What Is Depression?
It is certainly important to experience a full range of emotions in order to help us process and understand our life experiences. This means that there will be times when we all expect that we will feel a little sad, especially if our expectations are not met or we have to deal with the loss of someone or something very dear to us. These feelings of sadness are normal and expected. However, when feelings of sadness ‘stick’ and you can’t seem to snap out of it, or it’s more about feeling numb, it may signal something much more significant. Being unduly sad, whether expected or just out of the blue, suggests something more serious. Excessive sadness (either extensive or out of proportion to a particular event) and/or feelings of disinterest in things an individual would normally find interesting, accompanied by a number of other symptoms such as sleep disturbance, a significant change in eating (too much or loss of appetite), low energy levels, feelings of worthlessness, irritability, problems with concentration and/or memory, and possibly thoughts that the world would be better without you, signal that you could be suffering from Depression.
While the overall rate of depression is approximately 5%, a 2017 survey by Statistics Canada estimated that almost 11% of Canadians aged 15 to 24 years suffer from Depression. This is a significant and very serious problem that needs to be addressed. The period of adolescence is a significant period of change in our lives. There are bodily changes, hormonal shifts, transitions in self-perception, and academic decisions that can be quite overwhelming and confusing to the developing adolescent/ young adult. Another important issue is that while many people believe that only teens and adults can suffer from depression, this is just a myth. Even young children can feel depressed. However, there is a big difference in the way that young children look when they are depressed. Depressed children cannot articulate feelings in the same way that an adolescent or adult can, and as a result often present with behavioral struggles or anger outbursts when they are depressed.
Common Signs of Depression
A person with Depression might:
- Cry or become easily upset with little provocation
- Be overly sensitive
- Isolate themselves
- Withdraw from activities
- Eat less or more
- Suffer from insomnia or oversleep
A few things to look for:
- Isolative behaviors
- Lack of energy
- Removing oneself from previously enjoyed activities
- Not completing tasks
What Can I Do If I Am Worried About Someone Who May Have Depression?
If you are concerned about yourself or your child, speak with a health professional who can refer you and/or your child to an individual who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Depression. Assessments are in-depth and include an interview (with parents and child) as well as completion of questionnaires. Depression is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. There is significant research evidence that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can significantly help an individual manage mood symptoms, but other therapies such as Mindfulness (focuses on noticing experiences and focusing on the present), and Interpersonal Therapy (focusing on the skills required to address patterns of relationships and improving these) may also be helpful. Remember, it is important to make sure that your therapist has specific training and expertise in the treatment of choice, as this will make a significant difference in successful treatment outcomes. At Reframe Psychology Clinic we are an experienced group of clinicians who can assist you with your questions regarding depression and it’s treatment.
Ontario Association of Distress Centres
If you or your child is experiencing a significant crisis, there are 24-hour resources that you can access:
Kids Help Phone – 1-800-668-6868
Live Chat (online chat counseling) – visit www.kidshelpphone.ca
All emergencies should be directed to call 911.