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Depression affects thousands of Canadians of all ages. Would you know how to recognize it if you were afflicted by it?
You haven’t been yourself for some time now... Your legendary joie de vivre and your boundless energy seem to have been replaced by a feeling of melancholy and great fatigue. You can’t seem to concentrate or complete your daily tasks like you did before. Have you considered that you may be in a depression?
Depression is under-diagnosed and is all too often under-estimated even though it is quite widespread. It is as common as other serious chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, with reports each year of more than 1 million Canadians who are said to experience what is called a “major depressive episode”.
According to Health Canada, roughly 11% of Canadian men and 16% of Canadian women will suffer from major depression in the course of their lifetime. It affects young people between the ages of 15 and 24 more than people in other age groups. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disease in the world, after cardiovascular disease.
In very simple terms, it can be said that depression results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. When we are depressed, our body and mind send us warning signs to alert us that something is wrong. Listening to these warning signs will allow you to obtain an early diagnosis and implement the appropriate measures to remedy the situation.
Depression should not be confused with having the blues. It is normal to find it difficult to face certain difficulties in our lives or to feel exhausted from time to time. Lethargy, sadness and fatigue are some of the symptoms a person experiences when faced with difficulties such as grieving, job loss, intense stress, etc. The main difference between depression (in terms of a health problem) and having the blues, is the extent and severity of the symptoms.
Here are a few examples of signs and symptoms that may point to depression:
If you notice that someone you know is “not quite him/herself”, has unusual or surprising behaviours, withdraws within him/herself or has begun to “let things slide”, is agitated or inattentive, it may be due to depression.
Signs of depression are not always obvious. People sometimes continue to lead what appears to be a normal existence, but inside they are suffering. This is why it is important to be attentive to changes in attitude and behaviour within ourselves and in our loved ones.
If you think you may be suffering from depression, here are a few tips:
For more information on depression and the ways to treat it, don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist, who will listen and help you with strict confidentiality.
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