Let’s Talk About … Depression

Depression has become one of the leading conditions of mental health concerns in our society over the course of the last century. With the increase in occurrence have also come misunderstandings and myths. Depression can occur at any age ? child, youth or adults can suffer from depression of all levels. Depression can occur from situational or biological circumstances.

Feeling blue, persistent negative thoughts, lack of concentration, sleep pattern change and moodiness are all a part of depression. Of course, these symptoms are only a few, and will be a change from your normal behaviours and will be occurring for more than two weeks to fit criteria for depression. For children, major depression can manifest with increased acting out behaviours, lack of bladder control and/or change sin appetite. Depression affects, or is the result of, chemistry changes in the brain, specifically, serotonin, dopamine and/or norepinephrine neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are unable to be produced, released or delivered in their intended manner for people suffering from depression.

Because the brain chemistry is not able to function in an optimal manner, the first course of action is to ensure eating, sleeping and regular forms of exercise are happening. Sometimes, the changes from choosing a vitamin rich salad provides the body with energy and nutrients that better allows the brain to work efficiently. Other times, a doctor may prescribe an antidepressant to boost the ability of the brain chemistry out correct itself. Antidepressants work in a way that allows regulated production, release and deliver of specific neurotransmitters. For example, common medications taken from the Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) category are Celexa, Paxil and Prozac.

Talking with a doctor, and being honest about the symptoms will make the choice of treatment the best for you. If you live with someone experiencing depression, educating yourself on causes and treatments may be beneficial. Support is helpful for all persons affected by depression and is advised for a quicker recover. Depression can last for weeks, months or years, depending on life circumstances and health factors. The Counselling Office has many books from self help manuals to a more clinical understanding ? drop by to look at them. A good resource for ordering your own books is odinbooks.ca ? they are based in Vancouver and will ship orders. Other helpful resources are The Depression Handbook and Living with Depression & Manic Depression both by Copeland.

If you want more information, have comments or concerns please give me a call at 242-5505 or write to janette.dixon@northernhealth.ca. Next issue: Common Sense?