Depression is a common mental illness affecting millions of people globally. It's the leading cause of disease related disability amongst adults. Although more women than men are affected by depression, research shows a significant number of men suffer in silence and go undiagnosed.

Depression causes an individual to experience significant mood fluctuations, dominated by persistent sadness. It's often accompanied by symptoms that can result in an individual to be withdrawn from society and everyday activities. Although many effective treatments exist for depression, a significant portion of the population goes untreated. Possible reasons for this include cost, lack of resources, social stigma or incorrect diagnoses.

In severe cases, an individual may experience suicidal thoughts or attempts. Suicide due to depression is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-29.

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Types of depression

Clinical Depression

Clinical depression, or major depression, is the most common form of depression. It’s considered moderate in severity. However, it tends to severely interfere with one’s ability to perform everyday activities such as work, exercise, sleeping and eating habits.

Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is the most severe instance of depression. This form of depression causes one to lose touch with reality. The individual tends to experience episodes of hallucinations and delusions ranging in severity.

Dysthymia

Dysthymia, or chronic depression, consists of persistent, long-term symptoms of depression which tend to interfere with an individual’s ability to perform everyday activities, similar to clinical depression.

Bipolar Depression

Bipolar depression, or manic depression, causes an individual to experience severe changes in behavior and moods. Typically, those affected experience extreme highs (manias) or deep lows (severe levels of sadness and worthlessness).

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is a moderate form of depression which tends to occur during the winter season, when there's less natural light.

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Postpartum Depression

Parents may experience postpartum depression following the birth of a child, as they experience difficulty meeting the constant demands and changes a new child brings into their lives.

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Symptoms

  • Sadness, anxiousness or emptiness
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Decreased energy and loss of interest in hobbies
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia, or excessive sleep
  • Over eating, or loss of appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide

Individuals may experience variations in symptoms and severity.

Risk Factors

  • Have a family history of depression
  • Have experienced a traumatic event
  • Are single, widowed, separated or divorced
  • Are socially isolated
  • Are medically ill
  • Display alcohol or substance abuse
  • Low income earners
  • Low level of education
  • Low socioeconomic status

Treatment

Professional treatment such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health counselor or social worker is generally recommended to individuals experiencing a moderate to severe form of mental illness. A mental health professional may recommend various treatments such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy or antidepressant medication.

Self care, including taking time for yourself, getting physical activity and eating well, can lessen the symptoms for people experiencing mood disorders. Read more about self care and alternative treatment options.

Support Resources

MDAM Peer Support Line: (204) 786-0987 or 1-800-263-1460 (9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Friday)

MDAM Support Groups: View Support Groups

First Nations & Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310 (Outside of Province)

Health links: (204) 788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (24 hours/ 7 days a week)

Manitoba Suicide Line: 1 (877) 435-7170, reasontolive.ca

Manitoba Farm & Rural Support Services: www.supportline.ca or 1 (866) 367-3276 (10 a.m. - 9 p.m./ Monday - Friday)

View our comprehensive list of crisis support options throughout Manitoba.