All of us experience emotions such as anger, sadness and joy. We can usually control our emotions and are able to manage them daily.
People suffering from depression experience negative emotions more intensely and for longer than most. They have difficulty controlling their emotions and may have the impression that life is limited to constant suffering. They have a hard time fulfilling their professional, family and social obligations.
Depression manifests itself in various forms:
People suffering from depression experience physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms are present most of the time for a period lasting at least 2 weeks.
Here are the more frequent physical symptoms of depression:
The most frequent psychological symptoms in people suffering from depression include:
Do not wait until you are no longer able to function before consulting. If you have symptoms, there are mental health organizations and associations that can provide information and offer help and support. Read the Help and Resources section to find out what resources are available.
See your family doctor or another health professional if you are suffering to the point that:
A health professional can assess if you are suffering from depression or experiencing another health problem with similar symptoms. To properly evaluate your condition, it might be necessary to conduct a physical exam or laboratory tests. You will be offered a treatment plan that is adapted to your needs.
If you have suicidal thoughts and fear for your safety or that of people around you, read Preventing Suicide. You will find further information on available help and resources.
Depression can be treated with recognized treatments. Treatment allows people suffering from depression to regain control of their lives and daily activities. The earlier you seek help, the faster you will heal.
In most cases, depression is treatable through psychotherapy or with antidepressants, or a combination of the two.
Experts generally recommend cognitive behavioural therapy to treat depression. This form of psychotherapy aims to change a person’s thoughts and problematic behaviour and replace them with thoughts and responses that are appropriate to reality. It also helps with establishing strategies to find balance.
Other therapies are also available depending on the patient’s needs.
Antidepressants are drugs that restore the brain’s chemical balance. They decrease the intensity of physical symptoms and help:
If your doctor prescribes medication, it is important that you follow the instructions carefully.
You must also be patient in waiting for results. It can take up to 4 to 8 weeks before the medication produces maximum results.
Even if you feel better, you must continue the treatment as prescribed in order to avoid the reoccurrence of symptoms.
If you experience undesirable side effects, discuss them with your doctor as soon as possible. Your dose could be adjusted or other medication may be recommended.
People suffering from depression can also experience other problems, including:
Depression is not always preventable, but if you have symptoms associated with depression, you should act immediately. The tips for maintaining good mental health will help you change certain lifestyle habits. These changes will not heal you, but they will help improve your health and reduce the number of factors that worsen or influence your condition.
Depression doesn’t always have a single cause. It is often a combination of several factors that leads to symptoms of depression. Here are a few of these factors:
Depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, social status, education, nationality or ethnic origin.
People with depression are sometimes victims of their own prejudices and those of society. These prejudices discourage people from seeking help or continuing their treatment. To learn more about prejudices and how to fight them, read Fighting the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness.
Resources are available for help and to obtain more information about mood disorders:
You can also consult the Mental Health (Mental Illness) page for more available resources.
To receive care or services, or to find a psychotherapist with whom you feel comfortable, contact one of the following resources:
To find contact information for your family medicine clinic, your CISSS or your CIUSSS, go to Finding a Resource.
Last update: August 3, 2016 12:19 PM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.