resources such as the Alberta Health Services Mental Health helpline at 1-877-303-2642. For long-term strategies in dealing with depressive disorders, guided by a passionate team of experts, the counsellors of Your Counselling are here to help.
View all of our Counselling Services.