Understanding Depression

One in five people will suffer from major depression during their lifetime, yet two thirds are not getting the help they need. Widespread myths and misinformation are partly to blame; but the main problem is public stigma. Most won't even talk to a family member or friend about their illness, let alone a family doctor or mental health professional.

Mental health experts believe that much of the misinformation stems from the ambiguity of the term depression.The word “depressed” is a common, everyday word that is used to describe multiple conditions and experiences.

People might say “I’m depressed” when in fact they are feeling down because they lost their job, had a fight with their spouse, or failed an exam. Other’s might say “I’m depressed” when they are experiencing burnout, PMS or heartbreak.

These are the normal ups and downs of life and most people recover in time. More painful life events like divorce, abuse, and the loss of a loved one require much longer to heal. Truth be told, we will always have some painful memories when we lose a loved one under tragic circumstances, such as the death of a child, suicide or car accident.

Because many people equate normal situational sadness with depressive illness, they tend to form the attitude: “I was depressed, and I got over it. What’s the matter with you?"

Clinical depression is a neurobiological disease of the brain. It is not the blues, sadness or grief. It is a biological brain disorder with complex and debilitating physical, mental and emotional symptoms. In most cases, depressive illness requires medication to restore brain function; delaying treatment can destroy brain cells.

The human brain contains approximately 100 billion nerve cells. It should come as no surprise that this complex, intricate organ is vulnerable to illness just like any other part of the body. In addition to a neurological brain disorder, many other physical disorders can cause depressed moods. These include thyroid disease, infections, pernicious anemia, liver or kidney disease, nutritional deficiency, Parkinson's disease, stroke, severe concussions, and other illnesses. Also, some people experience depressed mood as a side effect of certain medications, such as beta-blockers, high blood pressure drugs, some Parkinson's medications, calcium channel blockers, estrogens, and benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety pills and sleeping medications). This is not a complete list. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are taking.
Read more about Clinical Depression and its causes and treatment

Most people with depressed moods do not have a brain disorder. Brain function is normal and anti-depressant medication will not help and could worsen symptoms in the long term. Many things can cause non-clinical depressed moods. .
Read more about non-clinical depression; the causes and recovery strategies

To overcome depression, you must understand the cause. It may be just one thing, or there can be a combination of factors.

For easy navigation, DepressionFree.com divides depression into two main categories and numerous sub-categories. In real life, depression is complex and many factors can interact to cause depressed moods. You will get the most out of this site by perusing all the pages.

This website is designed to give you general information about the many types of depression; the possible causes and treatment. It should not be used to replace the advice of a medical doctor
Read full disclaimer

Includes information on: major depressive disorder, bi-polar disorder, anxiety disorders, and post-partum depression.

Includes information on depressed mood stemming from chronic stress and adrenal exhaustion, painful life events, childhood trauma, female hormones, mental and emotional habits, and lack of a life purpose..

Warning: If you are experiencing the symptoms of depressive illness, see your medical doctor for a complete examination. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call an ambulance or go to the nearest emergency ward. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of a medical doctor or mental health professional.



 Mental Health News

Neuroplasticity reduced in brains of people with depression
The brains of people with depression show a reduced ability to adapt to their environment, learning and memory. a unique study shows. This is one of the first objective tests to show that depression is linked to decreased neuroplasticity. The magnetic stimulation tests also showed the lesssened neuroplasticity was not related to how much effort the person made. Read more

Doctors urge mental health screenings with physical exams
Most people don't address mental health issues until they drastically interfere with their lives, says a new study. This could be avoided with regular screenings.
Read more - USA Today

Calgary Flames Hockey Coach talks about his battle with OCD and depression
Facing a losing battle with depression, OCD and heavy drinking, Clint Malarchuk put a bullet to his bed. Miraculously, he survivived. Today he tells his story to corporations and high schools. "What makes me any different than a diabetic or someone with high cholesterol or a heart condition. You need medication, you take it."
Read more - Calgary Sun

Canada launches wokplace standards for mental health and safety
The Mental Health Commission of Canada released a standardized tool to help Canadian companies promote mental health, reduce stigma and support employees dealing with mental illness.
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Magnetic helmet "rewires" the brain
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a helmet using magnets to treat depression in patients who have failed to respond to antidepressant medications.
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Toronto's CAMH launches Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention
A $7.2 million donation from the Temerty Family Foundation will fund research into promising new treatments for persistent and severe mental illness, including Canada's first clinic using Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST). Read more

Calgary researchers could help depression sufferers get well sooner
A new pilot project at Foothills Medical Centre and the University of Calgary could one day help people with major depression get well sooner. The study will use blood and urine tests and brain scans to determine if there is a biological marker that will help selecting the most effective medication. Read more


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